by Nick Welsh
Lois Capps, Santa Barbara’s Democratic congressmember, dismissed as “a disgrace” the first debate allowed by the Republican-controlled House majority since the war in Iraq started three years ago. Capps voted against a Republican resolution rejecting a set timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, echoing charges leveled by many Democrats that the maneuver was an election year ploy hatched by Republicans to force Democrats into one of two black-or-white positions rather than engage in actual debate and discussion. Speaking from the floor, Capps noted that 2,500 American servicemembers had been killed, 18,000 wounded, and $320 billion spent on a war that has made the United States more vulnerable to terrorist attack rather than safer. She faulted supporters of the war for linking it to the 9/11 attack, insisting there was and is no evidence connecting the two events. “I am pleased that al-Zarqawi is dead,” she said. “But his death does not change the fact that Iraq has become a haven for terrorists and the war is the best recruitment tool we could have handed our enemies.” In her remarks, Capps chided House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, for not allowing debate on the war in Iraq during the three years since it was first declared, adding, “The American people will not be fooled. They recognize that one day of debate on a cynical, politically motivated resolution is no substitute for a thoughtful Iraq policy.” Capps, who opposed the war in Iraq from its inception and has voted against all but one war funding bill, supports a strategic withdrawal of American troops from the embattled country.