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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2491

New Senate and House Leaders Oppose US Troop Increase in Iraq

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 07 January (Asiantribune): In a complete one hundred and eighty degree turn, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a letter to President Bush, opposed a troop increase in the Iraqi operation.

It was anticipated that in a major policy pronouncement early January President Bush, among other changes in the Iraqi policy and approach, is expected to announce the increase of U.S. troops by thirty to forty thousand in the Iraqi battle theater.

Both Reid and Pelosi, during the mid-term elections in November, supported a troop increase, a stand taken by Senator John McCain a potential Republican Party presidential hopeful.

On Thursday, after taking over the Senate and the House for their Democratic Party after a lapse of 12 years, they changed their minds.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on January 5 sent a letter to President Bush urging him to reject his reported plan to escalate the war in Iraq by increasing troop levels and delaying the ability of the Iraqi government to take control of their own future. The leaders cited the burden on the nation's already-overtaxed military, the likely failure of a surge strategy to quell the violence, and the dangers of placing American military into the middle of a civil war. The two leaders called on the President to instead heed the will of the American people, listen to the advice of America's military, and recognize the need for a significant change in strategy that begins with a political solution and a phased withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

The highlights of the letter are given below:

"We want to do everything we can to help Iraq succeed in the future but, like many of our senior military leaders, we do not believe that adding more U.S. combat troops contributes to success. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution."

"Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain."

"Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror."

- Asian Tribune -

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