View Full Version : Top Democrat Calls For Troops Withdrawal From Iraq

09-13-2005, 08:01 PM
Top Democrat calls for troop withdrawal from Iraq


By Rick Maze
Times staff writer

The Senate’s senior Democrat called Tuesday for the Bush administration to withdraw the military from Iraq to focus on domestic needs such as hurricane relief.

“Sometimes, it takes a catastrophe to put events into perspective, to shake us and sharpen our clarity of vision,” said Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

“We cannot continue to commit billions in Iraq when our own people are so much in need, not only now, in New Orleans, but all across America for everything from education to health care to homeland security to securing our own borders,” Byrd said in a speech on the Senate floor.

“We need to stop making excuses, stop spinning facts and come to grips with the unpleasant truth. The government of the United States is failing the American people.”

Byrd gave the speech shortly after top Republicans praised the military’s involvement in Katrina relief as one of the bright spots of the federal response.

Byrd, top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the longest-serving senator, has never supported the Iraq mission and has called for an end to the deployment on other occasions.

His newest call has been fueled by the estimated cost of $150 billion to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina and the need for National Guard troops to help in recovery efforts.

“Instead of continuing to spend billions in Iraq, let us husband our hard-earned tax dollars and spend them here at home,” Byrd said.

If the United States had spent money on improving Gulf Coast levees instead of deploying the military to Iraq, “thousands would be alive today,” he said.

“We continue to commit billions to rebuild Iraq while our own needs go begging,” Byrd said. “Is it not now painfully evident … we must make basic investments in our own country as a national and urgent priority?”

White House and Pentagon officials have said there is no need to reduce troop levels in Iraq, and deflected questions about whether the presence of so many National Guard troops there was hindering relief efforts.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said other states have sent troops to help Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, along with about 22,000 active-duty troops.

09-13-2005, 10:23 PM
Here's there problem, they "call for", instead of demanding.