Ehlers, Hoekstra Vote against Iraq Withdrawal

us soldiers on patrol in iraq

Yesterday, West Michigan Congressional Representatives Vern Ehlers (Grand Rapids) and Pete Hoekstra (Holland) voted against two measures aimed at ending the Iraq War. The two Republicans voted along side the majority of their party, supporting what were essentially party line votes on the measures–one of which was a resolution calling for the redeployment of US soldiers and military contractors from Iraq and the other providing funding for the war until September of this year. President Bush has said that he will veto a funding bill that funds the war in a “piecemeal” fashion.

As of this writing, neither Ehlers nor Hoekstra had issued statements explaining their votes. In response to the last bill, Hoekstra has advocated funding without restrictions while arguing that it is essential to continue the fight against the “radical, militant jihadists” in Iraq. Ehlers has recently stated that he opposes an immediate withdrawal or a withdrawal based on a timetable arguing that it would help “the enemy,” while arguing that the United States has a moral responsibility to the Iraqi people to remain in Iraq to help rebuild the country.

Ehlers’ recent comments have not mentioned the causes of the ongoing slaughter in Iraq (it is also worth noting that Ehlers has disputed the 655,000+ death toll estimated by the British journal, The Lancet) nor has he talked about the wishes of the Iraqi people. On the same day that the United States House of Representatives voted against an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, it was reported that a majority of Iraq’s members of parliament have signed onto a bill that would require a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops. Even as Iraq’s President Jalai Talabani was in Washington campaigning for the continued occupation, recent polls have shown that the majority of Iraqis want the United States to leave. In March, 78% of Iraqis wanted the United States to leave while 51% believed that attacks on US soldiers were justified while the occupation continues. Representative Ehlers has talked about how the United States must stabilize Iraq after “messing up” the country, but he has not talked about the limited success of United States’ reconstruction projects, six out of eight of which have failed according to a United States government investigation. In the Washington Post, Iraqi lawmaker Hussein al-Falluji was quoted saying “we think that America committed a grave injustice against the Iraqi people and against the glorious history of Iraq when they destroyed our institutions and then rebuilt them in the wrong way.”

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org