Ex-Army pilot calls Bush all talk
The McKinley grad says the president has no viable Iraq strategy
WASHINGTON » A Congressional candidate from Hawaii who lost both her legs during combat in Iraq said yesterday that President Bush has no real strategy for securing the war-ravaged nation, just political talk designed to appeal to voters.
Former Army Capt. Tammy Duckworth gave the Democrats' weekly radio address in response to the president's weekly radio talk.
"Instead of a plan or a strategy, we get shallow slogans like 'mission accomplished' and 'stay the course,'" Duckworth said. "Those slogans are calculated to win an election. But they won't help us accomplish our mission in Iraq."
Duckworth's address gave the Democratic Party a chance to showcase one of its strongest candidates as it seeks to regain control of the House in November's elections.
Duckworth copiloted a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed while under a rocket grenade attack almost two years ago and criticized Bush and others in his administration for accusing anyone who challenges the president's policies of "cutting and running."
"Well, I didn't cut and run, Mr. President. Like so many others, I proudly fought and sacrificed," Duckworth said. "My helicopter was shot down long after you proclaimed 'mission accomplished.'"
Duckworth, a McKinley High School and University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate, is seeking the suburban Chicago seat being vacated by conservative Republican Rep. Henry Hyde. She is running against Illinois state Sen. Peter Roskam, the man Hyde has endorsed.
In her address, Duckworth, now a major in the Illinois National Guard, also lashed out at the GOP-led Congress for refusing to do its job of holding the Bush administration accountable for its flawed Iraq policy.
"It is time to encourage Iraqi leaders to take control of their own county and make the tough choices that will stop the civil war and stabilize the country," Duckworth said.
She offered no proposal for an immediate withdrawal or a timetable for withdrawal.