KINGSPORT - First District U.S. Rep. David Davis said Monday he'll support President Bush's anticipated veto of Democratic-backed congressional legislation setting conditions for a troop withdrawal from Iraq.
"I'm glad we have a president who doesn't read the polls and worry about where his popularity is at today," Davis, a Johnson City Republican, told a luncheon gathering of Greater Kingsport Republican Women. "I think he will see he has the votes with him to make sure that (legislation) doesn't move forward and they can come back with a clean bill."
The House and Senate both passed measures last month that would provide money to sustain military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but establish a timeline for withdrawing troops. The Senate bill would require a troop exit to begin within 120 days, with a nonbinding goal of March 31, 2008, for its completion. The House version mandated that nearly all combat troops pull out by Sept. 1, 2008.
One anti-war group called Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI) took Davis to task for voting against the House bill.
"Tennesseans need leaders who are willing to stand up to a presidential veto threat in order to make their voices heard," AAEI's Moira Mack wrote in an e-mailed release. "Instead, Tennessee Republicans are blindly following a president who is not facing the reality of the situation in Iraq."
Davis said the Democrat-supported bill is a recipe for failure.
"The worst thing I can imagine is being a young soldier over in Iraq, riding around in a Humvee and knowing this is the last week of the mission because the United States Congress voted to fail next week," he told Republicans. "We had politicians trying to run the war in Vietnam, and what was the outcome? ... The outcomes are typically not good."
Davis spoke highly of Bush.
"I'm glad we have a president like President Bush who has a conviction. ... This is a man who I am convinced goes to bed every night thinking about protecting American citizens. I think he is a man who gets up every morning thinking about protecting American citizens, be it our men and women in uniform over there or you and me here in our homeland," Davis said.
Davis also reiterated a position that the war in Iraq is part of the greater global War on Terror he believes has been going on long before the terrorist attacks in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I hear people around the district (say) â€˜Well they've been fighting over there for hundreds of thousands of years' and then they stop and think â€˜As long as they were fighting over there, we didn't much care,'" Davis said. "I think Americans were OK with that. It was their land. So when they decided to start bringing their hatred overseas, it was the difference. ... (Bush) could pull the troops out this week, and we're still going to have a group of people, Islamic extremists who hate us and hate our freedoms, so much so that they will kill us. ... If we pull out of Iraq, that doesn't change."
For more about Davis go to www.daviddavis.house.gov.