May 03 2007

Shelby: Soldiers need chance to succeed in Iraq

Anniston Star

By Bill Edwards

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby said Wednesday that he voted against the Iraq spending bill favored by Democrats for the same reason President Bush vetoed it - because "it ties funding to an arbitrary date" for beginning troop withdrawals from Iraq. "We should give our troops every opportunity to succeed," Shelby said. "These are crucial months."

He suggested Thanksgiving as a point when the mission should be re-evaluated.

"There's got to be a lot of progress made by our troops and by the Iraqi government by Thanksgiving. If not, we should reassess where we are."

The senator said the war can't be an open-ended effort because it costs lives and drains the budget. He added that the cost of the conflict isn't affecting his opinion of the situation, however.

Stabilization, as opposed to fundamental change, seems to be the best that U.S. can hope for, Shelby said: "I think we were probably too optimistic on spreading democracy to a part of the world that's never embraced it," he said. "I don't think we can impose it on people."