Leahy and Jeffords vote for Iraq withdrawal resolution

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(Host) Both of Vermont’s U.S. senators have voted for a resolution to withdraw all American troops from Iraq by next summer.

The measure was overwhelmingly defeated by the full Senate.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) The Senate considered two resolutions concerning Iraq. The first one called for the withdrawal of some U.S. troops by the end of the year. It was defeated by a vote of 60 to 39. The second proposal set a specific deadline of next summer for the removal of all U.S. forces from Iraq. It was defeated by a vote of 87 to 13.

Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator James Jeffords voted in favor of both resolutions.

Leahy says the time has come for the United States to scale back its involvement in Iraq:

(Leahy) “This is saying we have done our share. We’ve done far more than anybody could ever expect us to do and considerably more than the Bush Administration said we were going to do. And now it’s time for the Iraqis to take over. The longer we stay, the more of a problem it’s going to be, the more American lives are going to be lost and the tens of millions and hundreds of millions of dollars of American money is going to be gone.”

(Kinzel) Many opponents of the resolution said setting a specific deadline was tantamount to “cutting and running from Iraq.” Leahy bristles at that description.

(Leahy) “The policy they had was mislead and go to war. This is not cut and run. The people who are saying it’s cut and run are not the people who have to go over there and fight. It’s easy to be the arm chair general. What we ought to do for the young people who are over there and fighting, somebody ought to stand up and say, ok you have done your share. You’ve done far more than your share. We’re going to bring you home.”

(Kinzel) Jeffords says he supported a specific timeframe for the withdrawal of troops because he’s never supported this war.

(Jeffords) “I have opposed this war from the very beginning. I’ve always felt that it’s politically oriented and it’s the same way I feel right now. The sooner we get out of it the better.”

(Kinzel) Jeffords says “the Administration has lacked an exit strategy from the first day we went to war and as a result we have paid a tragic price.”

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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