Stephen Laffey on War & Peace
Republican Senate Challenger
CHAFEE: That's the biggest issue facing this country, what we do in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq. We have to work with those countries around Iraq. There're six countries that share a border with Iraq. And they all have a vested interest. A couple of them our adversary, Syria and Iran, we need their help in stabilizing what's happening in Iraq. If we can't work with those countries, I would support a timetable.
LAFFEY: The plan is this?we told people of the world that we would make Iraq a stable place. By stable, we really mean it's a place that's no threat to itself. No threat to the neighboring countries and no threat to the US. That means taking troops in Iraq, Iraqi troops and taking them to Europe to train them and bring them back. We have to train those troops so that we can get them to stand up so eventually we can stand down.
LAFFEY: I have called for the resignation of Rumsfeld. We took the worst case scenario to go to war but then we use one of the rosiest cases to win the war. I come from the business world and we have to hold people accountable so my opponent has complained about the war and called Rumsfeld arrogant but wants to keep him around. I think he should leave. I think we should re-energize that.
CHAFEE: Laffey criticized me for not calling for Rumsfeld's resignation as he has, and by saying that job is not going well in Iraq and Rumsfeld should step down, that maybe that vindicates my vote against the war in Iraq. The only Republican to vote against the war in Iraq. Laffey is very critical of me when I cast that vote as we traveled around the state at joint appearances. Very, very critical of Chafee's vote against the war. I suppose now you might say that was a good vote.
Chafee, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Middle East, is among a handful of senators who often dissent from measures calling for support of Israel and sanctions against its enemies. As Chafee's Republican challenger, Laffey advocates a pro-Israel stance so strong that it sometimes puts him in the minority. After Hamas won the elections, for example, he came out against granting even humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas renounces its violent opposition to Israel's right to exist.
Critics say Laffey's positions make him captive to the pro-Israel lobby. Chafee said in an interview last week that Laffey appears to be a member of the Christian right whose support for Israel is inspired by the Bible. Laffey called that statement "bizarre."
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