Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) has become a controversial figure in the blogosphere. Yesterday, ThinkProgress sat down with her to discuss her stance on Iraq, among other issues. Tauscher began by telling us that she does not support the Bush strategy of escalation, noting that it is the fourth surge the administration has tried to effect without any success.
Referring to the current state of the strained and overstretched armed forces, Tauscher said, “I think this is a significant criminal dereliction of duty by the Commander in Chief.” She added that classified reports on military readiness are “chilling.”
ThinkProgress asked her whether she still stands behind her statement in the summer of 2002, when she said: “I am convinced that a regime change in Iraq is in the best interest of the United States and also our allies.” “I still think that was true,” she responded. She said her position then and now was that the “appropriate thing to do was to recontain Saddam Hussein” so that “you didn’t have to constantly look over your shoulder.” She said she tried to “slow things down” and avoid the “rush to war,” alluding to her sponsorship of a resolution that tried to delay the war vote until after the November 2002 midterm elections.
Tauscher said, “My constituents at home, while they didn’t want to go to war and didn’t believe we needed to go that far, wanted to deal with Saddam in a kind of permanent way — permanent in the sense that you didn’t have to worry about him in the short term. And I think people generally wanted to have regime change, they wanted to have the Iraqis freed from him.” But “never in my wildest dreams did I believe that that the Bush administration would fabricate information about weapons of mass destruction, cherrypick intel and feed it to the American people and Congress on a silver platter and make the case so significant that it would be irresponsible not to do something.” Watch it:
ThinkProgress also asked Tauscher about her attitude towards the netroots. We’ll be reporting on that tomorrow.