INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Senate candidate Claire McCaskill called Monday for moving U.S. troops from Iraq to neighboring Middle East countries within the next two years.
The Democrat said U.S. soldiers' presence is a crutch to interim Iraqi leaders and may be slowing democratic growth. She said redeploying troops elsewhere would ensure longer-term American security and the stabilization of Iraq.
"We've got a real problem now because of the tunnel vision. We've got a real problem with Iran; we have emerging problems with Afghanistan," she told reporters after a speech on national security in Independence Square. "We've got to have a wider view than just Iraq or, in the long run, our nation's going to be in jeopardy."
McCaskill will likely face Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Talent in the November election. She is serving a second term as state auditor after losing the 2004 gubernatorial race to Republican Matt Blunt.
Rich Chrismer, a spokesman for Talent, noted that McCaskill's troop redeployment plan mirrors comments previously made by the Democratic National Committee's chairman.
"Howard Dean already unveiled this plan," Chrismer said, "so reading her comments was like deja vu."
McCaskill used her appearance in Harry S. Truman's hometown -- in front of a courthouse where he served as a county judge -- to call for the creation of a Senate committee like the one the former president once headed that investigated war profiteering.
"We need more accountability," McCaskill said, while standing in front of a statue of Truman on what would have been the president's 122nd birthday.
Missouri Republican Party spokesman Paul Sloca said McCaskill's weaknesses on national security issues contrast sharply with those of Truman.
"It's offensive that Claire McCaskill would try and invoke Harry S. Truman's legacy to try and cover up her dangerous positions supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants and opposing terrorist surveillance."
McCaskill said Monday she had concerns about the legality of domestic surveillance conducted by the Bush administration but that laws should be changed to allow the president to adequately protect Americans.
"We should give the president all the tools he needs in the law to listen to and to capture and to go after terrorists," she said.