With experienced eyes and furrowed brows, former congress members Orval Hansen and Jan Meyers shared wit and wisdom with students last Monday.
Through the Congress to Campus program, Hansen (R. – Idaho) and Meyers (R. – Kan.) spoke with students about their time in office and current hot-button issues. From No Child Left Behind to the war in Iraq, very few stones were left unturned.
“The most American thing about this country is the way we fight and change,” said Meyers, who was happy to see college-age students engaging in discussion about national politics.
When the topic of Iraq was discussed, these seemingly partisan individuals showed differences that most would not have foreseen. While Meyers was not against the initial move, Hansen was one of the few republicans against the invasion, and believes we have gotten in some-what over our heads.
“We don’t have the man power,” said Hansen. “This was so predictable when we went in.”
Meyers was much in agreement with Hansen, saying that with the troop situation as it is, she felt that we are dreadfully overcommitted.
“Now we are there, and we have to proceed in a way that will minimize the dislocation and instability that will affect that part of the world,” said Hansen. “The stakes are very high.”
Meyers in particular felt there was a great burden lain upon the reserve troops that are being called on. While they had originally signed a year commitment to the armed forces, she was amazed by the sacrifice many have made with a second and even third tour of the Iraqi battle front. Also, while it may not be in the form of a combatant basis, Meyers believed we will have a presence in Iraq for many years to come.
For a final solution to ultimately removing ourselves from Iraq, both former congress members said a hasty pull-out would be a bad idea.
“It won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick,” said Meyers.
Meyers served in the Kansas Senate from 1972 to 1984 and served the state’s third district from 1985 to 1997. Hansen served four terms in the Idaho House of Representatives and served Idaho as a congressional representative from 1968 to 1975.