A day after the Iraq Study Group released their recommendations; politicians in Utah wasted no time conveying their take on the report. Not surprisingly most hailed the bipartisan efforts of the group, but stopped short of praising their actual plan for Iraq and America’s future in the conflict there. All five distinguished gentlemen from Utah plan to read the report in full, though it’s doubtful, given their statements today, that the entirety of the report will change any of their minds.
Sen. Orrin Hatch expressed admiration for the bipartisan efforts of the group in a written statement on his website, but made it clear in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune that he does not agree with the group’s plan to begin withdrawing troops by 2008 regardless of the heavily disputed concept of “victory.” “We can’t walk out of there losers,” he told The Tribune, “We’ve got to continue to fight this war and win and if we don’t we’re going to pay a tremendously difficult price.” Hatch disagreed with the group’s assessment of the situation in Iraq, “Let’s put it this way, some of it’s grave, some of it isn’t,” he told The Tribune.
Rep. Chris Cannon explained his unique take on the report this way, “As I read the report, it says the president is right,” he told The Tribune. “Basically, it says the president is a smart guy.” Despite that remark, Cannon perplexingly conceded that the current situation in Iraq is indeed “grave and deteriorating” as the report suggests.
Rep. Jim Matheson, who visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Wednesday was happy to see the Baker-Hamilton group forgo “politics as usual,” telling The Tribune, “That’s been lacking in the dialogue lately, particularly in this last election, all we talked about was stay the course or cut-and-run, they say reject stay-the-course and we reject cut-and-run, and here are some options.” Although Matheson maintained his longstanding opposition to setting a date for withdrawal, he too admitted that the situation in Iraq is as bad as described by the Study Group.