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Republican: Iraq Is Happy! Democrat: Iraq's a Mess!

Reported by Marie Therese - January 5, 2005

I'm very lucky to live in northern California where both of my Senators are Democrats and we have a wonderful Congresswoman named Lynne Woolsey. Rep. Woolsey was at one time was on welfare and, even though she is now walking the halls of power, she always responds to e-mails and letters, many times personally. She made me very proud on Tuesday when she appeared on Big Story with John Gibson along with a fellow Congresswoman, Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL). The topic was Woolsey's call to bring the troops home. What really impressed me was that, close to the end of the interview, Rep. Woolsey managed to speak the forbidden words "hundreds of thousands of wounded and injured civilians" to a FOX News Channel audience despite substitute host Judge Napolitano's effort to shut her down. (Transcript follows.)

NAPOLITANO (reading words written by Cong. Woolsey): "The war has been a debacle. How many mistakes do we need? Let's bring our troops home now."

WOOLSEY: I mean it absolutely. It's 2005. George Bush has had two years to experiment with this situation he's put us in in Iraq and every day it gets worse than the day before.

NAPOLITANO: We are just 30 days away from the first free elections there in three generations ... Shouldn't we, at least, stay until the new government is in place?

WOOLSEY: .. I question whether that's even possible because 700 of the commission staff in Mosul have walked off of their job, reportedly because it is so unsafe. What does that say about our troops? They're sitting ducks. What does that say about the people that are gonna go vote in Iraq? They are not safe at all. In fact, I feel that we've made our troops less safe and the Iraqis much less safe over the last few months.

NAPOLITANO: Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, I know you don't agree with any of what you just heard from your colleague.

ROS LEHTINEN: Unbelievable... if Lynne were in the US Congress during WWII, I don't think that we would have been victorious. I don't think that we would have reconstructed Europe to what it is now. It's unbelievable to think that we could have a shake and bake kind of war, that we could dispose of a dictator who oppressed his people for decades and try to build an infrastructure of democracy and free thought overnight. I think we've done an incredible amount of progress in the short time that we've been there. When I was in Iraq [Comment: Her trip occurred in October 2003, over a year ago.] I saw schools being built, clinics being built, people getting back to work and I asked my office to tape the news coverage during the days I was there. What I saw were bombs exploding and chaos and utter failure and what you see on the TV screens is not exactly what's going on in Iraqi daily life. It is a much better society now than it was before and the Iraqi people are much better off now that Saddam Hussein is out of power than they were before.

NAPOLITANO: Congresswoman Woolsey, you don't mean to literally leave now, January 4th, 2005. You really want us to stay until the elections are accomplished.

WOOLSEY: No.

NAPOLITANO: After all, that really was our primary goal, wasn't it? Regime change?

WOOLSEY: Our primary goal was to accuse Saddam Hussein of being part of the terrorist organization that bombed 9/11. That was wrong. Accusing him of weapons of mass destruction. Wrong! Saying the war was over. Wrong! And not even having the right kind of armor for our troops. [Napolitano tries to interrupt her. She refuses to let him do so.] Let me finish. May I finish? I'm saying that, of course, we can't pull out tomorrow. Logistically, it's impossible. But I'm saying we should start pulling out now. I feel like our presence in Iraq is exactly what the insurgents need to incite them to be furious that this is happening in the first place .. I believe the Iraqis could work this out, if we would get out of the way.

NAPOLITANO: Congresswoman Ros Lehtinen, aren't the Iraqi people themselves extraordinarily grateful for the fact that we took Saddam Hussein and his monster regime away from them?

ROS LEHTINEN: Absolutely.

NAPOLITANO: And we have given them their first taste of freedom in sixty years?

ROS LEHTINEN: No, I came from Cuba, an oppressed land where we don't have elections and I know what it feels like to lose your freedom and to lose your human rights, your God-given human rights. When I was in Iraq, people were giving us thumbs up. Yeah, you read a lot about the anti-American sentiment, but the majority of the Iraqis are very happy that we are there. They are on the verge of having their first election. But, what's more important, a lot of people are saying ... we're at it alone. But, we've got the European Union helping us with elections. We've got NATO helping us. We've got the World Bank helping us. They're training police forces. We've got allies like Jordan and Kuwait that are building fences so that we don't have those porous borders and you've got the insurgents coming from Iran and Syria to have evil effects on our troops. So, we've got a lot of international allies. We're no longer going at it alone. We're getting a lot of help and it's getting stronger every day.

NAPOLITANO: Congresswoman Woolsey, aren't even you grateful that Saddam Hussein is finally gone?

WOOLSEY: Oh, I think Saddam Hussein was an evil, evil person, but you know there are a lot of evil leaders around this world. If we go out after every one of them and ignite a civil war, which we have made in Iraq, we're in big, big trouble.

NAPOLITANO: But, wait a minute! You supported the UN resolutions that called for disarming him and you knew he was never going to disarm himself voluntarily. Right, Congresswoman Woolsey?

WOOLSEY: Well, certainly, President Clinton was able to keep him under control without 1,300 dead troops and tens of thousands of wounded - physically and mentally wounded troops - and without hundreds of thousands of wounded and injured.

NAPOLITANO (agitated): Gotta go!

WOOLSEY: ... and killed ....

NAPOLITANO: Gotta go!

WOOLSEY: Civilians.

NAPOLITANO: Gotta go! Members of Cong ....

ROS LEHTINEN: What President Clinton did was ignore every terrorist threat that there was through his administration.

COMMENT

It was actually rather funny watching Napolitano frantically trying to end the interview at the precise moment the Congresswoman alluded to the Lancet/Johns Hopkins report making the claim that 100,000 Iraqis have died as a result of our invasion. FOX News has virtually ignored this story and only aired it for one day during it short little news updates.


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