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Democratic Leaders’ Letter To Bush Opposes Troop Surge January 5, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Military News, Politics, US News, White House.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Congress’ new Democratic chiefs criticized plans President George W. Bush is considering to boost U.S. troop strength in Iraq as the White House reshuffled its military leaders in the Middle East and its national security team.

In a letter sent to Bush on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House leader Nancy Pelosi urged him to begin pulling troops out of Iraq in four to six months. They also asked the president to begin shifting the mission of U.S. forces there from combat to training and logistical support of the Iraqis.

“We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq,” Pelosi and Reid, wrote a day after their party took control of Congress.

The Democrats’ criticism of a troop buildup was not new. But the letter underscored a new reality for Bush: With the new congressional leadership, his Iraq policy will be challenged at every turn by lawmakers.

Bush next week will unveil his new strategy, which is expected to entail new political, military and economic steps to win the war. The military approach, which has attracted the most attention and skepticism from Congress, is expected to include an increase in U.S. forces, possibly 9,000 additional troops deployed to the Baghdad capital alone.

“Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain,” Reid and Pelosi wrote.

“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,” they added.

“A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement,” the Democratic leaders said. “In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq and make the Iraqi political leadership aware that our commitment is not open ended, that we cannot resolve their sectarian problems, and that only they can find the political resolution required to stabilize Iraq.”

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