"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." LINK
Baird is a bright and thoughtful guy who has always answered my emails about impeachment and the Iraq war. We should listen to him.
We MUST remember who started this war, and who is responsible for our friends and neighbors being killed and disabled. We MUST remember who is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead, and homeless. We MUST never forget this is THE BUSH GANG'S WAR. We MUST prosecute the members of that gang as severely as possible.
Perhaps "getting out of Iraq" can mean "minimizing our presence there, by following a plan that the Iraqi's can live with".
What do you think?
Actually Baird is saying out loud what the majority of the Democratic Party has been saying out loud. Redeployment of troops within Iraq has always been part of the mainstream Democratic proposals and now General Petraeus is signaling that that is his plan.
Democrats have long called for an orderly withdrawal of troops at a prudent pace, leaving specialized forces to train the Iraqi Military, hunt terrorists and guard the borders. Now it looks like the President and the rational wing of the GOP are moving into agreement with the Democratic position.
Rep. Baird is expertly playing to the Ft. Lewis constituency of his district feigning disagreement with his party. "People may be upset. I wish I didn't have to say this." Mr. Baird knows that any democratic bill that passes in September 2007 will not begin to withdraw troops until early next year anyway.
Posted by Auburn's Finest at 07:45 AM, Aug 18, 2007
I tend to agree with Auburn. Baird is speaking rationally and not seeking popularity, which is what we want him to do. I think a quick pull out of Iraq would be a disaster for Iraq, and we owe them so much more. We should never have been there in the first place. But we are there, and we have a reluctant obligation. L.C.