Thursday, June 16, 2005

Abercrombie joins call
for Iraq pullout by fall 2006

The congressional resolution
wants the president to announce
a withdrawal plan

Democratic U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie was to join five other members of Congress today in sponsoring a resolution calling on President Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq by Oct. 1, 2006.

Saying that "it's time to get serious about an exit strategy," Abercrombie described the bipartisan measure as the "Homeward Bound" resolution, which also has the support of Republicans Walter Jones of North Carolina and Ron Paul of Texas.

The measure, cosponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, Martin Meehan, D-Mass., and Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., calls for the president to announce a withdrawal timetable by the end of this year.

Abercrombie wrote: "By keeping our troops in Iraq indefinitely, we're asking them to resolve political and social issues that need to be resolved by Iraqis themselves. That's unfair to the troops, their families and the country. The strain of unending deployments has put unbearable strains on our military, particularly the Reserves and National Guard.

"It's time to get serious about an exit strategy. The breathing space offered by this resolution affords Iraqis a reasonable time to develop, with our help, a force capable of ensuring the security of their own country. If they can't do it by then, we have to acknowledge that we'll be mired there for a very, very long time. That's more than the American public will stand for or our military can bear without seriously eroding its capacity to meet the full range of its responsibilities."

Americans need a serious public discussion about withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, he said. "We understand that the stakes are high and feelings run deep. That makes it all the more important that this discussion take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect and sober consideration, with the focus on policy, not politics. If we fail in that regard, the damage to our country, our foreign policy and our armed forces will be incalculable," he said.

Rep. Neil Abercrombie

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