- The Washington Times - Friday, June 17, 2005

A bipartisan group of congressmen, including one conservative who voted for the war in Iraq, yesterday introduced a resolution calling for the beginning of troop withdrawal from Iraq by Oct. 1, 2006.

Democratic Reps. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and Republican Reps. Ron Paul of Texas and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina introduced a resolution yesterday calling for President Bush to announce a withdrawal plan by the end of the year.

The congressmen said, however, that they don’t expect to see any action on the resolution, but hope it will start a public conversation resulting in the troops coming home.

“This is a proposal that will be the basis for the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq,” Mr. Kucinich said. “This is really about bringing our troops home. It’s about saying, ‘Come home, you’ve done your job, come home.’”

The notable name among the resolution’s supporters is Mr. Jones, a conservative who supported the war, but who now says the United States has done what it can to help Iraq.

“After 1,700 deaths, over 12,000 wounded and $200 billion spent, we believe it is time to have this debate and discussion on this resolution,” said Mr. Jones, whose district is home to three military bases.

Polls show falling support for the president’s efforts in Iraq, and a recent Gallup poll found majority support for withdrawing some or all troops.

But the White House resisted the call for a timetable.

“Timetables simply send the wrong message,” press secretary Scott McClellan said. “They send the wrong message to the terrorists; they send the wrong message to the Iraqi people. They send the wrong message to our troops who are serving admirably and working to complete an important mission.”

The resolution also drew strong criticism from Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican, who is the father of a U.S. Marine serving in Iraq.

“By setting a date, Congress would be sending a message to the brave Iraqi citizens who participated in historic national elections that the United States will support the fledgling democracy for only so long and then they are on their own,” Mr. Akin said.

Asked whether lawmakers thought their resolution emboldened insurgents’ efforts in Iraq, Mr. Abercrombie called that notion “a little bit insulting” to U.S. troops.

“Does anybody really think the insurgents need encouragement?” he said. “As a matter of fact, it’s continued occupation by United States armed forces that gives an object for the insurgents to point to to make a rationale for what they’re doing against us.”

Also yesterday, in a surrogate vote on rules for debating the military spending bill, the House rejected a call by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for the administration to deliver a plan for Iraq within 30 days.

“It does not require the troops to be brought home by a particular date; it requires only that the means for judging when they can be brought home be shared with the Congress,” the California Democrat said.

Her attempt failed on a procedural vote by 200-223, with all but one Republican, Rep. John Hostettler of Indiana, voting against it.

This article in based in part on wire service reports

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