Baird now sees need for U.S. troops in Iraq
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, voted against the Iraq war, but the Democrat now says the United States should stay in Iraq as long as it takes to ensure stability in the war-torn country.
“We’re on the ground now. We have a responsibility to the Iraqi people and a strategic interest in making this work,” Baird told The Olympian newspaper after a recent trip to Iraq.
A hasty pullout could cause chaos that helps neighboring Iran and harms U.S. security, said Baird, who returned this week from a trip that included stops in Israel, Jordan and Iraq. He said he met troops, U.S. advisers and Iraqis, whose stories have convinced him the military must stay longer.
Baird voted in March in favor of a Democratic plan requiring President Bush to bring combat troops home from Iraq next year.
“People may be upset. I wish I didn’t have to say this,” said Baird, who is under pressure from liberal-leaning groups in his southwest Washington district to support a troop withdrawal.
The United States needs to continue with its current “surge” of military troops “at least into early next year, then engage in a gradual redeployment,” said Baird, a five-term lawmaker. “I know it’s going to cost hundreds of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.”
His comments are based on two beliefs, Baird said:
“One, I think we’re making real progress. Secondly, I think the consequences of pulling back precipitously would be potentially catastrophic for the Iraqi people themselves, to whom we have a tremendous responsibility … and in the long run chaotic for the region as a whole and for our own security.”
Holy crap! See what happens when an anti-war antagonist gets off their liberal ass and gets the facts up close and personal? Gawd, what’s next? An epiphany that Islamic terrorists are actually a threat? That we need to methodically erradicate every one of them? That survival of Western civilization depends on how we execute this war until it’s finished?
Congratulations Baird, welcome to reality.