Posted on March 05, 2010 in Viewpoint with James Zogby
Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), 6th term member of Congress, member of House Committee on Science and Technology, Transportation and Infrastructure, spoke about the current status of the health care debate here in Washington, and the current humanitarian conditions in Gaza. “If we don’t get it [a health care bill passed] in a couple weeks, we won’t get it at all”, said Baird. “I would not try to pass the very, very large package. I would go to very basic things that I think we can get broad bipartisan agreement.” Congressman Baird also discussed his two-day visit to the Gaza strip, and reported on the ongoing humanitarian crisis. During his trip to Gaza, Congressman Baird visited schools and said that the lack of outlook for the future among kids is one of his biggest concerns. Baird said in Gaza he encountered “Wonderful, bright-faced, hopeful kids who ought to have every opportunity in the world.”
Dereck Hogan, Senior Advisor for Governance and Civilian-Military Coordination to U.S. special Ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, discussed the battle of Marja, the largest military operation in Afghanistan since 2001. Hogan explained the specifics of the operation, and military strategy to eradicate more poppy fields and Taliban strong holds in a total of 80 districts. “It [military strategy] provides for an adequate resource in terms of financial resources and a way to actually get the resources, not just in Kabul but down to the field”, said Hogan.
Karim Sadjadpour, Associate in the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, spoke about Iran. Sadjadpour discussed Iranian nuclear ambition and addressed Iranian claims that their nuclear program is peaceful and not intended for military application. Sadjadpour weighed in on President Obama’s policy of re-engagement, and stated that his rhetoric in talking about Iran suggests he is willing to “ turn the page after 30 years of animosity.” However, Sadjadpour suggested that this notion has not been reciprocated by the Iranians.