GOP Congressman Calls for Apology To Bush Over Iraq Withdrawal

By John Celock

A Republican congressman in western Pennsylvania is saying that an apology should be given to former President George W. Bush and troops who had died in Iraq over the decision to withdraw American troops from the country.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.) used a debate Thursday with his Democratic challenger, Dan LaVallee, to say that the apology should be issued. Kelly’s remarks came during a question over whether President Barack Obama should commit American ground troops to the fight against ISIS in Syria. Kelly backs ground troops to fight ISIS while LaVallee said he is against ground troops, and would rather continue air strikes.

“We need to do an apology to President Bush and to those folks who paid the greatest price before,” Kelly “We pulled out early and we undid what we had strengthened. It is a terrible thing what we left that part of the world in.”

Kelly said that he opposes Obama’s decision to tell people that he will withdraw American troops from a country, saying that it is poor military strategy. He said going forward that “make no mistake about it, we’re in middle of a war.” He stressed that ISIS wants to see that there is “no more America.”

“I think the president’s strategy of withdrawing and telling an enemy we’ll be out of here at a certain time, that’s not the way you wage war,” Kelly said.

Kelly also said that he does not think the American public can “get weary” of continued military involvement in the Middle East, noting the country’s “role in the world.”

LaVallee, 26, said that he is opposed to ground troops being committed to the fight against ISIS, stressing instead continued air strikes and working with U.S. allies in the region including Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He noted that the troops who would be sent to Syria would be his contemporaries.

“I do not believe that at the current moment that there should be American boots on the ground,” LaVallee said. “They will be our sons and daughters. People my age over there.”

LaVallee said that the rebels in Syria have been doing a good job in combating ISIS but stressed the involvement of working with other countries in the Middle East.

“They have a vested interest,” LaVallee said of Turkey and Saudi Arabia. “They have skin in the game.”

The race between Kelly and LaVallee has remained competitive in Pennsylvania’s third district. LaVallee, who is seeking to become the youngest member of Congress in the country, has used his age to help promote his candidacy noting that he would bring a new perspective to Congress, while Kelly has stressed his experience in the race.