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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs