CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., believes the United States should get out of the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as soon as possible.
During a visit to the Gazette on Tuesday, Rockefeller also criticized the way military appropriations are often approved as part of "supplementary" budget legislation, hiding them from the public.
"The military budget needs to come under new scrutiny. When I voted for the Iraq War, it was one of the worst votes in my life," Rockefeller said.
"Today, I have grave misgivings about being in Iraq for another week. We should be out of Iraq this year altogether," he said. "We are not going to win. It is not in the cards. Many Asian countries have a totally tribal culture.
"It is the same thing in Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen," Rockefeller said.
"I didn't object to four days of bombing in Libya. But now the CIA is on the ground. That makes me nervous. I don't have any patience with the Libyan endeavor," Rockefeller said.
"Libya makes no sense to me. I don't think we should be there at all. We should get out of there and we should get out of Afghanistan. We can't win there. We can't change the country....
"Do you want three failed wars in a row? I don't want to be in those places. And it has a great deal to do with the [federal] budget."
Rockefeller also believes information provided to justify military interventions is often inaccurate.
"As a member of our [Senate] Intelligence Committee, we can investigate the skullduggery and the manipulation of information that is classified."
But Rockefeller vigorously supports doing everything possible to protect our troops stationed in all those countries.
"My nephew has just gone over to Afghanistan, as a Marine. I don't want to do anything to hurt him or other soldiers."
The federal budget deficit, Rockefeller said, has now reached a "stunning magnitude."
Rockefeller specifically criticized George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy and current budget proposals from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who became chairman of the House Budget Committee in January.
"We have to come to grips with the fact that this [Bush's tax cut legislation] was a terrible idea. It is so unfair. The Ryan budget is foolish and cruel," Rockefeller said. "We are in a very perilous period."
Rockefeller said the Senate Commerce Committee, which he chairs, will also focus on preserving manufacturing jobs this year.