Currently Oregon is represented in the Senate by Gordon Smith – R whose term extends through 2009 and Ron Wyden – D through 2011. Smith as of November 30, 2005 is still a walking podcast of Bush administration‘stay the course’ platitudes.
“I was recently there in Iraq, and what people see on TV is not the whole story. There is,” he continued, “a stubborn insurgency from forces that support Saddam Hussein and from the Islamic extremists. But 75 percent of Iraq’s people are glad we are there and are confident in their future. That does not reduce the deadliness of the Islamic terrorists,” he said, “but Iraq is making real progress politically, and now they’re standing up militarily.”
Ron Wyden an opponent of the Iraq invasion from the outset had this to say November 1, 2005 relating to the Senateâ€™s Closed Session on Intelligence Matters
â€œThe American people have a right to know what sort of planning was done or not done for a post-invasion occupation in Iraq. They have a right to know how heavily our intelligence agencies relied on tips from shady characters like Ahmed Chalabi. People have a right to know whether their government officials exaggerated facts in order to lead this nation to war.
The websites of both senators do not make it obvious how to find their specific views on important topics like Iraq. Smith’s site while more professional looking is the hardest to navigate in terms of finding out his views on something as urgent as Iraq. Wyden’s site is not much better, though I was able to find the quote above. Neither have any obvious links to their policy stance on Iraq, however you can find some information here.
In the House, Oregon is represented by 1st District Congressman, David Wu – D and 2nd District Republican Greg Walden, representing eastern Oregon. Earl Blumenhauer – D and Peter DeFazio – D and Darlene Hooley – D 3rd, 4th and 5th districts respectively.
At first glance, only two representatives publish their policy on Iraq on their websites. If I am wrong, please somebody correct me. DeFazio’s position can be found here and Blumenauer’s plan can be read here. Based solely on what is posted on their websites, Blumenauer’s plan is the most detailed, beginning with – (emphasis mine)
# Immediately clarify, forcefully and plainly, our long-term intentions and intermediate objectives in Iraq so that a withdrawal would not be viewed as a retreat or lack of will and vision. Renounce any permanent designs on Iraq’s territory or resources, and plans for permanent bases there.
# Return to the United States the approximately 46,000 Guard and Reserve forces in Iraq immediately following the December elections.
# Draw-down the rest of the U.S. forces over the next one to two years, based on a detailed plan for the transfer of security responsibility on a sector by sector basis. The vast majority of these troops should be brought home. Others should be redeployed to Afghanistan to create a larger security footprint and help prevent the reemergence of the Taliban. A small rapid-reaction force should be left in Kuwait that can protect against any destabilizing coups. Until the withdrawal is complete, the troops remaining in Iraq should focus on holding and stabilizing population centers, rather than hunting down and killing insurgents.
DeFazio has some compelling bullet points –
# Renounce any U.S. interest in constructing permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.
# Schedule a prompt and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from front line combat positions in Iraqi cities and towns, turning over daily security patrols, interactions with citizens, and any offensive security actions to the Iraqis themselves. Prior to withdrawal, these forces could be redeployed to provide border security in Iraq to stem the flow of foreign terrorists entering the country, accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces, and contribute to reconstruction projects.
# Accelerate reconstruction spending and grant the bulk of reconstruction contracts to local companies employing Iraqis rather than multinational corporations, which have proven inefficient (fraudulent in some cases), unnecessarily inflexible, and have even imported workers rather than employing Iraqis. Doing so could save American taxpayers money and lead to more rapid improvement in basic services that the Iraqis expected a long time ago. It would also likely mean that more money would go to actual construction rather than security costs. According to one report, security costs for a contract in Basra held by a multinational company accounted for 40 percent of the dollars in the contract. When I was in Iraq, I witnessed the positive impact that small-scale military reconstruction projects were having. Commanders had the flexibility to work with local leaders to get projects done quickly, relatively cheaply, and with Iraqi labor. According to one report, a cement plant that a multinational company claimed would take $15 million to get running, the Iraqis were able to restart for $80,000.
# Rather than establishing one of the largest U.S. embassies in the world, reduce the Baghdad embassy to normal size and authority.
Speaking of the grand embassy this article by John Brown bears some revisiting.