Abercrombie assails 'crazy' Bush plan
WASHINGTON » U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie had some of the harshest comments of the day as he questioned Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Gen. Peter Pace, commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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.
Abercrombie, D-Urban Honolulu, said during a House hearing today that the president's plan to put an extra 21,500 U.S. troops in Iraq was "the craziest, dumbest plan I have ever seen or heard of in my life.
"You are proposing a mixture of national police, national army and U.S. military to operate out of neighborhood police stations to go into neighborhoods and apprehend criminals and to begin to clear and build.
"And you have not the slightest idea of how many days, weeks or months this is going to take," Abercrombie said in a packed Armed Services committee hearing room.
"What on earth leads you, or the President to believe this will work anywhere in the world?" Abercrombie asked.
"There is no way to indicate who is in charge or what action they are to take," he continued.
"I understand your concerns, sir," Pace responded.
He said that the plan was worked out with coordination between the U.S. commanders in Baghdad and Iraqi army officials.
Abercrombie then asked Gates if the United States had an exit strategy for the war in Iraq.
Gates replied that "as the level of violence in Iraq goes down and the Iraqis gain or restore control in Baghdad, the presence of the United States would diminish."
Abercrombie asked what would happen if the Iraqis failed to gain control.
Gates said, "at the outset of the strategy, it is a mistake to talk about an exit strategy."