2006.11.10: November 10, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Fiji: Politics: Congress: Iraq: Hardball: Chris Shays discusses Iraq with Chris Matthews on Hardball

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Chris Shays discusses Iraq with Chris Matthews on Hardball

Chris Shays discusses Iraq with Chris Matthews on Hardball

"I want to find out the impact our election has had on the Iraqis. Because my 13th and 14th visit were very disappointing. I was there in July and then again in August. They‘re content to have us do the heavy lifting. They don‘t want to do the same kinds of things that they did in ‘05. In ‘05 staying the course made sense. They elected a government. They created a constitutional convention, created a constitution. They had to ratify the constitution. Then they had elections, pretty impressive. This year they‘ve basically been treading water. We need to motivate them. And if they‘re not motivated, we need to leave. " Journalist Chris Matthews and Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut both served as a Peace Corps Volunteers in the 1960's - Matthews in Swaziland and Shays in Fiji .

Chris Shays discusses Iraq with Chris Matthews on Hardball

'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Nov. 10

Updated: 9:57 a.m. CT Nov 13, 2006

Guests: Marsha Blackburn, Jim Moran, Jim Gilmore, Steve Jarding, Chris Shays, Roger Simon, Jim Vandehei, Chuck Todd, Adam Zagorin


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Now to Connecticut, where U.S. Congressman Chris Shays won his 11th term in the House of Representatives, narrowly defeating outspoken antiwar candidate Diane Farrell. The race set a high national profile because Shays, a longtime supporter of the Iraq war, announced during his campaign that U.S. policies there aren‘t working and called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld‘s resignation.

Congressman Shays joins us now.

Congressman, thank you for joining us. Where do you think we have to go in Iraq?

REP. CHRIS SHAYS ®, CONNECTICUT: There‘s four things we need to do, Chris.

The first thing is we need set a timeline to transfer Iraqis to patrol the streets and get our guys from patrolling the streets. The Iraqis need to start doing the police work. And by doing that it incentivizes them, the Shias and the Kurds and the Sunnis, to start to work out their differences.

The second thing we need to do is set timelines for the Iraqis, the Shias and the Sunnis, in particular, to work out their differences on reconciliation, on de-Ba‘athification and where the oil goes and federalism.

The third thing you need to do is we need to get the six—and this is Dennis Ross‘ plan. I think he‘s right on target. We need to get the six neighboring countries to come together, Iran included obviously, and say, “You know, if we fail, Iraq gets divided into three parts. None of you want that.”

And finally, I think you need a plebiscite. If two-thirds of the Iraqis aren‘t going to support our being there and our plan to withdraw, then we leave even sooner. They need to start showing some support for our troops, or otherwise we just need to leave.

MATTHEWS: What about the—the administration? They have a strong ideological bend, very much inhabited by neoconservative thinking, very hostile to a lot of those Arab governments? Why do you think this president will change his mind and begin talking to Bashar Assad or to Ahmadinejad in Iran?

SHAYS: Well, he needs to do that and, frankly, we need to have embassies in every country, including North Korea and Cuba.

But the bottom line is, this president wants to have a success. He wants to bring our troops home eventually. And I don‘t think he does it without doing exactly what you described.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the prospects on this. You know, the Democrats may wonder why they should sign onto a dying policy. How do you get them to join up in any kind of coalition when they see—they might see themselves getting blamed for what‘s to come?

SHAYS: Yes. I‘m so happy you asked me this. You know, we‘ve got to be Americans first, not Republicans and Democrats. And when you said sign on and make it their own, they‘ve got to make it their own.

I mean, we—we went into Iraq on a bipartisan basis. Jim Moran is wrong about that. Two-thirds of the House voted to go in, three-quarters of the Senate. And we‘re only going to be able to leave Iraq successfully, and I‘ll put quotations around “success”, if we do it on a bipartisan basis.

So if the Democrats love their country, they‘ll stop thinking about its impact on them politically and think about how they can help.

MATTHEWS: Do you still have faith in President Bush?

SHAYS: Yes, absolutely. And I think, you know, ironically, Jim Moran is totally wrong on this. I mean the president is not going to be marginalized. I mean, we—you thought that when we were in charge. And I remember him saying almost the same thing. And President Clinton proved he was not marginalized.

MATTHEWS: You‘re so right. You‘re so right.


MATTHEWS: So you still think it‘s still going to be a bipartisan decision, it‘s going to have to be, to get successful in developing a strong policy?

SHAYS: We have men and women dying in Iraq, and the only way we help our troops is to work together.

MATTHEWS: You‘ve been over there so many times, 14 times I‘m told. What do you expect to find when you go back again in Iraq? What do you want to find out about?

SHAYS: I—I want to find out the impact our election has had on the Iraqis. Because my 13th and 14th visit were very disappointing. I was there in July and then again in August.

They‘re content to have us do the heavy lifting. They don‘t want to do the same kinds of things that they did in ‘05. In ‘05 staying the course made sense. They elected a government. They created a constitutional convention, created a constitution. They had to ratify the constitution. Then they had elections, pretty impressive.

This year they‘ve basically been treading water. We need to motivate them. And if they‘re not motivated, we need to leave.

MATTHEWS: OK. Congressman Chris Shays, congratulations. What a tough year you‘ve had.

SHAYS: Thanks.

MATTHEWS: And you have proved the Democratic process works; you got

re-elected. Thank you, sir.

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