Iraq War

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  Democratic Leaders Revamp Anti-War PlanFebruary 28, 2007 11:42 House Democratic leaders are developing an anti-war proposal that wouldn't cut off money for U.S. troops in Iraq but would require President Bush to acknowledge problems with an overburdened military.

The plan could draw bipartisan support but is expected to be a tough sell to members who say they don't think it goes far enough to assuage voters angered by the four-year conflict.

Bush "hasn't to date done anything we've asked him to do, so why we would think he would do anything in the future is beyond me," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., one of a group of liberal Democrats pushing for an immediate end to the war.

Democratic protests to the war grew louder in January after they took control of Congress and Bush announced he planned to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. Earlier this month, House Democrats pushed through a nonbinding resolution opposing the buildup.
  Unacceptable Death Toll In Iraq, Say AmericansFebruary 28, 2007 11:10 Adults in the United States are disappointed with the human cost of the coalition effort, according to a poll by Ipsos-Public Affairs released by the Associated Press. 77 per cent of respondents believe the number of U.S. military casualties and Iraqi civilian casualties has been unacceptable.

The coalition effort against Saddam Hussein’s regime was launched in March 2003. At least 3,160 American soldiers have died during the military operation, and more than 23,600 troops have been wounded in action.

There has been no official inquiry on the actual number of Iraqi casualties. A volunteer group of British and U.S. academics and researchers—known as Iraq Body Count (IBC)—estimates that more than 57,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed during the military intervention.

In December 2005, Iraqi voters renewed their National Assembly. In May, Shiite United Iraqi Alliance member Nouri al-Maliki officially took over as prime minister.
  Don't Micromanage War, White House Tells CongressFebruary 27, 2007 09:29 The White House said it does not want Congress to micromanage U.S. commanders in Iraq by limiting the 2002 resolution that authorized President Bush to invade that country, as Democratic senators have proposed.

"I've not heard anybody say that they want to amend the resolution so nothing will change," White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday.

"Instead, amending that language seems to be a device by which members of Congress themselves would try to get involved in micromanaging the activities of military officials."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the Democratic leadership in Congress wants to force Bush to change "a course that is leading to defeat" in the nearly four-year-old war.

"If someone wants to call that tying the hands instead of changing the policy, yeah -- the president needs a check and a balance," said Levin, who voted against the 2002 resolution. "This president hasn't had one."
  U.S. Military OverstressedFebruary 26, 2007 10:54 Many Iraq war soldiers, veterans and their families are not getting needed psychological help because a stressed military's mental health system is overwhelmed and understaffed, a task force of psychologists found.
The panel's 67-page report calls for the immediate strengthening of the military mental health system. It cites a 40 percent vacancy rate in active duty psychologists in the Army and Navy, resources diverted from family counselors and a weak transition for veterans leaving the military.
The findings were released Sunday by the American Psychological Association.
More than three out of 10 soldiers met the criteria for a "mental disorder," but far less than half of those in need sought help, the report found. Sometimes that's because of the stigma of having mental health problems, other times the help simply wasn't available, according to the task force. And there are special difficulties in getting help to National Guard and Reserve troops, who have been used heavily in Iraq, the report said.
The task force found no evidence of a "well-coordinated or well-disseminated approach to providing behavioral health care to service members and their families."
The psychology task force, chaired by an active military psychologist and comprised of psychologists working for the military or Veterans Administration, said "relatively few high-quality" mental health programs exist in the military now.
"There are tremendous needs; the system is stressed by these needs," said pediatric psychologist Jeanne Hoffman, a task force member and a civilian pediatric psychologist at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

  Senate Democrat Aims For U.S. Troop Limits In IraqFebruary 26, 2007 09:42 A top U.S. Senate Democrat said on Sunday his party aims to limit the role of the nearly 140,000 American troops in Iraq and withdraw most of them from the war-torn country within a year.

But Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said it was unclear if enough Senate Republicans would break ranks with President George W. Bush to allow the effort to proceed.

Levin said Democrats do "not yet" have the needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to clear an anticipated roadblock and modify the 2002 congressional resolution that authorized Bush to wage war in Iraq."

"We hope to pick up some Republicans. We don't know if we will," Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

A proposed Democratic resolution may be ready for Senate consideration as early as this week as the conflict enters its fifth year with critics saying U.S. troops should stay out of what has emerged into a civil war.

  Democratic Senators Consider Limiting War Authorization In IraqFebruary 20, 2007 09:04 Senate Democrats pledged renewed efforts Sunday to curtail the Iraq war, suggesting they will seek to limit a 2002 measure authorizing President Bush's use of force against Saddam Hussein.
The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said the proposal had little chance of succeeding. “I think the president would veto it and the veto would be upheld,” said Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana.
A day after Republicans foiled a Democratic bid to repudiate Bush's deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops to Iraq, Senate Democrats declined to embrace measures – being advanced in the House – that would attach conditions to additional funding for troops.
Sen. Carl Levin, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said Democratic senators would probably seek to capitalize on wavering Republicans to limit the “wide-open authorization” Congress gave Bush in 2002.
  Senate Gridlocks On Iraq War ResolutionFebruary 19, 2007 09:57 The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown yesterday as Republicans foiled a Democratic bid to repudiate President Bush's deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops.
The 56-34 vote fell four short of the 60 needed to advance a nonbinding measure identical to what the House passed Friday.
Democrats swiftly claimed victory anyway. "A majority of the United States Senate is against the escalation in Iraq," said Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "As for the Republicans who chose once again to block further debate and protect President Bush, the American people now know they support the escalation" in troops.
Republicans blasted the Democratic leadership for refusing to allow a vote on an alternative that ruled out any reduction in money for troops in the field.
"There is no place for chicanery at a time of war," said Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "Even some of the president's most strident opponents know that. They know that the only vote that truly matters in a vote on whether to fund the troops."
The vote marked the second time this winter that Senate Republicans have blocked action on nonbinding measures critical of the president's war policies. This time, however, there were signs of restlessness within the GOP ranks.
Seven Republicans broke with their leadership - including five whose term ends with the next election - compared with only two on the previous test vote.