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Lawmakers Urge Hearings on US-Iraq Withdrawal

A group of 28 House Democrats, among the sharpest critics of the U.S. military invasion of Iraq, support a concurrent resolution calling on President Bush to develop a plan to end what they call a military "misadventure."

Concurrent resolutions are not sent to the president, but are used to express the sentiments of Congress.

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey says while Iraqis demonstrated courage in casting their votes on January 30, prolonging the U.S. presence will only intensify the insurgency.

"The [Iraqi] election demonstrates that Iraqis are prepared to manage their own affairs and that is why I believe now is the time to develop and implement a plan to bring our soldiers home and end the U.S. military presence in Iraq as soon as possible," she said.

The congresswoman adds that she and others are not advocating a "cut and run strategy." But they say the legitimacy of the election has been undermined by continuing insurgent attacks and the fact that an occupying military force remains in Iraq.

They urge President Bush to develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, and a plan for the reconstruction of Iraq's civil and economic infrastructure

They also urge, what they call, an emergency meeting involving Iraq's leadership, Iraq's neighbors, the United Nations and the Arab League to create an international peacekeeping force.

"If we don't leave, we will continue to be the irritant for the insurgents,” said Congressman Jim McDermott. “Once we get out, insurgents will then have to deal with one another as Iraqis, and that is what we should be moving toward."

The 28 Democrats, who constitute a small percentage of the 201 Democrats in the House, want the House International Relations Committee to hold a hearing on their resolution.

Pressure from Democrats on Capitol Hill is nothing new for President Bush, who has ruled out the setting of any timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.

There was no wavering on that position Wednesday from the White House, as President Bush met with the president of Poland to discuss its continuing contributions to the U.S.-led coalition.