|By Admin1 (admin) (ppp-70-251-54-81.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - 220.127.116.11) on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 3:56 pm: Edit Post|
Congressman Chris Shays Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable
How Mr. Shays came to this change of heart is, he says, a matter of a newfound substantive belief that Iraqis need to be prodded into taking greater control of their own destiny under the country’s newly formed government. While Mr. Shays made his new position known recently in comments to reporters after returning from his 14th trip to Iraq, he said he planned to follow that up with a series of hearings in September, suggesting that he wants the issue to be at the center of his agenda during the election season. Mr. Shays, the chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on national security, said he planned to draft a timetable for a phased withdrawal and then push for its adoption. In the interview, Mr. Shays sought to distance himself from both President Bush and antiwar Democrats, a position not unlike that of Mr. Lieberman, whom he considers a political ally. Mr. Shays and Mr. Lieberman appeared together at an event this past weekend. Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji in the 1960's.
Congressman Chris Shays Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable
G.O.P. Congressman Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable
By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ
Published: August 31, 2006
Caption: Congressman Chris Shays visiting a children's center on the West Bank in 2003. Chris Shays has made 14 trips to Iraq and was the first Congressman to enter the country after the war - against the wishes of the Department of Defense.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 — Only a few weeks ago, Representative Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, minced no words in responding to calls led by Democrats for a phased withdrawal from Iraq. “To have a timetable is absolutely foolish,” he said.
But now, as he faces an increasingly tough re-election battle against an antiwar Democrat, Diane G. Farrell, Mr. Shays has undergone a conversion: He is proposing a timetable for a withdrawal of American troops, an idea derided by the Bush administration and many Republicans.
“A lot of thought has gone into this,” the congressman explained in a lengthy interview this week. “I had a lot of resistance in my own office in moving forward with this.”
How Mr. Shays came to this change of heart is, he says, a matter of a newfound substantive belief that Iraqis need to be prodded into taking greater control of their own destiny under the country’s newly formed government.
But it also comes amid growing signs of strong antiwar sentiment in his state. Earlier this month, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a centrist Democrat who supports the war in Iraq and opposes a timetable for withdrawal, was defeated in the Connecticut primary by an antiwar candidate, Ned Lamont. Mr. Lieberman is now running as an independent.
Political analysts say Republicans in other states may be feeling similar pressures. At least two other House Republicans who strongly support the war — Representative Gil Gutknecht of Minnesota and Representative Walter B. Jones of North Carolina — now embrace the idea of a timetable for withdrawal, according to strategists in both parties.
While Mr. Shays made his new position known recently in comments to reporters after returning from his 14th trip to Iraq, he said he planned to follow that up with a series of hearings in September, suggesting that he wants the issue to be at the center of his agenda during the election season.
Mr. Shays, the chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on national security, said he planned to draft a timetable for a phased withdrawal and then push for its adoption.
In the interview, Mr. Shays sought to distance himself from both President Bush and antiwar Democrats, a position not unlike that of Mr. Lieberman, whom he considers a political ally. Mr. Shays and Mr. Lieberman appeared together at an event this past weekend.
“The administration wants an open-ended commitment and that sends a wrong message to the Iraqis,” he said after describing how Iraq’s leaders had failed to take steps that would lead their country toward full-fledged political independence.
“I want the Iraqis to know that they do not have an open checkbook,” Mr. Shays continued. “I also want the Iraqis to know that our troops will not be there in the numbers they are now.”
But he also dismissed Democratic timetables for a speedy withdrawal as “arbitrary” and asserted that it would be a disaster to reduce the American presence in Iraq before the Iraqi government had the capacity to protect its citizens. “It would be obscene for us to leave before the Iraqis are able to defend themselves,” he said. “We completely dismantled their security forces.”
Republican officials have sought to minimize the political significance of Mr. Shays’s position. “The president still has a lot of support for the war,” said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. “What you are seeing is certain members express their own opinion.”
Democrats, in turn, have sharply questioned Mr. Shays’s motives, arguing that his conversion had less to do with principle than with the realization that he could no longer afford to vigorously support a war and a president who, polls show, are not popular in Connecticut.
Ms. Farrell, Mr. Shays’s Democratic challenger, described the congressman’s shift as a desperate attempt to divert attention from his record of support for the war.
“Chris Shays knows he is in the fight of his life,” she said. “And it appears that he will say anything in the hope that voters will forget his past record.”
Charlie Cook, a nonpartisan political analyst, argued that more Republicans are likely to begin giving serious thought to embracing a timetable for troop withdrawal given that opposition to the war remains deep as Election Day draws closer.
He noted that in Mr. Shays’s case, his shift came around the same time polls began to show the congressman in an increasingly tight race against Ms. Farrell, who has drawn comparison between Iraq and Vietnam. Ms. Farrell came within five percentage points of defeating Mr. Shays in 2004.
“If you’re a Republican in a tough re-election, you have to stop and reexamine your position,” Mr. Cook said.
Mr. Shays cautioned against reading too much into Mr. Lamont’s victory. He said that Mr. Lieberman did not lose simply because of his war position. He argued, among other things, that Mr. Lieberman had run a “terrible campaign” and that he had alienated many Connecticut Democrats by becoming too close to Republican leaders in Washington.
Mr. Shays said that his plan for withdrawing troops from Iraq would not necessarily reduce the American presence there quickly. “Americans may not like the timeline,” he said. “It may be too slow.” He said the withdrawal would be based on recommendations from military commanders, as well as on a monthly inventory of the number of Iraqi troops that are trained.
When this story was posted in September 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:
Read the stories and leave your comments.
Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Chris Shays Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable
In a policy shift, RPCV Congressman Chris Shays, long a staunch advocate of the Bush administration's position in Iraq, is now proposing a timetable for a withdrawal of American troops. How Mr. Shays came to this change of heart is, he says, a matter of a newfound substantive belief that Iraqis need to be prodded into taking greater control of their own destiny under the country’s newly formed government. As Chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on national security, he plans to draft a timetable for a phased withdrawal and then push for its adoption. A conscientious objector during the Vietnam War who said that if drafted he would not serve, Chris Shays has made 14 trips to Iraq and was the first Congressman to enter the country after the war - against the wishes of the Department of Defense.
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 or leave a message on our Bulletin Board. New: Sign up to receive our free Monthly Magazine by email, research the History of the Peace Corps, or sign up for a daily news summary of Peace Corps stories. FAQ: Visit our FAQ for more information about PCOL.
Peace Corps' Screening and Medical Clearance
The purpose of Peace Corps' screening and medical clearance process is to ensure safe accommodation for applicants and minimize undue risk exposure for volunteers to allow PCVS to complete their service without compromising their entry health status. To further these goals, PCOL has obtained a copy of the Peace Corps Screening Guidelines Manual through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and has posted it in the "Peace Corps Library." Applicants and Medical Professionals (especially those who have already served as volunteers) are urged to review the guidelines and leave their comments and suggestions. Then read the story of one RPCV's journey through medical screening and his suggestions for changes to the process.
Gates charity races to spend billions
Warren E. Buffett’s gift of $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation means that for tax reasons, starting in 2009, the foundation must distribute $3 billion annually, or a little more than twice what it distributed last year.
PCOL Comment: The Foundation says that "preventing the spread of HIV is the most durable long-term solution to the AIDS epidemic, and a top priority for the foundation." Peace Corps Volunteers and Returned Volunteers have been doing just that in AIDS Education for the past 15 years. Why not consider a $100M annual contribution to the Peace Corps to put 2,500 additional volunteers in the field to expand AIDS education worldwide?
RPCV Ron Tschetter to head Peace Corps
President Bush has nominated Ron Tschetter to serve as Director of the Peace Corps. Tschetter, 64, is the president of an investment firm based in Montana. He volunteered with his wife to work as family planning advisers in India and is a former Chairman of the National Peace Corps Association.
PCOL Comment: Congratulations to the Bush administration for an inspired choice for Peace Corps Director. Ron Tschetter is not only an RPCV but was Chairman of the NPCA. Best wishes to Mr. Tschetter on his future tenure as Director of the Peace Corps.
Latest: How Ron Tschetter was selected as Peace Corps Director.
The Peace Corps is "fashionable" again
The LA Times says that "the Peace Corps is booming again and "It's hard to know exactly what's behind the resurgence." PCOL Comment: Since the founding of the Peace Corps 45 years ago, Americans have answered Kennedy's call: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." Over 182,000 have served. Another 200,000 have applied and been unable to serve because of lack of Congressional funding. The Peace Corps has never gone out of fashion. It's Congress that hasn't been keeping pace.
Support the US-Peruvian Trade Pact
Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, the Peace Corps President, has been lobbying both Democratic and Republican legislators to support the US-Peruvian trade pact before July 28, when his term ends and a US congressional recess begins. If President Bush fails to get approval before Congress goes on recess, it will be a case study proving that the United States does not reward its friends. Please call your representatives.
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
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
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.
First Amendment Watch
Maine Web Report hit with Federal Lawsuit
Website wins trademark suit against Jerry Falwell
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%
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
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
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
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
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.