MoveOn Slams Democrat for 'Flip-Flop' on Iraq

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

( - The anti-war group announced on Wednesday that it is launching an ad campaign against a Democrat -- calling attention to Rep. Brian Baird's support of "President Bush's failed policy in Iraq."

The Washington State Democrat is acting "against the views of his constituents" and against his previous voting record, the liberal group said.

"Congressman Baird's new position, in favor of keeping our troops in an un-winnable civil war in Iraq, is out of line with the majority of his district and the nation," said Nita Chaudhary of the Political Action Committee, in an e-mail message that described the Democrat's shift on the issue as a "recent flip-flop."

Rep. Brian Baird"So far, this has been one of the bloodiest summers in Iraq, and voters don't want to continue down a failed path," Chaudhary added. "They want representatives who will stand up to President Bush's reckless policy and bring our troops home."'s Web site mentions that last March, Rep. Baird voted with Democrats "to force Bush to bring troops home. Now he says he'll oppose timelines to bring our troops home from the un-winnable civil war in Iraq. We've got a new ad challenging Rep. Baird on his new support for the Iraq War."

The advertisement features John Bruhns, a U.S. Army infantry sergeant who describes an incident that happened while he was stationed in Baghdad in 2003 and 2004.

"One day, there was a riot in the Abu Ghraib market area," Bruhns says. "We had 2,000 people from the community protest our presence in their country. These were not terrorists."

"We were told that we were there to liberate these people," he states. "They were shooting at us.

"To keep American soldiers in Iraq for an indefinite period of time being attacked by an unidentifiable enemy is wrong, immoral and irresponsible," says Bruhns.

The ad concludes with the text: "Tell Rep. Baird: Support our troops. Bring them home."

A five-term congressman from Vancouver, Baird returned last week from a tour of Iraq with a different view of the four-year-old conflict there, as he described in an op-ed that ran in the Seattle Times on Aug. 24 under the title "A Reason for Hope in Iraq."

"The invasion of Iraq may be one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in the history of our nation," Baird wrote. "As tragic and costly as that mistake has been, a precipitous or premature withdrawal of our forces now has the potential to turn the initial errors into an even greater problem just as success looks possible. ...

"As a Democrat who voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy, I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better. ...

"I believe Iraq could have a positive future. ... Our diplomatic and military leaders in Iraq, their current strategy, and most importantly, our troops and the Iraqi people themselves deserve our continued support and more time to succeed."

Baird opined that the situation on the ground is improving in many important ways: "Regardless of one's politics or position on the invasion, this must be recognized and welcomed as good news."

Baird quoted a soldier as saying, "We have lost so many good people and invested so much, it just doesn't make sense to quit now when we're finally making progress." The soldier admitted that although he wants to go home, he also wants the missions to succeed -- and "I'm willing to do what it takes. I just want to know the people back home know we're making progress and support us.'"

Baird said he doesn't know what the September progress report from Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker will contain, but he said he "trusts" them: "I have seen firsthand the progress they have made, and I firmly believe we must give them the time and resources they need to succeed."

Baird has paid a price for his new stance on Iraq. One left-wing blogger dubbed him "Dick Cheney's trained monkey." And the congressman admitted that his office has received "some angry calls" from constituents in the state's 3rd District.

Nevertheless, the congressman has managed to maintain his sense of humor. As Fox News reported Tuesday, Baird told reporters after a contentious town hall meeting in Vancouver: "Somebody said to me: 'Oh man, you're going to get killed tonight. I said: 'No, they get killed in Iraq. I'm going to get criticized.'"

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Baird isn't MoveOn's only target regarding the war in Iraq.

Since mid-August, the group of liberal activists has been encouraging its members to lobby their senators and representatives to pledge support for a troop withdrawal before they return to Washington, D.C., in September.

Telephone calls by Cybercast News Service seeking the congressman's response to Wednesday's announcement were not returned by press time.

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