2006.06.07: June 7, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Fiji: Politics: Congress: Iraq: Westport-News: U.S. Rep Christopher Shays (R-4) now says that he did not provide aggressive enough oversight of the Pentagon's war plan

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Fiji: Special Report: Former Congressman Chris Shays: RPCV Congressman Chris Shays: Newest Stories: 2006.06.07: June 7, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Fiji: Politics: Congress: Iraq: Westport-News: U.S. Rep Christopher Shays (R-4) now says that he did not provide aggressive enough oversight of the Pentagon's war plan

By Admin1 (admin) (adsl-69-150-133-223.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 11:29 am: Edit Post

U.S. Rep Christopher Shays (R-4) now says that he did not provide aggressive enough oversight of the Pentagon's war plan

U.S. Rep Christopher Shays (R-4) now says that he did not provide aggressive enough oversight of the Pentagon's war plan

Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji in the 1960's.

U.S. Rep Christopher Shays (R-4) now says that he did not provide aggressive enough oversight of the Pentagon's war plan

Shays Admits Errors On Iraq
Don Casciato

In what might eventually prove to be a precursor to a change in how the United States deals with the war in Iraq, U.S. Rep Christopher Shays (R-4) now says that he did not provide aggressive enough oversight of the Pentagon's war plan.

His statement appeared in last Sunday's Connecticut Post a sister paper of the Westport News in a story written by the paper's Washington correspondent, Peter Urban.

The reporter had asked the congressman to respond to criticism against him by his Democratic Party opponent, Diane Farrell, the former Westport first selectwoman.

She has been critical of his Iraq viewpoints in both her run against Shays in 2004 and has intensified her rhetoric and criticism this time around her second effort to unseat him.

Although the congressman now believes more oversight of the Pentagon's war plan was needed, according to the article, Farrell claims Shays has failed to oversee the Iraq war effort.

In addition, Farrell criticizes Shays for stubbornly supporting President Bush's Iraq policy rather than demanding a sensible plan to win the peace.

Pat on Bush's Back?

"If people like Chris Shays President Bush's most loyal supporter of the war in Iraq would demand a workable plan to win the peace in Iraq, maybe we could accomplish the mission," she said, in the Connecticut Post article. "Instead, Chris and his allies in this Republican-controlled Congress continue to pat the president on the back and tell him he's doing the right thing in Iraq."

Farrell has never explained how she determined that Shays is the "most loyal supporter of the war in Iraq." The Urban article did not mention the fact that Shays has been critical of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Meanwhile, the Farrell camp Monday issued another press release in which the Democrat says Shays' admission in the newspaper is a "politically expedient move that is pitifully late and inadequate" and she asks him what other mistakes he has made. Shorter versions of the Post story supplied by wire services appeared in other area newspapers.

The Democratic Party challenger had issued an earlier news release complaining that Shays failed to properly oversee Iraqi reconstruction efforts, pointing to an April government audit that detailed millions in government waste.

The audit found that a private contractor was paid $190 million to build 150 health centers throughout Iraq, but completed only six of them before the contract was canceled.

"I think Chris has fallen down on the job in terms of oversight," Farrell said. "He has abrogated his fiduciary responsibility to the American people by not watching the money more closely. The health centers are probably the best case in point."

Partisanship Blues

The article by Urban stated that Farrell sees the problem as one of partisanship. "When one party is in charge, it is much less likely to perform that critical oversight function," she said.

Farrell says she believes there would be more oversight of the Bush administration if Democrats were in the majority in the House and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, (D-Ohio), was chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on national security, emerging threats and international relations. He is currently the ranking Democrat.

"Someone like Representative Kucinich would have been a lot more conscientious about bringing administration officials to hearings," she said. "There would have been no 'noblesse oblige' going on between party members."

Kucinich declined to be interviewed for the Connecticut Post article. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the full committee, as well as two other high ranking Democrats on the subcommittee, also refused interviews.

Aside from Farrell and the self-criticism of Shays, the congressman received generally favorable reviews for his leadership of the subcommittee.

Subcommittee Praised

"There's not enough oversight going on in Congress, but this subcommittee is clearly an exception to that general rule, said Comptroller General David M. Walker at an April hearing.

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Holle (D-Md.) agreed with that point of view.

"With the exception of this subcommittee pursuing some oversight within its limited jurisdiction, I think the House of Representatives has been totally AWOL, when it comes to oversight on this issue and has failed to live up to its constitutional responsibilities," said Van Hollen.

[Last week the Marylander visited Bridgeport with Farrell and Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi to discuss the nation's options on energy policy.]

A year earlier, Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), commended Shays for holding hearings on "many, many important topics.

The U.S. policy on Iraq also was a major theme Sunday on Meet the Press with U.S Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) warning of further problems there.

The U.S. will have spent more than $320 billion by the end of the year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I fault myself," says Shays, in reflecting on some of the war problems. "I was hearing voices in my own head that this was going to cost more and I accepted the Pentagon numbers that were too low. I should have had hearings early on."

The subcommittee did hold hearings in 2002 and 2003 on troop preparedness focusing on "the toxic battlefield."

The incumbent congressman said he was convinced that U.S. troops would encounter chemical weapons going into Iraq and wanted to make sure the Pentagon equipped each soldier properly.

At the time, according to Shays, he was unaware that troops would be sent into battle without the body or vehicle armor needed to protect them from improvised explosive devices (IED). The Pentagon attributes 823 of the nearly 2,500 U.S. deaths in Iraq to IEDs.

"We were adamant about chemical protection, but we learned early on that they needed body armor," Shays says.

The Pentagon kept telling Shays that they would have the problem resolved in short order, but its solution was not adequate. If he had held a hearing on the body armor issue, Shays believes, the Pentagon may have responded more aggressively.

Vets' Group Responds

In another development, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Political Action Committee yesterday announced plans for a conference call in order to respond to Shays.

A press release stated: "Shays' admission that he 'should have had hearings early on' is too little, too late."

Jon Soltz, the executive director of the group and an Iraq war veteran, said he would hold a media-only conference call to respond to the interview by Shays.

Although the conference was too late to include in this story, further information can be found on: www.connpost.com/sports/ci _3898527

When this story was posted in July 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Jody Olsen is acting Peace Corps Director Date: June 30 2006 No: 920 Jody Olsen is acting Peace Corps Director
The Senate confirmed Gaddi Vasquez to head the FAO on June 30. Jody Olsen will be acting Director until the President makes a permanent appointment. Olsen has been Deputy Director of the Peace Corps since 2002. She has previously served as Chief of Staff for two directors, as regional director for North Africa, Near East, and Asia and the Pacific, and as country director in Togo. She served in Tunisia as a PCV.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 24 2006 No: 798 The Peace Corps Library
The Peace Corps Library is now available online with over 40,000 index entries in 500 categories. Looking for a Returned Volunteer? Check our RPCV Directory. New: Sign up to receive PCOL Magazine, our free Monthly Magazine by email. Like to keep up with Peace Corps news as it happens? Sign up to recieve a daily summary of Peace Corps stories from around the world.

Changing the Face of Hunger Date: June 28 2006 No: 915 Changing the Face of Hunger
In his new book, Former Congressman Tony Hall (RPCV Thailand) says humanitarian aid is the most potent weapon the United States can deploy against terrorism. An evangelical Christian, he is a big believer in faith-based organizations in the fight against hunger. Members of Congress have recently recommended that Hall be appointed special envoy to Sudan to focus on ending the genocide in Darfur.

PC will not return to East Timor in 2006 Date: June 8 2006 No: 913 PC will not return to East Timor in 2006
Volunteers serving in East Timor have safely left the country as a result of the recent civil unrest and government instability. Latest: The Peace Corps has informed us that at this time, the Peace Corps has no plans to re-enter the country in 2006. The Peace Corps recently sent a letter offering eligible volunteers the opportunity to reinstate their service in another country.

Chris Dodd considers run for the White House Date: June 3 2006 No: 903 Chris Dodd considers run for the White House
Senator Chris Dodd plans to spend the next six to eight months raising money and reaching out to Democrats around the country to gauge his viability as a candidate. Just how far Dodd can go depends largely on his ability to reach Democrats looking for an alternative to Hillary Clinton. PCOL Comment: Dodd served as a Volunteer in the Dominican Republic and has been one of the strongest supporters of the Peace Corps in Congress.

The RPCV who wrote about Ben Hogan Date: June 6 2006 No: 912 The RPCV who wrote about Ben Hogan
Probably no RPCV has done more to further the Third Goal of the Peace Corps than John Coyne with the Peace Corps Writers web site and newsletter that he and Marian Haley Beil have produced since 1989. Now John returns to writing about his first love - golf in "The Caddie who knew Ben Hogan." Read an excerpt from his novel, an interview with the author and a schedule of his book readings in Maryland and DC this week.

Vasquez testifies before Senate Committee Date: June 3 2006 No: 905 Vasquez testifies before Senate Committee
Director Vasquez testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination as the new Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture replacing Tony Hall. He has been the third longest serving Peace Corps Director after Loret Ruppe Miller and Sargent Shriver. PCOL Comment: Read our thanks to Director Vasquez for his service to the Peace Corps.

First Amendment Watch Date: May 4 2006 No: 883 First Amendment Watch
Maine Web Report hit with Federal Lawsuit
Website wins trademark suit against Jerry Falwell

Interview with a Hit Man Date: April 25 2006 No: 880 Interview with a Hit Man
RPCV John Perkins says that for many years he was an "economic hit man" in the world of international finance whose primary job was to convince less developed countries to accept multibillion dollar loans for infrastructure projects that left the recipient countries wallowing in debt and highly vulnerable to outside political and commercial interests. In this exclusive interview for "Peace Corps Online," Colombia RPCV Joanne Roll, author of Remember with Honor, talks to Perkins about his Peace Corps service, his relation with the NSA, "colonization" in Ecuador, the consequences of his work, why he decided to speak out, and what his hopes are for change.

PC Program in Chad temporarily suspended Date: April 14 2006 No: 872 PC Program in Chad temporarily suspended
Director Vasquez announced the temporary suspension of the Peace Corps program in Chad on April 14 and that all 29 Peace Corps volunteers have left the country. With a program dating back forty years (See Page 4 of the April 1966 "Peace Corps Volunteer"), RPCVs hope that volunteers can return to Chad as soon as the situation has stabilized. Congratulations to the Peace Corps for handling the suspension quickly and professionally.

Peace Corps stonewalls on FOIA request Date: April 12 2006 No: 869 Peace Corps stonewalls on FOIA request
The Ashland Daily Tidings reports that Peace Corps has blocked their request for information on the Volkart case. "After the Tidings requested information pertaining to why Volkart was denied the position on March 2 the newspaper received a letter from the Peace Corps FOIA officer stating the requested information was protected under an exemption of the act." The Dayton Daily News had similar problems with FOIA requests for their award winning series on Volunteer Safety and Security.

PCOL readership increases 100% Date: April 3 2006 No: 853 PCOL readership increases 100%
Monthly readership on "Peace Corps Online" has increased in the past twelve months to 350,000 visitors - over eleven thousand every day - a 100% increase since this time last year. Thanks again, RPCVs and Friends of the Peace Corps, for making PCOL your source of information for the Peace Corps community. And thanks for supporting the Peace Corps Library and History of the Peace Corps. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

History of the Peace Corps Date: March 18 2006 No: 834 History of the Peace Corps
PCOL is proud to announce that Phase One of the "History of the Peace Corps" is now available online. This installment includes over 5,000 pages of primary source documents from the archives of the Peace Corps including every issue of "Peace Corps News," "Peace Corps Times," "Peace Corps Volunteer," "Action Update," and every annual report of the Peace Corps to Congress since 1961. "Ask Not" is an ongoing project. Read how you can help.

RPCV admits to abuse while in Peace Corps Date: February 3 2006 No: 780 RPCV admits to abuse while in Peace Corps
Timothy Ronald Obert has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a minor in Costa Rica while serving there as a Peace Corps volunteer. "The Peace Corps has a zero tolerance policy for misconduct that violates the law or standards of conduct established by the Peace Corps," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. Could inadequate screening have been partly to blame? Mr. Obert's resume, which he had submitted to the Peace Corps in support of his application to become a Peace Corps Volunteer, showed that he had repeatedly sought and obtained positions working with underprivileged children. Read what RPCVs have to say about this case.

Military Option sparks concerns Date: January 3 2006 No: 773 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. Read our poll results. Latest: Congress passed a bill on December 22 including language to remove Peace Corps from the National Call to Service (NCS) military recruitment program

Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger Date: October 22 2005 No: 738 Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger. Latest: Read the ongoing dialog on the subject.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Westport-News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Fiji; Politics; Congress; Iraq


Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.