Monday, October 03, 2005

Iraq Veterans Run for Office to Change U.S. Policy

Amid the fighting in Iraq, a private questioned then-Capt. Patrick Murphy about why U.S. forces were in the Persian Gulf nation and was told it didn't matter, there was a job to do and just try to return home safely.

"That wasn't the time to question our government," Murphy recalled.

Now, however, Murphy and five other Democrats are asking the questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Familiar with the horrors of war, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions. Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concerns about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving.

This summer, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq War veteran, nearly defeated Republican Jean Schmidt in a special election in an Ohio district considered a GOP stronghold. Hackett focused on his wartime experience and his opposition to Bush's policies.

"Some guys don't think it's time to question our government, but the fact is I love my country," said Murphy, 31, a lawyer who fought with the 82nd Airborne Division. "We need to have an exit strategy now."

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link