Udall calls for 2006 exit from Iraq
BRECKENRIDGE – Drawing a hearty round of applause from a friendly audience numbering about 100 people Friday at Breckenridge Town Hall, Democratic Congressman Mark Udall called on the Bush Administration to set a target date for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Udall said he looks to Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel for leadership on the issue. Hagel has said the U.S. should be looking at an exit strategy with a target date near the end of 2006. After two fact-finding trips to Iraq in the past two years, Udall said he agrees with that date, at least partially based on estimates that Iraqi security forces should be adequately trained by then.Answering a series of questions on Iraq at the town meeting, Udall also said he thinks the U.S. should renounce any intent to establish permanent bases in Iraq as a way to start addressing some of the concerns about U.S. intentions in the region.Udall voted against the war in the first place, but said that U.S. and Iraqi interests would not be best served by a hasty, premature withdrawal.Udall also said the U.S. should acknowledge mistakes made in the handling of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and supports efforts to establish due process for those prisoners. He has also visited both those facilities and said he thinks the handling of prisoners has already improved. Such measures could be significant steps toward rebuilding America’s reputation as a world leader in the area of civil rights, he said.Udall also called for the establishment of a commission to look into war profiteering, similar to the Truman Commission established after World War II. He said he believes there has been profiteering by American companies in Iraq.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at email@example.com.
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