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Obey Hits Back Against Washington Post’s Smearing of House Iraq Bill

By Payson Schwin on March 23, 2007 at 3:01 pm

"Obey Hits Back Against Washington Post’s Smearing of House Iraq Bill"

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This afternoon, the House passed the U.S. Troops Readiness, Veterans’ Health and Iraq Accountability Act. The bill expands funding for veterans health care, requires the Iraqi government to meet certain benchmarks of progress, and calls for the strategic redeployment of all U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2008.

This morning, the Washington Post editorial board, who in 2003 called the Iraq War “an operation essential to American security,” smeared the House plan as “an unconditional retreat.”

Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI) responded on the House floor. “Let me submit to you the problem we have today is not that we didn’t listen enough to people like the Washington Post,” Obey said. “It’s that we listened too much.” Obey concluded, “And I would say one thing, those of us who voted against the war in the first place wouldn’t have nearly as hard a time getting us out of the war if people like The Washington Post … hadn’t supported going into that stupid war in the first place.”

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/03/obey.320.240.flv]

See more of the House floor debate at The Gavel. Glenn Greenwald has more on the Washington Post editorial page here, and Horse’s Mouth has more on Obey’s speech here.

Transcript:

Let me submit to you the problem we have today is not that we didn’t listen enough to people like the Washington Post. It’s that we listened too much. They endorsed going to war in the first place. They helped drive the drumbeat that drove almost 2/3 of the people in this chamber to vote for that misguided, ill-advised war. So I make no apology. If the moral sensibilities of some people on this floor, or the editorial writers of The Washington Post are offended because they don’t like the specific language contained in our benchmarks or in our timelines. What matters in the end is not what the specific language is. What matters is whether or not we produce a product today that puts pressure on this Administration and sends a message to Iraq, to the Iraqi politicians that we’re going to end the permanent long-term dead end babysitting service. That’s what we’re trying to do.

And if The Washington Post is offended about the way we do it, that’s just too bad. But we’re in the arena. They’re not. And this is the best we can do given the tools that we have. And I make absolutely no apology for it. And I would say one thing, those of us who voted against the war in the first place wouldn’t have nearly as hard a time getting us out of the war if people like The Washington Post and those who criticized us on the floor yesterday hadn’t supported going into that stupid war in the first place.

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