The US Senate has endorsed a deadline of March next year for the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq. The Upper House voted by a majority of 50 to 48 to reject a Republican clause which would have removed the withdrawal timetable from the country’s 90 billion euro military funding bill. While a boost for the anti-war Democrats, the vote is a setback for President George W Bush. He has vowed to veto any legislation which includes dates for withdrawing from Iraq.
That includes the current bill and a measure passed by the US House of Representatives last Friday, a vote also backed withdrawal. A mandatory deadline of September the 1st, 2008, was set for the withdrawal of all combat troops.
Under the Senate Bill, which is still being debated, the US would begin a phased withdrawal of troops this year, with the goal, but not the requirement, that it be completed a year hence. Latest research suggests that 60 percent of US citizens want their troops to leave Iraq by the end of August, 2008 – the deadline set by the House of Representatives.