Sunday, 19 May 2024

House members call for immediate troop redeployment

WASHINGTON, D.C. On Tuesday, Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), John Murtha (D-PA), George Miller (D-CA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced legislation to immediately begin redeploying troops out of Iraq while simultaneously working with the United Nations to implement a regionwide strategy for containing Iraq's civil war.

Thompson and his colleagues introduced this bill because they said there is no solid strategy for controlling the violence and political unrest in Iraq after U.S. troops redeploy.

The members of Congress said that it's clear to them that while U.S. troops are performing excellently, their ongoing presence in Iraq will not lead the Iraqi government to take control of its country. This bill will create a realistic exit strategy that brings our troops home and helps the Iraqi government take steps toward security.

This legislation – the Iraq Redeployment and Regional Security Act – specifically calls for redeployment of U.S. troops to commence no later than 30 days after enactment, with all troops out within one year.

It also requires that the president institutes a regional diplomatic plan, in conjunction with the United Nation's Security Council, to curtail and contain Iraq's civil war, prevent the establishment of al Qaeda safe havens and prevent genocide. The president must report to Congress every month on the status of the plan and the progress being made.

"Our troops have done an amazing job, but keeping them in the middle of a civil war will not get the Iraqi government any closer to securing and rebuilding their country,” said Thompson. “Moreover, without a plan to keep Iraq's civil war from spilling over to neighboring countries, the chaos in Iraq will multiply exponentially throughout the Middle East, putting the world in even greater danger. We must have a sound diplomatic strategy to contain Iraq's civil war or we will face consequences we can't even imagine."

"The time has come for Congress to hold the President accountable for his failed policy in Iraq,” added Matsui. “We can no longer talk about the need for change; the American people are calling for a new plan for Iraq, and this critical legislation takes action to answer that call. This Congress is committed to delivering on its promise of a new direction and a return to the priorities of our country."

All four original co-authors of this bill voted in favor of the Iraq bill introduced by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) and last week, which would force the president to begin redeployment of U.S. troops within 120 days of enactment, with American forces out no later than March 31, 2008. They continue to support that bill, as well.

The difference between the Skelton bill and the new bill, however, is two-fold: 1) This bill forces the president to begin withdrawal of American forces sooner than the other bill, and 2) this bill makes clear that the U.S. must engage the international community in the creation of a regional containment plan.


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