BOSTON -- The tenth anniversary of start of the Iraq War is forcing candidates in Massachusetts' special U.S. Senate election to grapple with a conflict that saw public support drop the longer it was fought.
Two of the candidates took public votes on the war.
Democratic candidates Stephen Lynch and Edward Markey each voted for the White House's 2002 Iraq War resolution. A year later, Markey voted against an $87 billion war funding package, which Lynch supported.
"Ten years ago, the Bush administration perpetrated a fraud on Congress and the American people and launched an invasion into Iraq even though the administration knew that there were no nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction," Markey said in a statement Tuesday.
Lynch held a news conference Tuesday to call for more timely services for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lynch chose not to directly address the wisdom of going to war but instead focused on the challenges facing veterans. Republican candidate Daniel Winslow praised those who served in the war, crediting them with taking down a notorious Iraqi leader.
Republican candidate Michael Sullivan's campaign released a statement saying he also supported the goal of building "a free Iraq that would respect the human rights of its people and create a more peaceful and secure Middle East."
Republican candidate Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, said the country owes a debt of gratitude to those who served in Iraq.
"What we should be doing today is honoring the sacrifice of the 62 who gave their lives from Massachusetts in this conflict," he said in a statement.
Of the five, Gomez served in the military for eight years, while Markey served in the Army Reserve from 1968 to 1973. The other candidates didn't serve in the military.