Unlike many U.S. House races around the country, the two major party candidates for Iowa’s second district congressional seat have similar views about the war in Iraq.

During a radio debate today, Congressman Jim Leach — a Republican from Iowa City — said the war in Iraq is among the greatest foreign policy blunders in American history. Leach favors the steady withdrawal of American troops and opposes having any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. “The Middle East, particularly the Muslim world, objects strenuously to the word ‘occupation,'” Leach said. “If we leave a residue of forces in Iraq we continue an umbrage in the Muslim world which would be very grave.”

Cornell College professor Dave Loebsack, Leach’s Democratic opponent, said he’s been calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq for months, and this is the first time he’s heard Leach say the removal of troops from Iraq should start immediately. “What we have to do is make a political decision by political leaders here in this country that we are, in fact, going to disengage immediately,” Loebsack said. “Our very presence, the occupation, is creating chaos. It is creating instability.”

Loeback and Leach participated in a candidate forum hosted and broadcast earlier today on Iowa Public Radio.