Congressman Tim Bishop on Iraq

Tim Bishop, eastern Long Island's representative in Congress, says his initial support for the Iraq war and trust in President Bush was wrong.

Bishop spoke at the United Methodist Church in Sag Harbor on Sunday.

He said "The information provided to us was part fiction, part hyperbole, part 'cherry picked intelligence' but it did not add up that the threat of Sadaam was true."

Bishop is considering the merits of the Murtha resolution which calls for a quick withdrawal from Iraq but he is concerned about what it will mean for US security.

The meeting in Sag Harbor on Sunday was called by the The East End Vets, an organization of combat veterans who oppose the war. The group is collecting signatures on petitions urging the congressman to vote for the Murtha ammendment.

Bishop said initially he was convinced by the President that the war was justified. His subseqent votes for funding the war were based on wanting to give the troops what they needed to be safe.

Now, Bishop says, he agrees with opponents of the war that our presence there is
fueling the insurgency. He cited his votes for bills in the House which call for a timetable for a phased withdrawal of troops.

Although he voted for supplemental funding measures for the war he will not support additional funding unless it is accompanied by a detailed plan for withdrawal.

Members of the audience, vets and non vets, voiced concern about adopton of a 'phased withdrawal' which could drag on for years, leaving remaining troops in a vulnerable position.

Veteran Ed Stateman, referring to the late Senator Gene McCarthy as a man of courage called on Congressman Bishop to exhibit courage and to take a clear stand on bringing the troops home quickly.

Congressman Bishop will next come before the east end public on January 9 at a meeting at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton at 7pm. (Reservations are required. See Peace & Justice calendar for details).