WASHINGTON, Feb 10: A group of 28 US lawmakers have endorsed a concurrent resolution calling on President Bush to develop a plan to end the "misadventure" in Iraq.
Concurrent resolutions are not sent to the president, but are used to express the sentiments of Congress. The resolution on Iraq was sponsored by House Democrats, including some of the sharpest critics of the US invasion.
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey said while Iraqis demonstrated courage in casting their votes on Jan 30, prolonging the US presence will only intensify the resistance.
"The election demonstrates that Iraqis are prepared to manage their own affairs and that is why I believe now is the time to develop and implement a plan to bring our soldiers home and end the US military presence in Iraq as soon as possible," she said.
The Congresswoman said that she and others were not advocating a "cut and run strategy".
The concurrent resolution calls for the US president to:
I) develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq;
II) develop and implement a plan for the reconstruction of Iraq's civil and economic infrastructure;
III) Convene an emergency meeting of Iraq's leadership, neighbours, the United Nations, and the Arab League to create an international peacekeeping force in Iraq and to replace US military forces with Iraqi police and National Guard forces to ensure Iraq's security; and
IV) take all necessary steps to provide the Iraqi people the opportunity to completely control their internal affairs.
The sponsor said that the legitimacy of the Iraqi election had been undermined by continuing insurgent attacks and the fact that an occupying military force remained in Iraq.
"If we don't leave, we will continue to be the irritant for the insurgents," said Congressman Jim McDermott. "Once we get out, insurgents will then have to deal with one another as Iraqis, and that is what we should be moving toward".
Rep Woolsey said while "everyone who loves freedom was moved by the courage of millions of Iraqis braving death to cast a ballot on Jan. 30, the elections, however, do not justify this war - neither the lies used to sell it, nor the incompetence with which it has been managed".
"The elections won't bring back the dead or heal the wounded. They won't reimburse the American taxpayers billions of dollars. And the elections won't stop the vicious insurgency that is terrorizing Iraqi communities," she added.
The 28 Democrats who signed the resolution want the House International Relations Committee to hold a hearing on their proposals.
Pressure from Democrats on Capitol Hill is nothing new for President Bush, who has ruled out the setting of any timetable for withdrawing US forces from Iraq.
The White House, however, has made it clear that such demands will not have any impact on its decision to keep the troops in Iraq. At a meeting with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski at the White House on Wednesday, President Bush urged him to continue Polish contributions to the US-led coalition in Iraq.