Hawaii delegation bashes Bush plan
WASHINGTON » Hawaii's four-person congressional delegation was unanimous in its condemnation of President Bush's announcement to send more than 20,000 new American troops to Iraq.
The four Democrats each said the United States should start to withdraw from Iraq.
Sen. Daniel Akaka said he opposed the plan. "This is a war that we should never have gotten into, and I oppose putting more American lives in jeopardy," he said.
Hawaii's senior Sen. Daniel Inouye warned, "It would only exacerbate a bad situation, and could signal the possible permanency of this conflict."
Inouye and Rep. Neil Abercrombie both said the Iraq war has no right response for U.S. officials, but that the government must still act to remove itself from the conflict.
"We must have the strength to proceed and to do what is necessary to leave the battlefield with honor and return Iraq to its people," Inouye said.
Abercrombie said, "There is no good answer here." He called Bush's proposal "essentially more of the same."
The solution, according to the 1st Congressional District Democrat, is to allow the opposing Muslim factions in Iraq to resolve the issue.
ON ASSIGNMENTHonolulu Star-Bulletin Capitol Bureau Chief Richard Borreca will be filing reports from Washington, D.C., all this week on Hawaii's congressional delegation as the new Democratic majority in Congress takes power.
"What will happen is they will come to a resolution with each other as they have always done before. It is the presence of American troops that causes the violence because we are an occupying force," Abercrombie said.
Both Abercrombie and Rep. Mazie Hirono called for Congress to vote on the troop increase.
Hirono said that she thought the president was going in the wrong direction.
"I would have liked the president to redeploy and push for Iraqi people to achieve their own sovereignty using the full extent of diplomatic sources.
"The bottom line is he is calling for an escalation," Hirono said.
There was no immediate comment from Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.
State GOP Chairman Sam Aiona said he did not see the president's speech live, but taped it and planned to watch it last night.
Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Mike McCartney said he was pleased to hear Bush acknowledge that mistakes were made.
"This is something we all knew, and I'm glad he said it," McCartney said. "He was wrong.
"What I hope is that this is the first step in a shift of policy toward Iraq," he added.
"We have to find a way out. We have to find a way so that America is not seen as the cowboys of the world."
Star-Bulletin reporter B.J. Reyes contributed to this report.