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Lieberman Wants U.S. to Press Iraq

September 26, 2006|From the Hartford Courant

EAST HAMPTON, Conn. — Sen. Joe Lieberman said Monday that the U.S. should "get tough" with an Iraqi political leadership unable to function without American troops.

Lieberman (D-Conn.) lashed out at his main campaign rival, Democrat Ned Lamont, for suggesting that the U.S. should pressure the Iraqis by setting a deadline for withdrawing American troops.

"The truth is, Lamont's plan is not a plan for changing course; it is a plan for giving up in Iraq," Lieberman said.

But Lieberman, in a 38-minute speech before a supportive audience at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in eastern Connecticut, offered no specifics on how the U.S. might exhibit a tougher attitude or how the Iraqis might be pushed toward self-sufficiency.

Lamont, who upset Lieberman last month in the Democratic primary, suggested that the senator no longer had credibility on the war.

Lieberman is running as an independent.

"Joe Lieberman has been consistently wrong on the war in Iraq for 3 1/2 years, and here we are 3 1/2 years later and we've got a mess on our hands," Lamont said. "I think it's time for us to change course."

Lieberman drew the loudest applause of the speech when he repeated a call he first sounded in 2003 for the removal of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. New leadership could reinvigorate the military and allow a new dialogue at home and abroad, he said.

Lieberman referred only in passing to reports of an assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies in the National Intelligence Estimate that the war in Iraq had emboldened Islamic radicals, not made America safer.

Lieberman said he continued to believe the U.S. invasion of Iraq was justified.

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