He said he found a "noticeable lack of political will" among Iraqis "to move in what I would call a timely fashion" and and concluded that Iraqi officials would act with greater urgency if the United States this fall set a timetable for withdrawal.
"My view is that it may be that the only way we are able to encourage some political will on the part of Iraqis is to have a timeline for troop withdrawal. A timeline of when the bulk of heavy lifting is in the hands of the Iraqis."Shays also had some scathing criticism for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld noting "I haven't had faith in the secretary in a long time."
Critics have suggested that Shays' sudden change of heart (he has previously supported the war) is just election year posturing.
Shays is facing a tough challenge from an antiwar opponent in a state that has become a center of opposition to the war. "Americans have known for a long time that Iraq was a mess, and the only thing that changed is proximity to Election Day," said Bill Burton, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.Diane Farrell, Shays's Democratic challenger, said: "I think it is unfortunate it took him 14 trips and three years to recognize that Iraq has been in a constant state of turmoil since the day that Baghdad fell."
Whatever his reasons, it's good to see some members of the Republican party acknowledging that Iraq is a mess. Too bad over 2,600 American GI's had to die before the message finally began to sink in.