Leahy concerned about longterm plan in Iraq

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(Host) Senator Patrick Leahy says a U.S. military victory in Iraq will not have much meaning unless America is willing to take an active role in the reconstruction of Iraq after the war. Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Leahy says it’s critical for the Bush administration to understand that the United States must commit itself to the long term stability of Iraq, if the goal of establishing a democratic government in that country is going to be successful:

(Leahy) “What I worry about though in this whole thing, we’ll watch this very intently for the next 10 days or even 10 weeks but that part of the world is going to watch what we do for the next 10 years or more. And if we were to make the mistake that we’ve made in the past of going in somewhere and say, ‘Okay, it’s over. Let’s – goodbye,’ and leave, then it’s for naught. In fact it’s going to be worse than naught. It’s like the sign in the china shop: if you break it, you’ve bought it. Well we’re breaking it; in many ways, we bought it.”

(Host) Leahy says the war in Iraq and a comprehensive reconstruction program will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The senator says there is no way the United States can afford to allocate these funds, meet key domestic concerns and implement the president’s proposed tax cuts. Because of this situation, Leahy says he’ll oppose the passage of Bush’s tax cut package.

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