GOP Congressman Wants Troops Out of Iraq
June 13, 2005
RALEIGH, N.C. - A Republican congressman who voted for the Iraq war said Sunday that "we've done about as much as we can do" in the country and that the reason for invading Iraq has proven false.
Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina will be among the lawmakers introducing legislation this week calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq.
"When I look at the number of men and women who have been killed - it's almost 1,700 now, in addition to close to 12,000 have been severely wounded - and I just feel that the reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that's all been proven that it was never there," Jones said on ABC's "This Week."
President Bush has said any timetable for withdrawal would encourage insurgents to wait for the foreign troops to leave, but Jones said he believed Iraqis can defend their own country.
His stance leaves Jones sided with Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, the most prominent Democrat calling for a timetable to leave Iraq. Jones said he had not discussed the issue with Kennedy.
Two years ago, Jones helped lead an effort to make sure Capitol Hill cafeterias retooled their menus to advertise "freedom fries" instead of french fries to protest France's opposition to the war.
Jones said he began changing his mind about the war after attending the funeral in April 2003 for Sgt. Michael Bitz, 31, who was killed in the southern city of Nasiriyah. He recalled that Bitz's widow read the last letter she received from her husband.
"And that really has been on my mind and my heart ever since," he said.
Jones, whose district includes Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point, has written condolence letters to the families of more than 1,300 service people killed in Iraq, and posters outside his congressional office show the faces of those killed.
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