The US President is facing a renewed attack over his plans to increase troop numbers in Iraq. US Senators from both the Republican and Democrat parties have unveiled a resolution calling for an early transfer of power to Iraqi authorities. Democrat senator Joseph Biden is one of its sponsors. “The resolution says what we and many of our colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike are in agreement on: our involvement in Iraq by escalating our troops is a mistake.”
Senator Chuck Hagel, a potential Republican presidential candidate next year, also weighed in. “There should be strong, passionate disagreement – but for one, as I have said many times, I will do everything I can to stop the President’s policy as he outlined on Wednesday night. I think it is dangerously irresponsible. To continue to put American lives in the middle of a clearly defined tribal, sectarian civil war, is wrong.”
The non-binding resolution would symbolically put the Senate on record as saying the US commitment in Iraq can only be sustained with popular support. But legal expert, Bruce Fein, says that will be enough to block the president’s plans.
“It is very clear under the constitution that only Congress can authorise the expenditure of money. If the money isn’t there then the President is paralysed.”
Bush wants to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, the majority of them to violence-hit Baghdad, in an effort to improve security and end sectarian clashes.