A doctor from Ames who’s the Democrat running in Iowa’s fourth congressional district will travel overseas next week to work with nurses and doctors in northwestern Afghanistan.

Dr. Selden Spencer says he’s “not confortable” with the current path of U.S. foreign policy and his trip will help him decide what the U.S. should do to turn things around. “We’re certainly not engaging the Arab mind and creating a positive image for America at this point,” Spencer says. “I think going to Afghanistan will give me an opportunity through my experience, that is medicine, to interact with patients, to interact with other doctors and try to get a better feel for what they’re seeing as problems and seeing what we might be able to do better.”

Spencer leaves August 24th for Kabul, Afghanistan and will work for an organization which sends medical professionals around the globe to work in medical crisis areas. “I’m hopeful that after a week or two there I will have some ideas and can share them…to the people in Iowa and see if we can get some ideas to deal with what’s going to be a conflict going on for the next 20 (to) 40 years, I believe,” Spencer says.

Spencer accuses his opponent, Republican Congressman Tom Latham, of “blindly following the leader” by supporting the foreign policy path laid out by President Bush. “Tom Latham has been a rubber stamp for George Bush and the George Bush foreign (policies) that I don’t think are working very well,” Spencer says. Spencer has called for the systematic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the redeployment of those troops to search for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

Spencer, who is a neurologist, has made other charity health care trips to Indian reservations in the U.S. and helped build homes in Ethiopia during another overseas mission trip. He is scheduled to be in Afghanistan for two and a half weeks.