Friday, February 16

House Makes a Stand...Sort of

The Democratic-controlled House issued a symbolic rejection of President Bush's plan to deploy more troops to Iraq on Friday, opening an epic confrontation between Congress and commander in chief over an unpopular war that has taken the lives of more than 3,100 U.S. troops.

The vote on the nonbinding measure was 246-182 with 17 Republicans and 2 Democrats breaking ranks.

"The stakes in Iraq are too high to recycle proposals that have little prospect for success," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of Democrats who gained power last fall in elections framed by public opposition to the war.

Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

The resolution resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that--

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

Earlier Dave Loebsack said "Today, with my colleagues, I stand here in support of our brave men and women of the armed services as well as their families. We should honor their great commitment and sacrifices without hesitation.

The time has come to tell President Bush enough is enough! Last November, the American people spoke. They spoke loudly and clearly on a number of issues but none more passionately and forcefully than the war in Iraq. The American people, long before this debate this week, decided that the misadventure in Iraq must end.

Our troops have performed valiantly in Iraq. In a matter of just a few weeks, our troops removed from power a brutal dictator and began to provide the Iraqi people with the opportunity to construct a new political order. Our troops also have contributed mightily to the reconstruction and development of the Iraqi economy and infrastructure.

But over the course of this conflict, the mission of our troops has been transformed and now they find themselves in the middle of a civil war that involves not just two sides but almost innumerable factions in conflict with one another. What's worse is the continued presence of American troops in Iraq will likely only inflame the ongoing sectarian strife and create more, not fewer, enemies of America. The bottom line is that a continued presence of America troops will only exacerbate the multiple conflicts in Iraq.

While it was the Bush administration who initiated hostile actions in March of 2003, I believe it is now necessary for the Iraqi people to step up and assume responsibility for their future. We are at a point in this conflict where the only way forward includes a concerted and effective effort on the part of the Iraqi government to share both political power and the economic resources of their country.

What is also needed now more than ever is for this administration to reach out to our traditional allies and those in the region who have a significant stake in the future of Iraq. The Bush administration must do something it has been woefully reluctant to do. It must admit that it made a major strategic and foreign policy blunder when it invaded Iraq in the first place. I am willing to wager that such an admission would go some distance towards at least beginning to repair our relations with the rest of the world. And the improvement of our relations with our traditional allies beyond the British is a prerequisite to securing their help on Iraq.

In conclusion I call on my colleagues to support this
resolution today as a beginning of this chamber's efforts to protect the troops and bring our country's involvement in this war to an end."

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