Petition Calls for Iraq Exit Strategy, Timeline - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/14/05

Petition Calls for Iraq Exit Strategy, Timeline

The Third Infantry Division is providing much of the security for tomorrow's election in Iraq. They're on the streets, keeping the peace in the last few hours before voters hit the polls.

They're scheduled to come home early next year. But when will all our troops be home for good? Some of US Congressman John Barrow's constituents delivered a petition to his office with hundreds of signatures addressing that topic.

The petition is to urge support of an exit strategy which includes an exact timeline to bring troops home. But not everybody agrees that's a good idea.

"We support the troops," said Barrow constituent Ed Fahey. "That's what we're looking out for, that's the priority: get the troops home. They should be home this Christmas with their families, but that's not going to happen."

The petition, with more than 600 names, urges Congressman Barrow (D-GA Dist. 12) to support an exit strategy to bring all military troops home by the end of next year.

"We feel that no weapons of mass destruction have been found, Saddam Hussein has been arrested and put on trial, they're having elections tomorrow," said Fahey. "A recent poll indicates two-thirds of the Iraqi people don't even want us over there and instead of being a help we're being a hindrance."

Barrow's spokesman Harper Lawson says the congressman does not support an immediate withdrawal of troops nor a timeline. But he does say that benchmarks should be made for training Iraqi forces so they can eventually defend and govern their own country.

But many of Barrow's constituents feel Iraq is ready to take care of itself now. "There's a lot of potential countries in the world that have internal problems, but we can't be nation builders," said Fahey. "The president ran on that campaign platform, to not be nation builders, and that's what we're getting into and it just causes problems."

We also spoke with US Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA Dist. 1) on this issue. He just returned from Iraq along with Congressman Barrow. Both are in agreement, saying an immediate withdrawal of troops would undermine all the progress our military has made.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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