Senate candidates differ on Republican Iraq resolution

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Vermont’s U.S. Senate candidates have very different views on a Republican resolution dealing with future policies on Iraq.

The proposal was passed by the House this afternoon by a vote of 256 to 153.

Bernie Sanders and Richard Tarrant oppose the plan while Greg Parke strongly supports it.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) The non binding resolution calls on the United States to “complete the mission” in Iraq, it links the war in Iraq to the global war on terrorism and it rejects all efforts to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal of American troops.

Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders, who’s running for the U.S. Senate this year, voted against the resolution. Sanders supports a plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq over the next 12 months:

(Sanders) “What this resolution is, is asking for support to continue the failed policies of President Bush on Iraq. It’s more of the same. It says we’re going to stay. We’re going to continue to say we’re not going to give you any idea as to when our troops are going come home. We have lost 2500 Americans, 18,000 are wounded. We’re spending hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars. And in fact what is going on around the world is Islamic fundamentalism is growing. And I think the threat to the United States and other countries is growing from terrorism.”

(Kinzel) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Tarrant also believes the time has come to re-deploy many U.S. soldiers out of Iraq and to let the Iraqi army stand on its own.

Tarrant says he’s disappointed that the Republican leadership would schedule debate on a resolution that was offered for largely political reasons:

(Tarrant) “This appears to me to be a political bill and as a pragmatist I just don’t have patience for that kind of stuff. Maybe I’ve got to learn to have patience, but we’ve got so much we have to do in this country the time we spend on politicizing everything is just something a pragmatist like me doesn’t have much patience for.”

(Kinzel) Greg Parke is also seeking the GOP Senate nomination. He strongly supports the resolution.

He says the plan of withdrawing troops over the next year, a position supported by Sanders and Tarrant, is a terrible idea:

(Parke) “Calling for a date for us to leave Iraq is essentially setting our date for surrender. Because that’s all it’s going to do. You study military history and you realize that if you don’t demonstrate a will to see the mission to completion then all you’re doing is admitting defeat.”

(Kinzel) Parke and Tarrant will meet in the GOP primary on September 12th. The winner will face Sanders in the General Election.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier

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