James Noland, the Republican challenger to longtime Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton, says Skelton's opposition to the president's Iraq policy is helping this nation's enemies.
For a snapshot of the two candidates' views:
Skelton, who voted for the war and relies on support from the district's two military installations, Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster and Fort Leonard Wood in Pulaski County, said it's time for Iraqi police and soldiers to take on greater responsibility for security, especially as the country devolves into sectarian violence.
"The Iraqis are going to have to shoulder this burden more and more and should not be able to rely on American forces indefinitely," Skelton said, adding that he would leave the manner and timing of the redeployment to the military. "(Iraqis) are the masters of their own destiny and we can't do it all for them."
Noland, however, said such criticism could help the enemy. While acknowledging his view of the war "is what I get from the media and Rush Limbaugh," Noland said the U.S. must remain in Iraq for as long as it takes to defeat the terrorists.
More important, he thinks Skelton's stance has alienated many of his supporters in the district, giving Noland a better chance this year.
“I think he's making a mistake on saying he wants to pull the troops out and throw in the towel,” Noland said. “I think that's a big mistake. There's a lot of veterans who aren't for that.”