Shortly after returning from Iraq, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) conducted an interview with ThinkProgress. She said she conveyed three things to Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker: 1) “the American people don’t want to see some kind of Saigon-like helicopter liftoff trying to remove people out of Iraq,” 2) they don’t want to see “ethnic cleansing and devastation of Iraqis” after we leave, and 3) they “don’t want the status quo.”
Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), who recently returned from Iraq as well, said his experience led him to believe the escalation should be sustained until next year. Asked to address Baird’s comments, Tauscher suggested he had become a victim of the “green zone fog”:
I will tell you that when you get in the Green Zone, there is a physiological phenomenon I think called Green Zone fog. … It’s death by powerpoint. … It’s always that their argument is winning.
She added later, “It’s very, very easy to be influenced, from their point of view, that things are better.” She said they will “shape” facts to show gains being made. Meanwhile, the reality in Iraq is that there is a lot of sectarianism in the government, particularly at the Ministry of Interior. “The MOI is basically this sleeper cell organization of Shiite death squads,” she said.
Tauscher met with “war czar” Gen. Doug Lute at the White House on Tuesday and impressed upon him the need for a strategic redeployment out of Iraq. “It can’t be 5 or 10 or 15,000 troops,” she said of the need to redeploy. She reported that Lute “didn’t push back on anything I said,” but was rather “somewhat in agreement with what I said.” Watch it:
This was Tauscher’s fourth trip to Iraq. She said, “It certainly hasn’t gotten better” since the last time she visited Iraq in 2005. “Because it hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten dramatically worse.”
UPDATE: The Crypt’s Patrick O’Connor has more.