Archive for Sunday, October 15, 2006

Stances on war in Iraq separate candidates

How voters view supporting troops may influence choice for congressional seat

October 15, 2006


— The issue that divides the country - war in Iraq - also divides the candidates for Congress in the 2nd District, which includes west Lawrence.

Five-term incumbent Jim Ryun, a Republican from Lawrence, stands by President Bush's policies, while Democrat Nancy Boyda of Topeka has been critical of the war.

Ryun reiterated his position Thursday when Vice President Dick Cheney stopped in Topeka to help Ryun raise $209,000 for his campaign.

Cheney warned that if Democrats win control of either the House or Senate in the Nov. 7 election, it could derail Bush's plans in Iraq and in dealing with terrorism in general.

Afterward, Ryun said of the war in Iraq, "Progress is slow, but it is being made. I'm optimistic that we will eventually see that war won."

He said the recent increase in violence in Iraq was expected because insurgents are threatened by U.S. progress in the area.

He then criticized Boyda, saying that while he supports the troops, "My opponent actually protested during the time that they were in the conflict, involved in the war on terrorism."

In 2003, Boyda participated and helped coordinate anti-war protests because she said she had questions about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and whether Bush had done enough to get more allies into the invading coalition. Once Bush committed troops to the invasion, she said she stopped the anti-war protests.

Boyda said she gets ticked off when Ryun implies she doesn't support the troops.

One of the best ways to show support of the troops is to put together a workable exit strategy, she said.

"If this administration is unable to develop an exit strategy, then Congress must step up to the task," Boyda said.

She said the debate between "cut and run" and "stay the course" is useless.

"People are sick and tired of these slogans," she said.

She said she is hopeful that a bipartisan Iraqi study group led by former Secretary of State James Baker III can rise above the political fight and make recommendations on the war.

Of the study group, Ryun said, "I think it's important to wait to see what they have."

Joe Aistrup, head of the political science department at Kansas State University, said the war would be an important factor with voters.

If voters equate support of the war with support of the troops, they will probably lean toward Ryun, he said.

But, he said, if people question the linkage between support of the war and support of the troops, the advantage goes to Boyda.

"That linkage is beginning to fray" in congressional elections around the country, he said.

"People are saying we support the troops, but maybe it's time to bring them home because we may have put them in an unwinnable situation. In some districts, voters are making that calculation," he said.

Whether that is the case in the 2nd District remains to be seen, he said.


Frank Smith 11 years, 6 months ago

Boyda makes many good points. The Cheney trip probably cost taxpayers close to a half million dollars, mostly in the cost of operating Air Force Two, so that Ryun could vacuum up $200,000 for thousand-dollar photo ops.

Boyda had the sense and the courage to oppose the unnecessary invasion of Iraq even before Cheney got us into this quagmire. As a responsible citizen she knew that the spectre of WMDs and the supposed connection with al Qaida were unfounded. Ryun, on the other hand, may still somehow believe the converse, given as he is to taking Cheney at his word.

We have lost almost 2,800 young American men and women in Iraq. Tens of thousands have been wounded, thousands disabled for life. Last week a Johns Hopkins study indicated that the war and occupation have cost over 650,000 more Iraqi civilian lives than if we had not invaded, due mostly to violent deaths, but also to preventable disease, exposure and starvation. In a recent poll 81% of Iraqis said they want us to leave as our presence has precipitated and continues to fuel a devastating civil war.

Removing Saddam's awful Sunni government radically changed the balance of power and has given the Iranian Shi'ite government far more Mideast sway than it previously was able to leverage. At the same time Bush's listing the latter on his "Axis of Evil" caused Iranian moderates to quickly go extinct.

The cost of the war has already exceeded $1,300 for every man, woman and child in the United States. A Nobel Prize economist estimates it will eventually cost another one to two trillion dollars, or $3,000-$6,000 more, apiece.

Ryun also backs the failed "Star Wars" terminal anti-missile defense system, that will eventually cost another trillion dollars, according to another Nobel prizewinner in economics. Even Reagan's defense department shut it down when it became evident that it wouldn't and couldn't work. The per capita cost of that pork-barrel spending will cost us another $3,000 each.

This profligacy has left us at the mercy of our international creditors, mostly Japan and China. Should they start calling in their due debts it would be ruinous to our economy.

Bush and Cheney's missteps have been so good for al Qaida recruitment that Osama bin Laden gleefully broadcast a videotape just before the 2004 election that guaranteed Bush would be reelected. The two have endangered Americans and our allies throughout the world.

How many more blunders will this pair be allowed to make if Republican control of the House continues? I haven't voted for a Democratic president in over 20 years, but "...the times, they are a changing."

straightshooter 11 years, 6 months ago

Bush is in power because of the people with neurons wired backward like KS.

KS 11 years, 6 months ago

roger_o_thornhill - Thank you! I rest my case.

The_Twelve 11 years, 6 months ago

Always nice to know that self-serving Christians will come down on the side of mindless killing, destruction, and other "un-Christian" acts when the #(*% hits the fan.

Maybe he should go back to watching reruns of "Davy and Goliath"

Richard Heckler 11 years, 6 months ago

Ryun constantly implies that Nancy Boyda would not support the war on terrorism simply because she did not think our efforts should be diverted from the war on terrorism to the needless occupation of Iraq. Our military advisors did not want to invade and and occupy Iraq thus advising the administration of such.

Ryun is distorting the truth on this issue.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 6 months ago

Pilgrim wrote "Decide who you are going to vote for even before you know who the nominees are. Brilliant."

One thing I know for certain. I won't be voting for George W. Bush for President in '08.

Most others still have a chance to convince me to vote for them.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 6 months ago

Senate Republicans Kill Second Bill on Corrupt Defense Contractors

Submitted by Bob Geiger on June 20, 2006 - 1:20pm.From our 'waiting for the other shoe to drop' file, we have news that Senate Republicans followed up their rejection of a bill last week to penalize corrupt companies like Halliburton, with a vote today against another measure that would have formed an oversight committee to investigate defense-contractor fraud. With only 44 votes in favor, the second such bill -- also sponsored by Byron Dorgan (D-ND) -- went down in flames 52-44, with Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) the only GOP senator voting for the bill's passage.

S.Amdt. 4292 would have established ":a special committee of the Senate to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts to conduct activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and to fight the war on terrorism."

Senate Republicans last week shot down by a 55-43 vote, an amendment to strictly penalize contractors caught defrauding the government, with every single Republican senator voting to let corrupt defense contractors off the hook for cheating the troops and the American people.

"A lot of people are making a lot of money, spent by this Congress, in support of our soldiers who are at war, and we have some contractors who are not playing straight with the soldiers or the American people," said Dorgan on the Senate floor.

Dorgan and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) had sent a letter to Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-VA) in May asking him to start an investigation into allegations of defense-contractor abuses in Iraq contracts.

"These matters fall clearly within your committee's jurisdiction, and they have a direct bearing on our troops' mission and safety in Iraq, as well as on the use of taxpayer dollars," said the Dorgan-Durbin letter to Warner. "In the alternative, we would hope that you would support the creation of a special committee of the Senate - modeled after the Truman Committee during World War II - to conduct oversight hearings on Iraq contracting."

Durbin talked more about it on the Senate floor on Friday.

"I don't understand why there isn't a sense of outrage in this Congress on a bipartisan basis, on both sides of the aisle, that we are not only being ripped off as taxpayers by these no-bid contracts but that we are shortchanging these men and women who are risking their lives while we stand in the comfort and safety of this Senate," said the Illinois Democrat. "I know Halliburton is a big political force in this town. I know in some quarters you are not supposed to question Halliburton. This is some sacred institution politically. I don't buy it. I count the soldiers that are putting their lives on the line to be much more sacred and much more valuable than any big, huge, no-bid corporation."

Richard Heckler 11 years, 6 months ago

Halliburton has become synonymous with war profiteering, but there are lots of other greedy fingers in the pie. We name names on 10 of the worst.

The history of American war profiteering is rife with egregious examples of incompetence, fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, bribery and misconduct. As war historian Stuart Brandes has suggested, each new war is infected with new forms of war profiteering. Iraq is no exception. From criminal mismanagement of Iraq's oil revenues to armed private security contractors operating with virtual impunity, this war has created opportunities for an appalling amount of corruption. What follows is a list of some of the worst Iraq war profiteers who have bilked American taxpayers and undermined the military's mission.

No. 1 and No. 2: CACI and Titan

In early 2005 CIA officials told the Washington Post that at least 50 percent of its estimated $40 billion budget for that year would go to private contractors, an astonishing figure that suggests that concerns raised about outsourcing intelligence have barely registered at the policymaking levels.

In 2004 the Orlando Sentinel reported on a case that illustrates what can go wrong: Titan employee Ahmed Fathy Mehalba, an Egyptian translator, was arrested for possessing classified information from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Critics say that the abuses at Abu Ghraib are another example of how the lines can get blurred when contractors are involved in intelligence work. CACI provided a total of 36 interrogators in Iraq, including up to 10 at Abu Ghraib at any one time, according to the company. Although neither CACI, Titan or their employees have yet been charged with a crime, a leaked Army investigation implicated CACI employee Stephen Stefanowicz in the abuse of prisoners.

CACI and Titan's role at Abu Ghraib led the Center for Constitutional Rights to pursue companies and their employees in U.S. courts.

"We believe that CACI and Titan engaged in a conspiracy to torture and abuse detainees, and did so to make more money," says Susan Burke, an attorney hired by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), whose lawsuit against the companies is proceeding into discovery before the Federal Court for the District of Columbia.

The private suits seem to have already had some effect: In September 2005 CACI announced that it would no longer do interrogation work in Iraq.

Titan, on the other hand, has so far escaped any serious consequences for its problems (in early 2005, it pleaded guilty to three felony international bribery charges and agreed to pay a record $28.5 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act penalty). The company's contract with the Army has been extended numerous times and is currently worth over $1 billion. Last year L-3 Communications bought Titan as part of its emergence as the largest corporate intelligence conglomerate in the world.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 6 months ago

"I rest my case."

It's hard to tell that you ever started your case.

KS 11 years, 6 months ago

All you have to do is look at the current situation in North Korea and it is easy to see why it was a good idea to go to Iraq. It is called early intervention and now the left thinks Bush should do more in N. Korea. Go figure.

weeslicket 11 years, 6 months ago

Pilgrim writes: "Yeah, there's a real good idea. Decide who you are going to vote for even before you know who the nominees are. Brilliant."

the elections are about 2 weeks away. we DO know who the nominees are.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 6 months ago

Interesting how in these type discussions support for troops=leaving them in harm's way. '

KS: where did you learn that logic? Wouldn't early intervention into North Korea have been a better idea since they HAVE "nukular" devices while none have been found in Iraq? Wouldn't early intervention in Iran have been a better idea? "We" seemed to have attacked the only country who didn't have WMD. Oh, yeah, that's right its all about getting "them" over "there" so we don't have to fight "them" here. Whoever "they" and "them" are and wherever "there" is.

Having said that, I must confess that I don't think schoolyard bully tactics are an answer to schoolyard bully tactics. "If you hurt me, I'm gonna hurt you worse" and so forth. And no I don't think "we" should sit on our hands either. Afganistan=OK. Iraq=family dispute gone way out of control. And what about the IRA? No one ever suggested invading Northern Ireland even though they were the one's who pioneered many of the modern "terrorist" tactics. Should have launched early intervention in Belfast, Londonderry, etc..., huh? Oh, I forgot, Michael Collins was a whitey. No WMD, just horrific ideas. One's that plague the planet today--despite the aims of those who employed them.

Porter 11 years, 6 months ago

roger_o: Great post. I'm sick and tired of hearing about how we need to get "them" over "there".

I wish I could agree with Boyda about how people are tired of hearing those slogans. Some people are. Unfortunately, a lot of folks still believe the commercials.

Frank Smith 11 years, 6 months ago

engagehorn asked me: Kropotkin:

"As a responsible citizen she knew that the spectre of WMDs and the supposed connection with al Qaida were unfounded." She knew that? Can you provide a pre-March 2003 statement from Boyda to back that up?

1.) Anyone as well informed and as skeptical of the mass media and White House propaganda as Boyda knew that.

Engagehorn continued: "A Johns Hopkins study indicated that the war and occupation have cost over 650,000 more Iraqi civilian lives"

Few people believe that study is credible.

It's an absolutely credible study, scrupulously researched and surveyed at great danger to the interviewers. It follows a study released last year, but the recent one had a much larger N and was back up 90% with death certificates.

"Ryun also backs the failed "Star Wars" terminal anti-missile defense system, ..."

Engagehorn: Failed? How so? Are you unaware of the fact that the Clinton admin also backed NMD?

The technology simply does not and never has existed. Clinton, like Reagan, did not pursue deployment and envisioned a much narrower deployment than Bush's "NTWs," "TMDs" and "NADs." The corporate welfare program has been marked by regular failures. The only supposedly "successful" tests have been conducted like a Cheney quail hunt, with the shooter standing outside a cage full of bloated birds raised in captivity.

LJW: "In 2003, Boyda participated and helped coordinate anti-war protests because she said she had questions about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and whether Bush had done enough to get more allies into the invading coalition. Once Bush committed troops to the invasion, she said she stopped the anti-war protests."

I don't have any Boyda quote. But these few paragraphs are from a speech I gave weeks before our invasion of Iraq, and my conclusions were shared with the 400-500 people listening, gauged by the applause and conversations and correspondence with many attendees afterward. I submit that Boyda, as an activist pre-war protester, almost certainly shared these views.

Are we really concerned about "Weapons of Mass Destruction," or is this manufactured hysteria? At least 24 American corporations knowingly provided Saddam with a significant portion of these weapons including Rockwell, Bechtel, Eastman-Kodak, Sperry, Unisys, and Honeywell. Saddam got anthrax from the Centers for Disease Control and American Type Culture Collection. The latter proved these exports were individually permitted by the U.S. Commerce Department.

U.N. ambassadors tell us they think inspections are working, growing ever more effective. They agree with former inspector, ex-Marine and Gulf War vet Scott Ritter, that the presence of WMD is extremely doubtful. But even our formerly reluctant officials now tell bald faced lies, do macabre dances and play out deadly charades in support of a war they now tell us 'is inevitable'. ."

KS 11 years, 6 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus - You obviously didn't read.

tashtego 11 years, 6 months ago

This war was in fact launched for domestic political purposes, as Frank Rich shows in his book. The genius of that was that Americans do not want to believe that their President could be so EVIL as to do that. But he is.

Oh, and this business of letting the corporations' lobbyists actually write the legislation, something that Lou Dobbs complains of? That started here in Texas under Bush. So did the educational idiocy of training kids only to take tests.

Ryun is a stooge of Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. just as Bush is.

The delicious irony of Boyda's victory is that the GOP legislature divided Lawrence to try to defeat Dennis Moore by dividing the "liberal" (sane) votes of Lawrencians. Instead, they may have spread the sanity to the Second District.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 6 months ago

You wouldn't know it, but the tide is turning inside the Bush administration. The past months have witnessed attempts by the Bushies to begin getting out of Iraq without appearing to "cut and run". This is why Baker has been brought in.

It is funny to hear the right wing republicans toeing the party line of "stay the course" while the Bush administration plots politically-expedient exit strategies.

We will wake up one morning soon after November 7 to the news that the Bushies are announcing massive troop withdrawls.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 6 months ago

The republican party became the rubber stamp party starting about 1980. The USA does not need a grand dsiplay of bogus party unity. The country does elect individuals to worship a sitting president and the administration. America needs individuals who can see fit to vote for the best legislation even if requires crossing party lines. The USA needs legislators who can say no to a president who wants to use the military for personal agenda matters. It is not a presidents right to occupy countries and kill thousands upon thousands of innocent people.

Terrorists are a small number of individuals that should be dealth with in a covert manner in conjunction with Germany,France,Italy,Canada ,etc and the UN. They too have an interest and they too have intelligence sources.

The Bush admin lied and has abused presidential authority not to mention dropping the ball on 9/11/01. This republican party needs replacing for obvious reasons.

This is just one more reason why this republican party needs to go. Lies about Social Security to the public repeatedly:

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