Betts' resolution on Iraq gets hearing

BY JIM SULLINGER AND DAVID KLEPPER Wichita Eagle February 2, 2007 TOPEKA - A Wichita Democrat's resolution critical of President Bush's Iraq troop surge came up Thursday before a committee of the Kansas Senate. Sitting in a wheelchair, former Army Spc. Tomas Young of Kansas City told a Senate panel that Bush needs to get the permission of Congress before deploying 21,000 more troops to Iraq. A resolution urging the president to do just that was introduced last month by Sen. Donald Betts, D-Wichita. Young, 27, testified at a hearing on the resolution before the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee. The truck Young was riding in was ambushed in Sadr City, a Baghdad slum, in 2004 and he was severely wounded, paralyzed from the chest down. He said almost all of the 24 soldiers in the back of the open truck were wounded. "It was like shooting fish in a barrel," he said of the insurgent attack. No one spoke at the hearing against the resolution and no comments were offered by committee members when Young finished. It did prompt a response later from the state's new GOP chairman, Kris Kobach, who said Betts and other senators should focus on issues the state has some control over. "Not only does Senator Betts want to deny our soldiers the reinforcements they need, he evidently thinks the Kansas Senate should be determining U.S. military policy," Kobach said. Betts said it is doubtful that his resolution will advance further than Thursday's hearing. It is a tough political issue that most state lawmakers would rather leave to members of Congress.