Senator Visits Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/05/05

Senator Visits Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

Sen. DeMint, left, shakes a Marine's hand. Sen. DeMint, left, shakes a Marine's hand.

The war in Iraq continues, but for how long? That's the question many are asking. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) spent the morning touring Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and talking with Marines about this very subject.

"I just wanted to be here to tell the troops that we are proud of what they're doing," Sen. DeMint told us. "We know what they're doing is important, and we're not going to leave Iraq or anywhere else unless we're done."

Although DeMint says the troops are making progress in Iraq, he isn't ready to put the war in Iraq on any timeline.

"The president has been clear since the beginning," he said. "We are not going to leave Iraq until the Iraqi people can sustain their own freedom, can protect themselves, can police themselves. I think we're getting closer to that now, but we need to show terrorists we're not going to leave."

"We know how close he is to the decision makers, the key leaders in DC, which have an awful lot to do with what we do and we try to execute the mission," said Col. Robert Walsh. "We don't set policy. It's great to see policymakers here, spending some time with young Marines and sailors."

And this was a chance for many Marines to ask the senator questions from the war in Iraq to changes on the military bases. And with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort surviving the last round of base realignment and closure, Sen. DeMint is optimistic there could be good news for the future of the base.

"You probably will see additional missions locate here, because it's been such an indispensable resource in the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places," he said.

Sen. DeMint says he was recently with the president talking with him about the war in Iraq, and says all this talk of pulling out needs to stop because it's giving terrorists the wrong message.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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