LA Times (reg. req'd.) Aligning himself with congressional Democrats in the debate on the Iraq war, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reiterated Sunday that the U.S. needs to set clear timelines for bringing troops home, lest Iraq devolve into a quagmire with no end in sight.
[..]"We should let the Iraqis know that we are here until this time. And then we're going to draw back," Schwarzenegger said. "We're going to draw our troops out of Iraq. I think a timeline is absolutely important because I think that the people in America don't want to see another Korean War, another Vietnam War, where it's an open-ended thing."
[..]In Washington on Sunday for an annual meeting of the nation's governors, Schwarzenegger staked out a position at odds with that of his party's leader, President Bush, who at a news conference Feb. 14 said "the operation to secure Baghdad is going to take time."
At the annual meeting, governors, Republican and Democrat alike, warned Bush that his planned escalation may be a problem for the states:
"We the governors rely on the Guard to respond to natural disasters, a pandemic or terrorist attack," said North Carolina Gov. Michael F. Easley, a Democrat. "Currently, we don't have the manpower or the equipment to perform that dual role" of responding to both state and federal needs.
[..]Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, said the federal government must follow through on its pledge to replace equipment taken by Guard troops to Iraq.
"Those promises need to be kept," Pawlenty said. "We'll be able to test that, because we have a significant number coming back this summer. We'll be able to see if the equipment comes back."
The governors' willingness to challenge the buildup reflects overall impatience with Washington, which has inspired a slew of state initiatives to tackle such issues as global warming, energy efficiency and healthcare.