WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Breaking ranks with the White House and his Republican leaders in Congress, Rep. Doug Bereuter of Nebraska has said in a letter to constituents the U.S. military action in Iraq was a mistake.
The Iraq war was a "costly mess" with no quick way out, wrote Bereuter, vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a senior member of the House International Relations Committee.
"I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action especially without a broad and engaged international coalition," he said in the letter dated Aug. 6.
Republican leaders in Congress have supported President Bush's decision to invade Iraq on grounds that it had weapons of mass destruction that posed a danger to the United States. No stockpiles of such weapons have been found.
But Bereuter, who has resigned his seat in the House of Representatives to become president of the Asia Foundation, expressed dismay over the decision to go to war.
"The cost in casualties is already large and growing, and the immediate and long-term financial costs are incredible," he wrote, reflecting on his 2002 vote in favor of a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
"Our country's reputation around the world has never been lower and our alliances are weakened," he added.
"Now we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess and there is no easy and quick way to end our responsibilities in Iraq without creating bigger future problems in the region and, in general, in the Muslim world."
The White House had no comment on the letter.