News

US Senate Debates Iraq War, Democrats Call for Rumsfeld Resignation

Lawmakers in the Senate have been holding a lengthy debate on the war in Iraq, with majority Republicans supporting President Bush, and Democrats calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. VOA's Dan Robinson reports from Capitol Hill where members of Congress also reacted to President Bush's latest remarks on terrorism and the issue of the treatment of terrorist suspects.

Opposition Democrats had no illusions that they would get a vote on their resolution calling for the resignation of the man President Bush has relied upon at the Pentagon to manage the war in Iraq.

Their non-binding measure stated that the president's policy of staying the course in Iraq has made the United States less secure, reduced the readiness of the U.S. military, and burdened Americans with more than $300 billion in additional debt.

Since it was not directly relevant to a defense spending bill the Senate is considering, the resolution was certain to be struck down, never even advancing to a vote.

Republicans, such as Senator Ted Stevens, denounced Democrats for staging a political stunt designed to embarrass President Bush.

[President Bush] "does not deserve the opposition, I am sad to say in my opinion, on a purely political basis. Now there may be some over on this side of the aisle who have lost confidence in him, but this senator has not," he said.

For their part, Democrats such as Senator Charles Schumer countered that the multi-hour debate was entirely appropriate. "Most Americans, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, believe we need a new direction in Iraq and that is what this resolution personifies," he said.

Responses by other Republicans to Democrat calls for Secretary Rumsfeld's departure were summed up by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

"They [Democrats] are very united in defeatism, in their negatives attacks on the president, and in the process encouraging terrorists all around the world. Sending the signal that America is frustrated and ready to quit. America is not ready to quit," he said.

The debate, which may soon be duplicated in the House, came as lawmakers reacted to President Bush's announcement that 14 key terrorist leaders in U.S. custody have been transferred to the U.S. naval facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The president has asked the Republican-led Congress to quickly approve legislation that would allow these and other terrorist suspects to be tried by military tribunals, possibly as early as next year.

House Republican leaders pledged to examine White House proposals regarding legislation, which would provide a roadmap for the Defense Department on tribunals.

All of this comes in the wake of last June's Supreme Court ruling saying military commissions were not authorized by U.S. law and counter to the Geneva Conventions.

House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi mixed criticism into her reaction to the president's announcement. "I am very pleased that the president has finally come around to adhering to the rule of law as proposed by the Supreme Court and has approached the Congress to enact legislation," she said.

But while Pelosi says she looks forward to working with Republicans on a bipartisan approach to legislation, she repeated her party's criticisms of the president, and said Democrats will "use every tool at their disposal" to press for Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs