Four presidential candidates are scheduled to campaign in Iowa this weekend and each offers a different perspective on the war in Iraq. Later this afternoon, Delaware Senator Joe Biden will be in Marshalltown to talk about his contention that the Iraq war resolution congress approved back in 2002 is no longer valid.
"The authority that the president had to use force in Iraq was to get rid of weapons of mass destruction, make sure that Iraq was complying with U.N. resolutions and to get rid of Saddam Hussein if need be," Biden said during an interview with Radio Iowa. "…We did not go to get in the midst of a civil war."
Biden will fly back to Washington, D.C. Friday night so he can be in the U.S. Senate to vote on the resolution that’s been debated in the U.S. House over the past few days, opposing the president’s plan to send more troops into Iraq. According to Biden, President Bush lacks the authority to send those additional troops into harms way.
"The bottom line is we should not be engaged in the middle of this civil war. We should be removing our troops from the middle of that civil war," Biden said. "And we should laying out to the president specifically what authority he has relative to the use of force, which is to train Iraqi forces to deal with jihadi terrorists as they try to occupy territory and to protect our troops as we try to draw them down."
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who is making another bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, is due in Davenport on Saturday night. Edwards has said he made a mistake by voting in favor of that resolution authorizing the war back in 2002. "That resolution did not give this president authority to have American forces monitoring and trying to contain a civil war," Edwards said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. "I’m hoping that if I continue to make this a prominent issue that members of congress will, in fact, take action."
The third presidential candidate scheduled to appear in Iowa this weekend is Arizona Senator John McCain, a Republican. McCain has long said there should be more troops on the ground in Iraq and McCain has been supportive of the president’s latest plan for a troop "surge." McCain’s own 18-year-old son recently graduated from the Naval Academy and is likely to be among the troops sent to Iraq this summer. McCain is scheduled to hold events on Saturday in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport — even though the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take a vote Saturday that would clear the way for debate next week about the Iraq war resolution.
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, another GOP presidential candidate, has been campaigning in western Iowa today. Brownback recently traveled to Iraq and upon his return Brownback came out against the "troop surge" plan, making him the lone Republican presidential candidate to oppose the idea.