As Rep. David Wu visited wounded soldiers in the National Naval Medical Center this week, he thought about President Bush considering a move to send more troops to Iraq.Howie suggestion: How about a story in at least one of the Seattle dailies comparing and contrasting various positions of Washington's Democratic and Rethug Members on the Iraq issue? I am most interested in hearing from the WA-8 Member (Google alert: DAVE REICHERT) these days.
Wu fears the White House will quietly roll out the "temporary surge" over the holidays, as if it were a company marketing a new product.
"We need to focus on whether we would choose to send our own son or daughter, our own wife or our own husband off for a temporary surge in Iraq," said Wu, D-Ore. "If we wouldn't do that, then should we permit this administration to roll out a potential product like that?"
Most of the Democrat-dominated Oregon congressional delegation is adamantly opposed to a temporary increase in troops in Iraq. Instead, they want to reduce the U.S. presence in the region and improve diplomacy.
Their opposition to Bush's Iraq policy provides a glimpse of what the White House must contend with next month, when Democrats take control of Congress.
The Oregon delegation's two Republicans -- Smith and Rep. Greg Walden -- voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.
Smith gained national attention this month for his speech criticizing Bush's handling of Iraq, calling the war "absurd."
When asked about Smith's speech, DeFazio said that it was obvious four years ago that Bush was intent on invading Iraq regardless of whether the country harbored weapons of mass destruction. "It's pretty easy to oppose the war now when those of us who spoke out against the war, went to the same classified briefings as every other member of Congress, saw through the charade and the facade," DeFazio said.
Many Oregon Democrats have echoed similar sentiments about Smith's speech, noting he is up for re-election in 2008. Smith dismisses the criticism as "their job."
"To me, this is not about politics," Smith said. "This is about life and death and war and peace and the future security of our country."
Smith said he will continue exerting pressure through private contacts with the White House.
"Obviously they're very mindful of me right now," Smith said. He declined to say whether he has spoken with President Bush about his speech.
Smith wouldn't comment on specific proposals without first seeing the details. He indicated he would not support an immediate and complete withdrawal from Iraq.
"I'm calling for a repositioning of troops in Iraq," Smith said. "I think we still have a very real interest in taking on the jihadists coming across the borders from Iran, Syria and some from Saudi Arabia."
Walden couldn't be reached this week. In a written statement issued Dec. 6 after the Iraq study group report, he supported a change in strategy to pursue diplomacy.
"It is clear that mistakes have been made since the invasion, not least our assessment of the Iraqis' capacity to establish a stable, democratic society after 30 years of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship," Walden said.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
"Would you send your relative to Iraq?"