The surprising statement by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D.-Mo.) last week that U.S. involvement in Iraq is “squandering the lives of our bravest” and “squandering the future of our nation” came under sharp fire from both the White House and a congressional colleague of McCaskill from the Show-Me State.
Both White House spokeswoman Dana Perrino and Rep. Todd Akin (R.-Mo.) took exception to the harsh language of freshman Sen. McCaskill, who made her provocative remarks on the Senate floor July 12th, soon after the President’s nationally televised news conference focusing on the U.S. mission in Iraq.
“We are struck in a situation that is squandering the lives of our bravest,” McCaskill said, “And it is also squandering the future of our nation because of the financial toll it is taking on our budget.”
“I think I would point back to what the President has said and what Gen. David Petraeus has said,” replied Acting Press Secretary Perrino at the White House the following morning, “which is that if they did not believe there was a chance for us to be victorious, and for us to win in Iraq, for us to be able beat back the terrorists and to keep this country safe, they would not have one soldier over in Iraq. Or fighting elsewhere in the global war on terror.
“I think the President understands this is extracting a high price by our military and by their families. One of the things he did yesterday was to speak to them directly yesterday, thank them for their sacrifice, and I would believe that all MC would want to send that same message.”
McCaskill’s fellow Missourian Akin, who has two sons in the U.S. Marine Corps and a third at the U.S. Naval Academy, was much stronger in his response to the senator.
“Sen. McCaskill is fortunate there are brave Americans still willing to die for her right to hold impractical opinions,” Akin told me in a telephone interview from his district.
“She’s not going to win any awards for tact or diplomacy for her statement in the context of the families of the wounded or fallen heroes.”
Akin went on say what “continues to strike me is that the Democratic approach to terrorism is to ignore it. Going back to the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and the first attempt to attack the World Trade Center [in 1993], we ignored these and terrorism did not go away. The only thing we did was fire a cruise missile at an aspirin factor [under the Carter Administration in 1998].
"True patriots recognize the nature of this conflict,” he added, “This nation’s birth document says we are endowed by God with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Civil documents protect these rights. Terrorists make political statements by blowing people up,the polar opposite of patriotism; by using terror to compel people to do things they don’t want to do, the antithesis of liberty. They have a complete disregard for all we hold sacred.”
Akin’s son Perry is a Marine captain stationed at Camp Lejune, who has had two commands in the Middle East. Son Micah is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and now stationed at the Marine Corps training base at Quantico, Virginia. Another son Ezrah Akin is currently a junior at the U.S. Naval Academy teaching rifle shooting.