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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs