"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Skelton Earns Respect of Military, Republicans

December 5th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

By Daniel W. Reilly (photo credit John Shinkle)

A self-described small-town “country lawyer,” Rep. Ike Skelton suddenly had the case of a lifetime last September.

On trial was the conduct of the Iraq war, and as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the Missouri Democrat had the first crack at the two star witnesses: Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

“The witnesses must tell us why we should continue sending our young men and women to fight and die if the Iraqis won’t make the tough sacrifices leading to reconciliation,” Skelton said as he opened a joint congressional committee hearing.

“Why should we in Congress expect the next six months to be any different than it has been in the past?” he asked of Crocker. “Are we merely beating a dead horse?”

The cross-examination was classic Skelton. He grilled the two men over the conduct of the war while carefully praising their “professionalism” and calling Petraeus “the right man for the job.”

Since taking control of the committee in January, Skelton, who declined an interview to discuss his committee work, has remained fiercely pro-military while taking President Bush to task for the conduct of the war and pushing for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Read more…

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