Key Republican Senator Calls For Troop Withdrawal From Iraq

An influential U.S. Senate Republican says President Bush should announce an initial withdrawal of troops from Iraq on September 15. Senator John Warner of Virginia made his comments to reporters Thursday, just days after visiting Iraq. VOA's Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill.

Senator Warner, a member and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he is recommending that President Bush announce the beginning of a troop withdrawal from Iraq on September 15 as a way to press the Iraqi government into taking steps toward political reconciliation.

"Take into consideration the need to send a sharp and clear message throughout the region, to the United States, and one that people can understand; I think [there is] no clearer form of that than for the president to announce on the 15th, that in consultation with senior military commanders, he has decided to initiate the first step in a withdrawal of our forces," said Senator Warner.

Warner says it would be up to the president to decide how many troops to redeploy, but suggested of the more than 160,000 troops in Iraq that 5,000 could be withdrawn and return home by Christmas Day of this year.

The senator says he is not advocating a rapid troop withdrawal, and noted that he previously has voted against timetables for withdrawals.

But he said the time has come to show that the United States is serious when officials, including President Bush, say the U.S. commitment in Iraq is not open-ended.

Speaking in Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is vacationing, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe responded to Warner's comments saying Mr. Bush would wait to receive a progress report from the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker in mid-September. The congress will also be briefed on the report. Johndroe says he does not believe the president feels any differently about setting a specific timetable for withdrawal, having previously said that that would embolden the enemy.

The comments from Senator Warner came just hours after the release of a U.S. intelligence estimate that predicted political progress in Iraq would remain elusive over the next year, and that the position of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government would become more precarious

Senator Warner says he agrees with the assessment. He says U.S. troops have made progress in boosting security in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. But he says Iraqi leaders have not made good on their commitment:

"I really firmly believe that the Iraqi government under the leadership of Prime Minister Maliki has let our troops down," he said.

But Warner would not go as far as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, who called on the Iraqi parliament to oust Prime Minister Maliki and his cabinet. Warner said that is a decision for the Iraqi people to make, consistent with their constitution.

This forum has been closed.
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.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs