Lunch With the Congressman

Last week I had a chance to have lunch with Congressman Collin Peterson, a Democrat who serves Minnesota's 7th District.

Peterson is a so-called "Blue Dog Democrat" — meaning he's a conservative Democrat. Some think Peterson is almost more Republican than Democrat.

Anyway, over hot beef sandwiches at the Scandia Diner in downtown Karlstad, Minnesota, population 800, I had a chance to drill Peterson with a number of questions about current events.

I should say, for the sake of disclosure, that I have voted for Peterson every time he has run and won his seat since the late 1980s. Still, I found a lot of his views disturbing, especially those pertaining to the war in Iraq.

Peterson seems to favor a "stay the course" strategy — saying in effect that now that we are in Iraq, we have to stay there. He acknowledged that we are building permanent military bases there — and a gigantic $700 million embassy — meaning we are in Iraq "forever."

I think he is wrong. I agree with others, such as Congressman John Murtha, that we should pull out our forces now, that we cannot "win" in Iraq, and the longer we stay there, the worse things are going to get. I hope Congressman Peterson will think more deeply about this horrible mistake the U.S. has made in Iraq, and vote to bring our troops home ASAP.

As a self-described fiscal conservative, I think Peterson should explain how we can continue to fund the war — $1 to $2 billion every week — while our national debt is soring toward the $9 trillion mark. Blood and money — Iraq is a black hole we need to back away from.

Congressman Peterson: Pulling out of Iraq now will not make America weaker, it will make America stronger. Help get us out now!

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