The US Senate has called for all American combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year. The Democrat-led upper house voted largely along party lines, approving the motion by 51 votes to 47. President Bush immediately promised to veto the bill, which also sought to condition funding of the Iraqi campaign on funding of the Democrat’s domestic political agenda.
He said: “Yesterday I gave a speech making it clear that I would a veto a bill that restricts our commanders on the ground in Iraq, a bill that didn’t fund our troops, a bill that’s got too much spending on it. I made that clear to the members, we stand united. And I’m saying loud and clear that when we’ve got a troop that’s in harms way, we expect that troop to be fully funded.”
The US has some 140 000 combat troops in Iraq. The Senate measure only sets a withdrawal target of 12 months and as such is weaker than an earlier House of Representatives Bill that set 18 months as a mandatory date for retreat.
The two houses are now likely to seek a compromise position to present to the President.