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Kerry: Senate Democrats United Behind Iraq Deadline Plan

by Pamela Leavey

John Kerry praised the move by Senate Democrats toward setting a deadline for redeploying combat troops today. In a press conference today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined “Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer, Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray, Senator Russ Feingold, and Senator Evan Bayh to announce a new Joint Resolution to revise U.S. policy on Iraq. Iraq has fallen into a bloody civil war, and as conditions on the ground have changed so must U.S. policy change to meet them.”

The Reid Joint Resolution builds on the longstanding Democratic position on Iraq and the Levin-Reed Amendment: the current conflict in Iraq requires a political solution, Iraq must take responsibility for its own future, and our troops should not be policing a civil war. It contains binding language to direct the President to transition the mission for U.S. forces in Iraq and begin their phased redeployment within one-hundred twenty days with a goal of redeploying all combat forces by March 31, 2008. A limited number of troops would remain for the purposes of force protection, training and equipping Iraqi troops, and targeted counter-terror options.

Kerry’s statement in response to the announcement from Democratic leaders that they are offering legislation that sets a deadline for the deployment of US troops from Iraq, is as follows:

“This plan is a critical step forward for our country, and the brave men and women of our armed forces who have been waiting for Washington to provide a clear plan forward in Iraq. Last June, 12 senators joined me in voting to set a deadline for redeployment of American combat troops from Iraq.

Now we can all stand united behind an exit strategy that includes the deadline we need to get the Iraqis to stand up for Iraq and bring American combat troops home. I’m pleased that today’s solution is built on the premise of the legislation we offered last year: that there is no military solution to this conflict and any successful strategy must include a deadline combined with diplomatic, political and economic steps that get Iraqis to make the compromises needed for stability.”

The Senate announcement came in the wake of a similar announcement from the House today, which Kerry also supports.

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