Posted on Fri, Dec. 08, 2006
GOP senator says war may be 'criminal'
WASHINGTON - Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, a Republican
who voted in favor of the Iraq war in 2002 and has
supported it ever since, now says the current U.S. war
effort is "absurd" and "may even be criminal."
In an emotional speech on the Senate floor Thursday
night, Smith called for changes in U.S. policy that
could include rapid pullouts of U.S. troops from Iraq.
He said he never would have voted for the conflict if
he had known the intelligence that President Bush gave
the American people was inaccurate.
"I for one am at the end of my rope when it comes to
supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling
the same streets in the same way, being blown up by
the same bombs day after day," Smith said. "That is
absurd. It may even be criminal. I cannot support that
anymore. ... So either we clear and hold and build, or
let's go home."
A spokesman said Friday that Smith did not mean to
call the war criminal in a legal sense.
Smith is up for re-election in 2008. His comments come
a month after Republicans lost control of Congress -
in large part because of voter unhappiness with the
Iraq war - and shortly after the Iraq Study Group
issued a blistering criticism of the administration's
handling of the war.
Smith said he is "tired of paying the price of 10 or
more of our troops dying a day. So let's cut and run
or cut and walk, but let us fight the war on terror
more intelligently than we have because we have fought
this war in a very lamentable way."