Senate Foreign Relations Panel Votes Against Iraq Surge
The Bush “surge” took a big hit early today with a non-binding vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee dismissed President Bush’s plans to increase troops strength in Iraq on Wednesday as “not in the national interest,” an unusual wartime repudiation of the commander in chief. The vote on the nonbinding measure was 12-9 and largely along party lines.
“We better be damn sure we know what we’re doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, the sole Republican to join 11 Democrats in support of the measure.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the panel’s chairman, said the legislation is “not an attempt to embarrass the president. … It’s an attempt to save the president from making a significant mistake with regard to our policy in Iraq.”
It’s very difficult, both from a separation of powers standpoint and from a political one, for Congress to force a president to abandon an ongoing war. The tide has definitely turned, though, for Biden to make such a strong statement, let alone for a prospective GOP presidential candidate to vote for a rebuke of his president’s policy.