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McKeon: 'I want the victory'

• Congressman from SCHV responds to Petraeus' war report.

Posted: April 10, 2008 1:16 a.m.
Updated: June 11, 2008 5:04 a.m.
On the heels of two days of testimony by America's top general in Iraq, U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon stood behind the war effort Wednesday.

"As we enter the fifth year of the war ... it's important to remind the American people what we're fighting for," McKeon, R-Calif., said during a conference call with several reporters. "The results produced by the surge are important and impressive."

Gen. David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, spent Tuesday and Wednesday at the Pentagon updating the House Armed Services Committee on the situation in Iraq.

Petraeus wants the U.S. to complete, by the end of July, the withdrawal of the 20,000 troops who were sent to Iraq last year in "the surge" to deal with the violence there. Beyond that, the general proposed a 45-day evaluation period, to be followed by an indefinite period of assessment before he would recommend any further pullouts.

McKeon said Wednesday that if there is a too-rapid pullout of troops, the U.S. would risk a violent flare-up, requiring another surge of troops.

Asked how he defines success in Iraq, McKeon said it would mean Iraqis could go back to "day-to-day activities" with a relative feeling of safety.

"That would be very good success," he said.

McKeon said that no matter how long it takes, the war in Iraq is worth it.

"I understand the price that's being paid, both in human lives and in human sacrifice," he said. "It's worth the price."

At the start of the teleconference, McKeon referenced a statement by Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader said: "The world's millstone and pillar is in Baghdad ... (and) the whole world is watching. It is either victory and glory, or misery and humiliation."

McKeon closed by saying that he wants the victory.

"It's a worldwide jihad," he said, "and we're better off fighting it there than here."


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