Pointing to his profound disappointment in the Iraqi government, another senator joined the chorus of senior Republicans publicly criticizing the ongoing presence of US troops in Iraq. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) also announced his support for bipartisan legislation designed with the intent to brings US troops home.
Domenici, who serves on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced his decision to support the legislation, the Iraq Study Group Recommendation Implementation Act (S.1545), at a news conference in Albuquerque Thursday.
“I want a new strategy for Iraq. I continue to completely support the men and women in the American Armed Forces. They have not failed us. It is the Iraqi government that is failing to make even modest progress to help Iraq itself or to merit the sacrifices being made by our men and women in uniform,” Domenici said. “I am unwilling to continue our current strategy.”
"I have carefully studied the Iraq situation, and believe we cannot continue asking our troops to sacrifice indefinitely while the Iraqi government is not making measurable progress to move its country forward,” Domenici said. “I do not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or a reduction in funding for our troops. But I do support a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home.”
S.1545, introduced by Senators Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), embraces the recommendations in the Iraq Study Group Report issued by the bipartisan Baker Hamilton Commission. The bill makes the Iraq Study Group’s 79 recommendations the policy of the United States, and asks the Bush administration—working with military and diplomatic leaders—to implement those recommendations.
The bill is intended to create conditions that could allow for a drawdown of American combat forces in Iraq by March 2008. Under S.1545, the U.S. military could maintain a long-term but more limited presence in Iraq—focused on protecting American personnel and interests, training and advising Iraqi forces, and carrying out counterterrorism and special operations missions.
Domenici indicated that the provisions in S.1545 could be debated as part of the FY2008 Defense Authorization Bill that the Senate will take up next week.