MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Ford Bell

On Monday morning, I spoke with Ford Bell, one of of two leading contenders for the Democratic senatorial nomination in the Minnesota (the other being Amy Klobuchar, with whom we spoke a couple of weeks ago -- read the interview here or listen to it here [a 15.1 megabyte .mp3 file]).

On the day before party caucuses, Ford, who is still very much in the race despite my mistake on a post last week, and I spoke about a number of topics, including Iraq, healthcare, and Social Security. You can listen to the interview here (warning: a 15.7 megabyte mp3) or read the rush transcript below.

Jonathan Singer: What's the most important issue this year?

Ford Bell: Well, if I had to pick the most important issue, it would be the war.

Singer: And why would you pick the war?

Bell: This was a war we were misled into. We were misled. We never should have gotten into this. This had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. This has nothing to do with our security. We have legitimate security interests to protect our country from terrorism, and it wasn't Iraq that attacked us. This was one man's war. This was Bush's determination to go after Saddam Hussein.

First we were misled. Then this war was unbelievably badly planned. There was no civil plan ready to go the moment they achieved the fall of the government. If there had been a full civil plan, if the State Department had been allowed to develop that, we wouldn't have had the looting, which was the beginning of the cycle of violence, including, of course, the looting of the munitions dumps, which armed the insurgents with weapons that are still being used against us.

Now almost 2,300 brave young Americans have lost their lives and thousands more have been maimed for life in ways that we've never seem before. I mean we've had to create a new terminology in this war, politrauma. Here in Minneapolis, our V.A. hospital is one of six politrauma centers across the country. As a veteran said to me on the phone the other day, "You know, you can lose a leg or an arm and live a very happy life, but if you're brain is scrambled, your prospects are very limited." And too many of these young men and women have horrible neurologic injuries, in addition to the orthopedic and soft tissue injuries.

And nobody is counting how many Iraqis have died. Best estimates are it's over 100,000. And we've spent $300 billion, and what do we have? The Iraqis don't have continuous access to fresh water. They don't have continuous access to electrical power. Their medical infrastructure is not functioning. They don't have the security to go to their jobs. Unemployment is way over 30 percent. We were going to finance this war, as you remember, out of oil revenues, and the oil industry in Iraq isn't operating anywhere near its prewar levels. And on top of that, we haven't been able to achieve a government that's going to be stable going forward.

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Oberstar Endorses Lourey for Governor

As this is my first diary, I do not know how to correctly place the following in a quote box. All text within quotes comes from duluthnewstribune.com; all text afterwards is completely original.

From duluthnewstribune.com:

"U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., endorsed state Sen. Becky Lourey today in her race for the Minnesota governor's office.
Lourey, of Kerrick, is in a five-way race to be the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate to challenge Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in November.
"Becky Lourey personifies personal integrity, commitment to service in the public interest, lives her beliefs, and has the energy and enthusiasm for success," Oberstar said in a prepared statement.
Oberstar made his endorsement during a press conference at the city library in Wyoming, Minn."

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MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Klobuchar

On Wednesday afternoon, I had the chance to speak over the telephone with Hennepin County District Attorny Amy Klobuchar, the presumptive Democratic Senate nominee in the great state of Minnesota.

Klobuchar and I covered a range of interviews during our conversation, including the situation in Iraq, GOP corruption, US port security and the United Arab Emirates, local Minnesota issues, and why the progressive blogosphere should get involved in the campaign. You can listen to the interview here (warning: a 15.1 megabyte mp3) or read the rush transcript below.

Jonathan Singer: I don't know if you saw, but the news out of Iraq today does not inspire much optimism, with the AP raising the specter of an outright civil war in the country. Is there anything America can do to help remedy the situation?

Amy Klobuchar: I opposed this war in the first place. The administration went into this war without a plan and without the help of other countries to the extent that we have seen in other wars. We sort of had a go it alone philosophy. Sadly, it just keeps going on and on and on. You just pray for our troops and that we will see success there.

But the bottom line is, I think we - as the events of today bear out - that we need a significant change of course so that we can send a message to the people of Iraq that we're not going to be staying there indefinitely, that we do bring some of our troops home, and that we transition to them, because, so far, sadly, as much as our troops are doing everything they can and as brave as they can, when we went into this war in false pretences - which I think Colin Powell called a blot on his career - and the administration has been spending so much of their time sort of spinning the war and explaining it and getting involved in legal entanglements. This is not the direction we should be going.

The other thing that bothers me about this is that it took us away from other pressing crises, in terms of Iran, North Korea and some of these other countries and potential high risks, in terms of weapons of mass destruction, where we should have been putting our resources.

We've now spent over $300 billion, over 2,000 Americans have been killed, countless Iraqis. We have to hold the people accountable that brought us to the place that we are.

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