Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) on “This Week” elaborated on remarks he made earlier on the Senate floor, where he called the Iraq war “absurd” and possibly even “criminal.” Asked what had brought about his change of heart, Smith replied: “Waking up the other morning and turning on the news and hearing that yet another 10 of our soldiers died the same way that several thousand have … and I went from steamed to boiled.”

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  • Partial Transcript (from ABC via Crooks and Liars):

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: … A stunning change of heart in the Senate. Senators Gordon Smith and Joe Biden join us live.

    SMITH: Waking up the other morning and turning on the news and hearing that yet another 10 of our soldiers died the same way that several thousand have ….

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Wednesday.

    SMITH: Wednesday — through roadside bombs. And I went from steamed to boiled. And I felt I had to speak out, because if we’re going to be there, let’s win. If we’re not, let’s at least fight the war on terror in a way that makes sense.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: You said in that speech the current policy may be criminal.

    SMITH: I said it — you can use any adjective you want, George, but I have long believed, in a military context, when you do the same thing over and over again without a clear strategy for victory at the expense of your young people in arms, that is dereliction, that is deeply immoral.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet, you also say the Baker commission report is a recipe for retreat. So what are you for?

    SMITH: I am for fighting the war on terror against jihadists. When you get to being policeman in a sectarian civil war, that is not what the American people enlisted for. That’s not what I voted for.

    I voted for toppling a chief terrorist and tyrant, ridding him of weapons of mass destruction, but not for being target practice in the middle of a sectarian strife that we see, where hundreds of bodies a day are pulled out of the Tigris River — Sunnis and Shias who are butchering each other, really, over the question of who has the rightful successor to Mohammed.

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