Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gutknecht calls the kettle black

Duane Winn of the Pipestone Times published the following from an interview with Congressman Gutknecht :
Gutknecht said he still supports President Bush's basic strategy of withdrawing Americans as Iraqi forces take over the security burden. However, he admitted that he's felt uneasy about American policy toward Iraq for the last two or three years. He stated that the Bush administration has put a spin on the amount of progress that has been made in Iraq, mostly on the security front.
As a fiscal conservative, Gutknecht said, he also bemoans the expenditure of $322 billion to finance the war.
He believes the United States has followed policies that are based on "American hubris" that's been displayed in previous wars, namely, Vietnam and Korea.
"I call it the ‘Westmoreland Effect.' If you put enough troops on the ground, you will win the war," said Gutknecht.
There have been tremendous strides made in Iraq, said Gutknecht, but Baghdad he observed during his trip is "a more dangerous place than I had ever imagined."
Gutknecht said the United States should be heedful of the advice offered by T.E. Lawrence, A.K.A. Lawrence of Arabia, who said, "Do not try to do too much with your own hands. It is their war, and you are to help them win it, not to win it for them."
Emphasis added.

For those of you who have ready my previous commentary, I have constantly complained of Gutknecht’s unrealistic “Happy Talk” about Iraq in his weekly email. Although I label it as “Happy Talk” and Gil calls it “spin”, Gutknecht is calling the kettle black since he is acting as the mouthpiece to promote questionable progress … I guess his experience as an auctioneer should give the voters fair warning that he is only peddling the policy not claiming it as his own.

Addressing his fiscal concerns of the liberation of Iraq, he is extremely shortsighted. Bush has been clear that the War on Terror will not be won quickly … based on the bases that have been built in Iraq, Congress needs to plan for a long term fiscal investment. America does not control the timetable … al Queda planned the 9/11 attacks for years before implementing … and Hezbollah took over 25 years before significantly engaging Israel. Gutknecht clearly does not grasp that the actions that we take today are shaping the generations to come … we will not know the results for decades. Considering the rising costs for the war, why did it take so long for Gutknecht to visit the region? It is fair to fault Gutknecht and the Republican leadership for placing the bill for these military actions on our retirement years and children’s and grandchildren’s tax obligations. If Gutknecht was truly a fiscal conservative, he would not be voting TaxCut & Spend.

Regarding his “American Hubris” comment, I question whether Gutknecht has ever been a supporter of America being involved in foreign affairs. On April 28, 1999 (H. Con. Res. 82, Roll Call no. 101), Gutknecht voted to require the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Balkan conflict. On May 04, 1999, Gutknecht “we are prepared to fight a war in the desert, and now we are apparently going to have to fight a war in Kosovo. The problem is we are spreading ourselves too thin.” Gutknecht clearly has his vision in isolating America … that can only hurt America economically and allow the extremists to influence other countries.

If he has “felt uneasy about American policy toward Iraq for the last two or three years, why hasn’t he expressed this to the voters and party faithful ? For someone who initially campaigned on a pledge of term limits, it is easy to understand Mark Kennedy’s complaint about his fellow Republican :
“Many of our elected Republican’s have become too complacent, and the fervor of the “Republican Revolution” of 1994 needs to be rekindled. The reason for this complacency is that we have elected from our party, the status-quo candidates, who have been serving in government their entire careers.”


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