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Rep. Westmoreland Warns That Iraqis Won’t Just ‘Go Back to Tending Sheep and Herding Goats’

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"Rep. Westmoreland Warns That Iraqis Won’t Just ‘Go Back to Tending Sheep and Herding Goats’"

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During yesterday’s House floor debate on escalation, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) unwittingly demonstrated his profound ignorance of Iraqi culture. “Some people from the other side seem to believe that if we pull out of Iraq, the Iraqi people are going to go back to tending sheep and herding goats,” he said. Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/02/westmoreland.320.240.flv]

Westmoreland’s statement comes as little surprise. Last year, he led opposition to renewal of the Voting Rights Act, arguing that racism in the South is as irrelevant today as U.S.-British tensions over the Revolutionary War: “Do we treat the British any differently because of the Stamp Act? If we’re going to do that, then let’s go back to the Indians and say they butchered Custer.”

Unfortunately, the civil war in Iraq has decimated the country’s once-thriving professional class. Roughly 40 percent of Iraq’s middle class — which at one time included professors, doctors, and business owners — has fled Iraq since the war began, U.N. officials estimate. “The flight has undermined basic services such as water and sanitation and disrupted commerce, making it increasingly difficult for Iraqi society to function.”

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Transcript:

This is not about President Bush because I think President Bush has tried every way, Mr. Speaker, he knows how to make this a successful campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he continues to come up with new ideas through the help and the advice of his military commanders to win this war on terror. This is a global war on terror. Some people from the other side seem to believe that if we pull out of Iraq, that the Iraqi people are going to go back to tending sheep and herding goats. That’s not what’s going to happen. If we pull out of Iraq, what’s going to happen is you are going to see more bloodshed than we have seen in a long time in this world.

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