Republican Congressman Jim Leach says at some point, it may be necessary to pull the plug on funding for U.S. military operations in Iraq. “I can see the possibility of it, but I think we’ll have to wait for that circumstance to arise. The last thing you want to do is to take body armor away from troops,” Leach says. “The last thing you also want to do is to give carte blanche to the executive to advance an aggressive foreign policy for an extended period of time.”
Leach, who has previously called with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, says it makes no sense to keep American soldiers in Iraq indefinitely, as recent studies indicate the terrorists who committed suicide attacks against Americans did so not because of religion, but because they objected to the presence of U.S. troops in the Middle East. If President Bush does not move to withdraw troops from Iraq within the next year, Leach senses there would be a move in Congress to cut off funding to force a withdrawal.
“That would come if the administration made it clear they want to have a prolonged engagement for many years to come,” Leach says. “One has the sense that the current reassessments are going to be towards reducing our presence rather than increasing it.” Leach’s November opponent, Democrat Dave Loebsack, says if elected, he would never vote to cut off federal support of American troops overseas. “I have a step-son who served seven months in Ramadi as a Marine and his wife is there at the moment. She’s been there for the past month or so. I could never do that with a good conscience,” Loebsack says.
“I would never take away the armor, material, the ammunition (and) all the rest from our troops. (Cutting off funding) would make no sense to me whatsoever.” Loebsack is a Cornell College political science professor challenging Leach’s bid for a 16th term in Congress.