Congressman Jim Leach says the U.S. will be mired in an “unending set of difficulties” in Iraq if President Bush fails to set a date for withdrawal of U.S. forces. Leach, who is a Republican from Iowa City, says there should be time frames for withdrawal, and they should be announced in the very near future in order to avoid the trap of the U.S. being accused of withdrawing based on something the insurgents with Iraq did. Leach says it appears the Bush Administration is ready for a “slow slog” in Iraq that could extend for up to six years. Leach favors what he calls a “decisive” withdrawal of American troops by the end of next year. Leach says if we stay longer, we’re going to have more not fewer problems in Iraq, and more problems from terrorists in other parts of the world. Leach says the likelihood of attacks within the U.S. increases every day the U.S. remains in Iraq Leach says unfortunately, every American troop in Iraq is a target for anarchists, as is every Iraqi who is cooperating with Americans. Leach says positive things are happening in the north and south of Iraq, but in Baghdad and areas in which the Sunnis dominate, “it clearly isn’t working” and “with each passing moment it appears we’re causing…more problems than we’re solving.” Leach says the current thinking in the Bush Administration is that we’ll be in Iraq for six or seven years, people in Iraq will come to see the U.S. as saviors and will let American military bases be established in the country. Leach says that’s “one of the most misguided assumptions in the history of United States’ strategic thinking” because very few people in Iraq or the Muslim world who want a permanent American presence in Iraq. Leach says the longer we’re in Iraq, the more we’re going to targets of terrorists there and elsewhere. Leach is a member of the International Relations Committee. He started his career in Washington working for Congressman Donald Rumsfeld who is now President Bush’s Defense Secretary.
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