Monday, December 18, 2006

Walberg Speaks On Iraq

Setting the tone for his next two years in Congress, Congressman-elect Tim Walberg (R) speaks out on Iraq. What are Walberg's thoughts on the situation?
And for Congressman Elect Tim Walberg of the 7th district, this is one of his biggest concerns.

"To say anything other than Iraq and the war that's going on there is necessary is wrong. The reason we got in and the ultimate battle that goes on with terrorism; it's extremely important to me and my constituents," Walberg says.

This is more or less the only quote of substance from the WILX story... I'm always hesitant to use local television news stories because they can be light on information, but I thought this was worth talking about.

So let's look closely at just what Walberg is saying.

  • "To say anything other than Iraq and the war that's going on there is necessary is wrong." It's not the clearest wording I've ever seen, but Congressman-elect Walberg is telling us that American involvement with the war in Iraq is necessary.
  • "The reason we got in and the ultimate battle that goes on with terrorism; it's extremely important to me and my constituents." This part confuses me more. Something (or things), apparently, is (are) extremely important to his constituents. Part of that is "the ultimate battle that goes on with terrorism," but it's not clear if he means that terrorism is the same as "the reason we got in" the situation to begin with.
On Walberg's campaign website, his stance on National Security is given as:
Tim wholeheartedly supports President Bush in the War on Terror. He supports Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and our troops as they finish the mission in Iraq to assure the victory of freedom over tyranny.
During the debate at Siena Heights University before the election, these were my notes on Walberg's response to the question, "Do you support a withdrawal from Iraq? If not, what future course do you see?":
- "We too easily forget 9/11" [Audience begins booing], "We too easily forget the bombing of the USS Cole"
- Terrorism still an important issue
- No cut and run, must stay in Iraq
- The Iraqi army is working
From all of this, I hope you'll agree it's safe to characterize Congressman-elect Walberg's position as this: He supports President Bush and the Iraq policy of former Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He believes withdrawing (and, probably, a timetable for withdrawal) would be a mistake, and believes Iraq is the central front of the War on Terror. In other words, he supports President Bush-- and Bush's rhetoric-- 100 percent.

If anyone thinks this is a misrepresentation of his position, please say so in the comments. I'd say it's a fair characterization.

So does Walberg's stance line up with most Americans? From (formatting edited and emphasis added):
Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll. Dec. 8-11, 2006. N=1,489 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3. RV = registered voters

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq?"
12/8-11/06 - Approve 35% Disapprove 62% Unsure 3%


"All in all, do you think the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over, or not?"
12/8-11/06 - Worth It 40% Not Worth It 56% Unsure 4%


"As you may know, some members of Congress are calling for a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq, while others are saying that our troops should remain in Iraq until the country is secure, and others are proposing that more troops should be sent to Iraq. Do you think the United States should withdraw troops from Iraq on a fixed timetable, or should keep the current level of troops in Iraq as long as it takes to secure the country, or should send more troops to Iraq?"

Withdraw On a Fixed Timetable 52%
Stay as Long as It Takes 26%
Send More Troops 12%
Unsure 10%
... And there's plenty more where that came from, with polling done by several different organizations. Clearly, the country is headed in a different direction than Congressman-elect Walberg.

Still, I'd like to apologize. When I started this post, I had planned to offer a good look at Tim Walberg's position on the war in Iraq, and refute it with solid facts, not polling data. But I can't do that. Why? Because, except for some vague statements and election campaign soundbites, it doesn't seem like Walberg really has any ideas for Iraq.

I'll gladly do another post when he has a position. Until then...

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To paraphrase Gen. Schwarzkopf on Hussein in the mother of all press conferences following our sweep of Kuwait, just think Walberg instead of Saddam:

"He is not a soldier, general nor a leader, he is not schooled in tactics, logistics or strategy, he has no experience the art of warfare...other than that he's a great military man."

(This is close to what he said.)
Our Congressman elect has no real understanding of the issue beyond what any one of us might thing. His comments since winning the seat scare the hell out of me. He does not appear to be making an effort to understand the situation other than reading the administration's comments and stance. Patriotism is one thing, but he has a duty to be informed and he is spending his time doing something else.
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