Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Kerry postpones his cut-and-run deadline
Now pushes 2007 as year to remove US soldiers from Iraq

WASHINGTON -- Senator John F. Kerry is pushing back by six months the deadline he wants to set for removing combat troops from Iraq, as he seeks to build support in the Senate for his plan for troop withdrawal.

The proposal to be offered by Kerry today would require President Bush to remove nearly all US troops from Iraq by July 1, 2007. The Massachusetts Democrat's initial plan -- to remove troops by the end of 2006 -- received just six votes in the Senate last week, and the later date is intended to build support for the proposal, said April Boyd, a Kerry spokeswoman.

“Every vote for a deadline withdrawal is Congress saying to President Bush that we will not accept war without an end policy in Iraq," Boyd said.

Yet the concept of any deadline for troop withdrawal remains controversial among Democrats. Prominent Democratic senators, including Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, have rejected the idea of setting a time frame for bringing home troops.

Hoping to build cohesion among Democrats, party leaders yesterday introduced a nonbinding resolution that calls on the president to begin a "phased withdrawal" of troops by the end of this year but does not set a deadline for complete removal.

That resolution, expected to get the votes of most of the Senate's 44 Democrats, would not set any deadline that would force the hands of military leaders, said Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee...

"I would rather be a coward than brave because people hurt you when you are brave."
E. M. Forster, as a small child


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