For the first time, a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives, charged under Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution with the responsibility "To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years," has introduced a bill that that would required the administration to begin withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by October 2006. -- Politics makes strange bedfellows. -- Who would have anticipated seeing Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones (R-NC 3), with his 96% American Conservative Union rating (in 2002), co-sponsoring such legislation with Dennis "Department of Peace" Kucinich (D-OH 10), with his 0% ACU rating (in 2002)? -- Kucinich was jubilant: "Today is the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq," he said at a news conference on Jun. 16. -- But the Army Times reported that "For now, the resolution has little chance of passing the House. It would need 218 votes, a majority, but is unlikely to get more than 10 Republican votes at the moment in a chamber where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a 229-205 margin." -- Army Times reporter Rich Maze noted that "The resolution is modeled after the 1971 Mansfield amendment, named for former Sen. Mike Mansfield, D-Mont., that was attached to a draft extension bill and set a policy to start withdrawing troops from Vietnam as soon as possible."
U.S. LAWMAKERS UNVEIL BILL TO FORCE TROOP WITHDRAWALS FROM IRAQ
By Jeff Bliss
June 16, 2005
WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a measure that would require President George W. Bush to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq no later than October 2006.
Republican Representatives Walter Jones of North Carolina and Ron Paul of Texas joined Democratic Representatives Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii in sponsoring the resolution, said Doug Gordon, a Kucinich spokesman.
Jones voted for authorizing the war on Oct. 10, 2002; Paul, Kucinich and Abercrombie opposed it.
"Today is the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq," Kucinich said at a news conference in Washington today. "It is time to thank our troops and say, 'come home.'"
The bill is the first bipartisan measure on troop withdrawals since Congress gave Bush approval to invade the country to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Gordon said.
The measure would require Bush to begin removing American troops from Iraq on or before Oct. 1, 2006, Gordon said.
Since the invasion, the threat of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction -- the main justification for the war -- has proven false. As casualties have mounted, the war's popularity has plummeted. Almost 60 percent of Americans say the U.S. should withdraw all or some of its forces from Iraq, the greatest proportion opposed to the deployment since the March 2003 invasion, USA Today reported June 13, citing a Gallup poll.
The Bush administration hasn't set a timetable for the withdrawal of the 138,000-strong U.S. force from Iraq, beyond saying they will be pulled out when Iraqis are trained and ready to assume control of security.
LAWMAKERS OFFER RESOLUTION TO BRING TROOPS HOME
By Rick Maze
June 16, 2005
A bipartisan group of lawmakers said Thursday that U.S. troops have done everything they can in Iraq and it is time to bring them home.
They are sponsoring what they call the Homeward Bound resolution, which tries to start that process by demanding the Bush administration begin a pullout by Oct. 1, 2006, if not sooner.
Exact details of the pace and timing of the withdrawal would be left to the White House and Pentagon, but the resolution is aimed at getting the process under way.
The chief sponsors are Democrats Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Republicans Walter Jones of South Carolina and Ron Paul of Texas.
Kucinich, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination on a largely antiwar platform two years ago, said bipartisan support for the resolution represents a shifting mood in Congress.
Today is the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq, he said. This is the way to bring our troops home.
Jones is gathering the most attention as a sponsor of the measure because he was a vocal supporter of the administrations decision to use military force to topple Saddam Hussein. But he has cooled to the entire mission as the number of dead and wounded troops has increased and as doubts have been raised about the White Houses justification for the war.
Jones said he did not want to dwell on blame or finger-pointing for past mistakes, but just thinks it is past time to begin extricating U.S. troops from Iraq.
Our military has done a magnificent job in removing Saddam Hussein from power and giving Iraq an opportunity for a democracy, he said.
When a final goal of training Iraqis to defend themselves is completed, we should be able to turn over control of Iraq to the Iraqi people.
The intent of the withdrawal provision, he said, is to force Congress and the administration into a public discussion of goals for Iraq and the militarys involvement.
Do we want to be there for 20 years or 30 years? We need to take a fresh look at where we are going, Jones said.
Abercrombie called it unfair to troops and their families to keep U.S. forces in Iraq to resolve political and social issues that are, in the end, the responsibility of Iraqis to determine. It is time to get serious about an exit strategy, he said.
For now, the resolution has little chance of passing the House. It would need 218 votes, a majority, but is unlikely to get more than 10 Republican votes at the moment in a chamber where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a 229-205 margin.
House Republican leaders are unlikely to even schedule a vote, and discouraged the measures four sponsors from offering it as an amendment to the 2006 defense appropriations bill.
The resolution is modeled after the 1971 Mansfield amendment, named for former Sen. Mike Mansfield, D-Mont., that was attached to a draft extension bill and set a policy to start withdrawing troops from Vietnam as soon as possible.