Iraq veteran announces candidacy for Congress

Broadsheet hearts Tammy Duckworth.

Published December 19, 2005 2:44PM (EST)

Yesterday, 37-year-old Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs and the partial use of her arms when her Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade over the Tigris River in November 2004, has declared her candidacy for Congress. Duckworth is hoping to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Henry Hyde, who has represented the section of suburban Chicago for 32 years.

She is one of a dozen Iraq veterans planning to run in 2006 -- most, as the Times says -- as Democrats. Duckworth told the New York Times on Saturday, "I had my legs blown off in Iraq, and because I had my legs blown off in Iraq people are listening to me ... I'm not going to get my legs back, and that's fine, but if that gives me a platform to talk about the things that are important to me, like education and jobs, that's great."

Oh, we love Tammy Duckworth.

One of the "very few women" flying combat missions over Iraq, Duckworth told the Times by telephone that she has opposed the war in Iraq since the beginning, even as she enlisted for service, but that now she does not favor quick withdrawal from the region because "I think we broke it and we need to fix it."

She also told the Times that as an amputee, voters should be prepared to see her fall down from time to time. "Amputees fall down a lot -- it's just the nature of being an amputee -- so you'll probably see that," she said. "I'm learning to tuck and roll really well."

On ABC's "This Week" yesterday, George Stephanopoulos asked Duckworth if she thought that President Bush has a plan for victory. "No," she responded, "but I think he's had some great banners, like the 'Mission Accomplished' banner and the 'Plan for Victory' banner. I'd like to hire his banner-making guy. I think it's kind of an irony that I was shot down a year and a half after the 'Mission Accomplished' banner was put up. I think the time to have a plan for victory was before we sent troops in."

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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