Thursday, January 11, 2007

WA-02 Larsen says "Bush's plan... is a terrible mistake."

Congressman Rick Larsen (member of the House Armed Services Committee) has made clear his view of Bush's Iraq escalation plan.
In a WaPo story published in the Everett Herald:
... "More troops does not equal a new approach in Iraq," said Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.

The Everett resident said the results of the November election showed that the American people did not expect an escalation of American troops in Iraq.

The 132,000 troops there now are "keeping a lid on a civil war. The American people don't expect our troops to be fighting a civil war," Larsen said. "It's fundamentally unfair to ask our men and women in the military to solve that problem. They should be fighting terrorists." ...
And more extensively in a Seattle Times story:
... Rep. Rick Larsen, of Lake Stevens, said Bush's plan to added 21,500 U.S. troops is a terrible mistake. "The president ought to be telling the American people that we reached a plateau and are going to work our way down," he said.

Moreover, he said, "We are letting the Iraqis call the shots."

Washington's congressional Democrats unanimously expressed skepticism about Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and his willingness and ability to control the sectarian violence waged by Shiites and their leader, Muqtada al-Sadr.

"This is a prime minister who can't control anything," Larsen said. "If 7,500 Iraqi troops are supposed to show up in one area, we'll be lucky to see 6,000."

Several members of the delegation also questioned whether the plan really originated with al-Maliki in November, as Bush has said.

"Whose plan is this?" Dicks asked, after hearing reports that al-Maliki himself was denying he had proposed the addition of U.S. troops.

"It sounds like they got so much push-back in earlier meetings with members of Congress last week that some clever adviser said, 'Let's make it Maliki's idea,' " Larsen said.

The distinction matters because Bush said the plan will give American forces "a green light" to go into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. However, al-Maliki himself has stopped U.S. troops from crushing insurgents in his own Shiite area.

"He functionally kicked us out of his Shiite area in Baghdad" a few months ago, said Larsen, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. ...

No comments: