Friday, October 20, 2006

Turner, Chema clash on Rumsfeld

Dayton Daily NewsBy Lynn Hulsey
Staff Writer
Friday, October 20, 2006
DAYTON — U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, acknowledged that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has made mistakes, but said he would not publicly call for Rumsfeld's resignation.

Turner was challenged to do so by Richard Chema, his Democratic opponent in the 3rd Congressional District, when the two appeared Thursday before the Dayton Daily News editorial board.

Turner said such public calls are inappropriate in wartime.

"Certainly the secretary of defense has made mistakes," said Turner, listing as examples the failure to send enough troops to Iraq to secure the country and the decision to purge Baathists from the Iraqi government.

Turner said he prefers to take his criticisms directly to Rumsfeld, but admitted he has no sense during those meetings that Rumsfeld acknowledges mistakes or heeds critics' advice.

Chema, who spent 12 years as a Navy officer and attorney and 12 years as a federal prosecutor, argued that Turner and his party need to be turned out of Congress for supporting failed Bush administration policies on Iraq, homeland security, world affairs and the economy.

"It's really important that we change direction," said Chema, an Oakwood resident. "On Nov. 8 George Bush will still be commander-in-chief. We have to cause him to change."

Chema said removing Rumsfeld is critical to altering the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also said there should be more attention given to true national security concerns.

Both men outlined their accomplishments.

Turner talked of his work promoting Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, helping keep the Veterans Health Administration nursing home open and keeping the Army from shipping VX nerve gas waste products here for final treatment and disposal.

Chema said his experience as prosecutor and military attorney gave him special expertise on Wright-Patterson, national security and law and order issues.

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