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July 12, 2006

McDermott to Bush: Send Rumsfeld to Iraq

Posted by David Postman at 2:57 PM

Congressman Jim McDermott said on the House floor earlier today that President Bush should send Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Iraq until the last U.S. soldier leaves:

"The Secretary says he sees progress every time he visits. Imagine what he might see by actually living and working there. There is no higher priority for the President, U.S. military and America these days than Iraq. It stands to reason that the President's military appointee should be directed to report for duty in Baghdad."

McDermott was particularly bothered by this quote from Rumsfeld during his surprise visit to Iraq today: "Each time I come to Iraq I see progress." Said McDermott, according to a transcript provided by his office:

"By working in Iraq, the Secretary could accept direct responsibility for generating more of what he calls progress every time he visits Iraq. He could show America and the rest of the world the progress that only he and the President pretend to see."

Only Rumsfeld and Bush see progress in Iraq? McDermott should talk to his colleague Rep. Rick Larsen, who told the Bellingham Herald last week:

"I can see progress being made compared to the second trip I had," said Larsen, D-Lake Stevens. "There continues to be progress but there is still a long way to go."

Larsen has been a vocal critic of the administration's handling of the war, reconstruction and occupation and in three trips to Iraq he has not glossed over problems. He told the Bellingham paper his first trip in 2003 was "fairly open," and an October 2004 visit was a "180-degree turn" as insurgent attacks soared. But even after that '04 trip Larsen said he saw some improvement, saying, "Having just returned from Iraq last week, I can say that while progress is being made on reconstruction in Iraq, we have a long, long way to go."

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