IA GOP Senate Candidate Says U.S. Troops Should Have Stayed In Iraq Longer
August 10, 2014

One of the biggest races to watch this election cycle is Iowa U.S. Senate race between Rep. Bruce Braley (D. IA) and State Senator Joni Ernst (R. IA). Polls have showed this to be a tight race due to Braley's "farmer" gaffe and the whole chicken neighbor story. But Ernst's extreme positions including support for privatizing Social Security and opposing raising the minimum wage are also making this a tight race. But if there's one thing that should make you nervous about Ernst possibly becoming the next U.S. Senator from Iowa, it's remarks like this from her recent interview with ABC News:

In response to a question about how fighting with Islamic militants affected her thinking Ernst said "What we see going on in Iraq right now — If this current administration had followed guidance from military leaders many years ago, we would not be in this situation."

Then, when asked whether she supports airstrikes that U.S. forces have been conducting, Ernst said if U.S. troops had remained in Iraq longer this wouldn't be the current situation.

"I can say is—What I would have supported is leaving additional troops in Iraq longer, and perhaps we wouldn’t have this situation today," Ernst said.

This is not the first time Ernst has made such outlandish remarks about Iraq:

Joni Ernst, an Iowa state senator running for the GOP nomination for U.S. senator, delivered a remarkable line in an interview with the Des Moines Register. Said Ernst: “I do have reason to believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

It’s a rewriting of history that demands a new definition of the word “audacious.” Here is one of the most famous misstatements – decide on your own if you believe it was misinformation or an out-and-out lie – made in recent presidential history. In the eerie glow of fear in the years after 9/11, the George W. Bush administration was able to convince Congress and the American people, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was ready to use them against the United States. No proof was produced – nothing solid, anyway. It was the sort of innocuous “evidence,” shown privately to members of Congress, that was very much in the eye of the beholder. If you really wanted to believe the photos showed WMD, well, then, they did.

Many millions, billions of dollars later, many deaths – American and Iraqi – later, there were still no weapons of mass destruction. Nothing was found, and it wasn’t because no one was looking. The Bush administration, prosecuting a war that was beginning to be pretty unpopular, was desperate to prove it had done the right thing by invading a sovereign, if deeply troubled and repressive, nation. Nada.

Ernst, however, talked to the editorial board as if she was one of the few who new the real story. Ernst is a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to her bio, her unit ran convoys from Kuwait into southern Iraq. That's an important mission, during any kind of war, but it’s not like she was on the search-and-recover team for WMD. She won’t say how she knows, or exactly what she knows – just that the intelligence under which they were operating was based on the idea Saddam Hussein had WMD. Well, of course it was. That was the entire basis for the debacle of a war. What else would officers in country be told?

Scary shit, right? Now FiveThirtyEight recently stated that the odds still favor Braley but in a midterm election, it's all about turnout. Braley's had his gaffes but because he ran unopposed in the primary whereas Ernst ran against three other Republicans in an expensive primary, Braley has a head start in terms of fundraising and campaigning. If you'd like to follow more of my election coverage, you can read more here.

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