In a non-binding vote on Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee dismissed President Bush’s escalation of the Iraq War as “not in the national interest.” The vote comes one day after President Bush appealed to congress to give his revised Iraq plan “a chance to work.” The resolution, which passed 12-9, opposes Bush’s plan to deploy 21,500 additional troops for peacekeeping operations in and around Baghdad.
Three prominent senators; Democrats Joseph Biden and Carl Levin, and Republican Chuck Hagel proposed the resolution earlier this month. “We better be damn sure we know what we’re doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder,” said Senator Hagel, the only Republican on the committee to support the resolution. Vice President Cheney disregarded the objection, saying: “It won’t stop us, and it would be, I think, detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.” Cheney commented four days after U.S. forces faced one of the bloodiest days of the Iraq War since the invasion began four years ago, with 25 soldiers lost in a 24-hour period.
On Tuesday President Bush addressed the nation in his annual state of the union address, during which he called on congress and the nation to lend him their support. “We went into this largely united – in our assumptions, and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq -and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the fi eld – and those on their way.” Bush said in his address to the legislature.
Bush went on to characterize the confl ict in Iraq as a front in his Global War On Terror, saying: “In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success. Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq – because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far-reaching. The war on terror we fi ght today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. That is why it is important to work together so our nation can see this great effort through.” Lieutenant General David Petraeus, Bush’s choice to become the new U.S. commander in Iraq, said on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, “The situation in Iraq is dire. The stakes are very high. There are no easy choices. The way ahead will be very hard. But the hard is not hopeless.” Monday more than 130 Iraqis died in the capital Baghdad, 88 in a double car bombing at a crowded market. Iraqi ‘police’ also recovered 29 bodies bound and executed scattered across the capital. The attacks came as 3,200 troops, the advance guard of Mr. Bush’s 21, 500, arrived in the capital to boost security.
The coordinated assault on the Baghdad market entailed a parked car fi lled with explosives, that was detonated by remote, followed by a second car, driven by a suicide bomber, which plunged into the panicked crowed before exploding. The market, which specializes in pirated movies and secondhand clothes, was popular among Baghdad’s poorest residents.
Next week both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are set to vote on resolutions in opposition of the troop ‘surge,’ a largely symbolic move that will not stop the executive branch’s plan for further entrenching our troops in the tactical nightmare of Iraq. Senator Biden defended the vote, however, saying: “(The legislation) is an attempt to save the president from making a significant mistake with regard to our policy in Iraq.”