Leahy, Jeffords call Iraqi situation ‘guerilla warfare’

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(Host) Both of Vermont’s U.S. senators say they’re concerned the United States is now engaged in a guerilla war in Iraq. Senator Patrick Leahy says recent comments by President Bush about the situation in Iraq have made a difficult situation even worse.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) As the attacks on U.S. military personnel continue to mount, Vermont’s U.S. Senate delegation is urging the president to bring an international peace keeping force into Iraq. Senator Patrick Leahy says it’s clear that the situation in Iraq is not under control and that Iraqi forces opposed to the presence of U.S. troops have decided to wage a guerilla war:

(Leahy) “The U.S. military is such that no army can stand up against it. But guerillas are basically terrorists and they are a problem. I wish the president had not made his ‘bring it on’ comment. I think every family member that had someone over in Iraq probably cringed at that. We don’t want it to- We want that to become pacified as soon as possible, but I think the U.S. is probably going to be there for a long time. We’re probably going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and it’s questionable what we’ll have in the end.”

(Leahy) Leahy says the time has come for the president to seek the involvement of the United Nations in Iraq:

(Leahy) “I’d urge him also to swallow his pride and start working with the United Nations and others to get a multinational groups in there. A lot of them have a great deal of experience in nation building and that’s basically what we are doing.”

(Kinzel) Senator James Jeffords agrees that the situation in Iraq has become a guerilla war. Jeffords is very concerned about where this conflict is headed:

(Jeffords) “We should get out of there. We should hand it back to the United Nations if they’d ever take it. Probably we got into a position where they won’t but the whole intent and purpose of the United Nations was to make it unnecessary for us to do that. We of course went around the bend on that one and ignored the United Nations and still looking for the reason we ignored them – the weapons of mass destruction – which I don’t think you’re ever going to find.”

(Kinzel) Jeffords says developments in Iraq since the major fighting has ended have clearly demonstrated why he felt it was so important for the United States to have the support of the U.N. Security Council before this country initiated military action against Iraq.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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