Terrorists are ‘running out of people to kill,’ says Obey
If violence is decreasing in Iraq, it may be because insurgents “are running out of people to kill,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said Monday.This war would have been over years ago if Bush supporters actually had to pay for it.
“There are fewer targets of opportunity,” Obey said in a speech to the National Press Club.
Obey was responding to a question about reports touted by Republicans that security is improving in Iraq and that President Bush’s “surge” strategy is working. He stressed that military success has not led to political reconciliation.
“The issue has never been military,” Obey said. “The issue has always been political improvement.”
As the House’s top appropriator, Obey has his hands on the nation’s purse strings, giving him a significant say on the war in Iraq.
In his speech Monday, he stuck by his pledge not to approve any more money for the war until President Bush changes course on Iraq. He also offered a spirited defense of a new surtax to pay for the Iraq war, admitting that he knew it wouldn’t pass when he offered his support for the plan. But he said it highlighted the fact that Bush has loaded the cost of the war onto the national debt while pushing tax cuts tilted to the wealthy.
The surtax plan, which is backed by Reps. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and James McGovern (D-Mass.), would raise $150 billion a year for the war.
“That may not be a popular thing to do, but it’s a hell of a lot more responsible than sending the bill to your kids,” Obey said.
Obey is the point man among House Democrats on the looming spending battle with Bush, which Obey called a “manufactured controversy” and an “unnecessary diversion.” President Bush has threatened to veto any bills that exceed his requested spending levels, which together are $22 billion less than what Democrats have proposed.
He also accused President Bush, his allies and his aides of hypocrisy and an unwillingness to negotiate that is immature.