Three local journalist types made it to the Burlington Airport Sunday afternoon to catch U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy and his better half (wife Marcelle Leahy) coming home from Washington. That's Matt Gerien from Ch. 5 looking skeptical and Andy Potter, in the middle, from Ch. 3 [would you believe me and Andy were the "news team" at "Country Giant" 1390 WDOT in the mid-1980s?).
Can't cross the path of one of those Washingtonians and not ask 'em about the war crime that will forever be known as the Bush-Cheney invasion, overthrow and attempted occupation in Iraq.
LEAHY: I was one of those who voted against the war in Iraq. I thought it was a terrible mistake then. I think it’s a terrible mistake now. But unless we start putting some conditions on, we’re going to be there forever.
The President has made it very clear he does not want to do the difficult decisions in Iraq. He wants to pass it on to whoever the next president is. I think that’s a prescription for real problems and I think we should start figuring out how to get out of there now. Otherwise the Iraqi government is going to sit there and twiddle their thumbs. They’re never going to make the hard decisions that have to be made to bring Sunni and Shiites together and the rest of the area.
Press: Anything new on the passport issue?
LEAHY: I got a very good suggestion at the hearing I had in Newport, Vermont and that was maybe we should be talking not just to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, but how about the Secretary of Commerce because of the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of jobs that are going to be lost if this cockamamie idea goes through. And I’ve begun those discussions. I think it’s a very good idea.
Look at the business cost, especially since the American dollar has slipped so badly that this is a great place for Canadians to come and spend money. It just makes no sense to be sending them away.
If you’re a terrorist and you want to get through, no matter how many passport controls you put on the border, there’s plenty of places to get through.
And remember, the 9/11 Hijackers were here legally. In fact, the Administration had such poor controls that a least a couple of them, months after they died in 9/11, the Administration was sending them notices to renew their visas.
Press: Anything you’d point out to the people of Vermont we should be thankful for on Capitol Hill?