The non-binding "sense of the Senate" resolution is presented in response and rebuke to the Bush Administration's new plan to send 20,000 addditional U.S. troops to fight the Iraq War.
Commented Sen. Biden to the press, "This resolution will demonstrate ... that support is not there for the presidents policy in Iraq. The sooner he recognizes that reality and acts on it, the better off all of us will be."
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the resolution on January 25, 2007 by a vote along party lines, but with Sen. Hagel joining Democrats. A full Senate vote is expected during the week of January 29, 2007.
TEXT OF S.CON.RES.2,
Concurrent Resolution Expressing the Bipartisan Resolution on Iraq
Sponsor: Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Co-Sponsors: Senators Carl Levin , Chuck Hagel, Olymia Snowe
"Whereas the United States strategy and presence on the ground in Iraq an only be sustained with the support of the American people and bipartisan support from Congress;
Whereas maximizing chances of success in Iraq should be out goal, and the best chance of success requires a change in current strategy;
Whereas the situation in Iraq is damaging the standing, influence, and interests of the United States in Iraq, the Middle East, and around the world;
Whereas more than 137,000 United States military personnel are bravely and honorably serving in Iraq and deserve the support of all Americans;
Whereas more than 2,000 United States military personnel have already lost their lives in Iraq, and more than 22,500 have been wounded in Iraq;
Whereas on January 10, 2007, President George W. Bush announced his plan to deepen the United States military involvement in Iraq by deploying approximately 21,000 additional United States combat forces to Iraq;
Whereas Iraq is witnessing widening sectarian and intra-sectarian violence;
Whereas Iraqis must reach a political settlement if there is going to be a reconciliation in Iraq, and the failure of the Iraqis to achieve such a settlement has led to the increase in violence in Iraq;
Whereas Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated on November 27, 2006, that 'the crisis is political, and the ones who can stop the cycle of aggravation and bloodletting of innocents are politicians';
Whereas an open-ended commitment of United States forces in Iraq is unsustainable and a deterrent to the Iraqis making the political compromises and providing the personnel and resources that are needed for violence to end and for stability and security to be achieved in Iraq;
Whereas the responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence in Iraq must rest primarily with the Government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces;
Whereas there have been repeated promises by the Government of Iraq to assume a greater share of security responsibilities, disband militias, consider amendments to the Iraq constitution, enact laws to reconcile sectarian differences, and improve the quality of life for the Iraqi people, but those promises have not been kept;
Whereas a successful strategy in Iraq is dependent upon the Iraqi leaders fulfilling their promises; Whereas the commander of the United States Central Command, General John Abizaid, testified to Congress on November 15, 2006, that 'it's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon us to do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from taking more responsibility for their own future';
Whereas the Iraq Study Group suggested a comprehensive strategy to 'enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly' based on 'New and enhanced diplomatic and political efforts in Iraq and the region';
Whereas the United States Army and Marine Corps, including their Reserves and the Army National Guard, their personnel, and their families, are under enormous strain from multiple, extended deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan;
Whereas the majority of nondeployed Army and Marine Corps units are no longer combat ready due to a lack of equipment and insufficient time to train; and whereas the United States strategy in Iraq must not compromise the ability of the United States to address other vital national security priorities, in particular global terror networks, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional stability in the Middle East, the nuclear program of Iran, the nuclear weapons of North Korea, and stability and security in Afghanistan.
Now therefore be it resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that -
(1) it is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating the United States military force presence in Iraq;
(2) the primary objective of United States strategy in Iraq should be to have the Iraqi political leaders make the political compromises necessary to end the violence in Iraq;
(3) greater concerted regional, and international support would assist the Iraqis in achieving a political solution and national reconciliation;
(4) main elements of the mission of United States forces in Iraq should transition to helping ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq, conduct counterterrorism activities, reduce regional interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, and accelerate training of Iraqi troops;
(5) the United States should transfer, under an appropriately expedited timeline, responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence in Iraq to the Government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces;
(6) the United States should engage nations in the Middle East to develop a regionally-sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Iraq.