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Press Release - From the Senate: Byrd, Clinton Press for End to Iraq War Resolution

July 12, 2007

Legislation De-Authorizes Iraq War by the Fifth Anniversary of the Original Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The resolution that gave President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq is outdated and should be de-authorized. That is what U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., are asking their colleagues to help them do - by the fifth anniversary of the original vote.

On October 11, 2002, the Senate voted to provide President Bush the authority to use military force against Iraq in order to stop the development of weapons of mass destruction, to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, and to give the Iraqi people the opportunity to create their own government. Those goals, the Senators maintain, have been achieved. That authorization has run its course.

"The 2002 resolution is hopelessly outdated. The fight that Congress approved is not the fight we have in Iraq today. We should end that out-of-date authorization," Byrd said. "The President talks about a 'new mission' in Iraq. If he believes this 'new mission' is worthy of the continued sacrifice of our troops and their loved ones, he should define it, tell the country his plan for success, make his case, and then let the people decide. But continuing along the road of policing a civil war in Iraq is not what the Congress approved in 2002."

"The American people have called for change, the facts on the ground demand change, the Congress has passed legislation to require change. It is time to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq. If the president will not bring himself to accept reality, it is time for Congress to bring reality to him," said Clinton, an original co-sponsor of separate legislation offered by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI) requiring the Secretary of Defense to commence the reduction of U.S. troops from Iraq within 120 days and allowing the Secretary of Defense to deploy or maintain members of the Armed Forces only for specific missions.

Byrd and Clinton, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who serve with Chairman Levin and Senator Reed, made their appeal in a letter to all 100 Senators, and in an op-ed that ran earlier this week (the text of both is below). They plan to offer their proposal to repeal the 2002 use-of-force resolution to legislation in the Senate next week as a complement to the Levin-Reed legislation.

As their letter states, "If the Byrd-Clinton amendment passes along with the Levin-Reed amendment, the President would have to seek new authority for any missions beyond those permitted in the FY 2008 Department of Defense Authorization Bill. The Administration would have to explain to the public why our young men and women should be sent into the middle of a fight between religious factions and explain why we should continue to devote $10 billion each month to this fight."

And as their joint op-ed stated, "Today, more than 150,000 members of our armed forces are caught in a civil war. According to the Pentagon, overall levels of violence in Iraq have not decreased since the surge began. The last three months have been the deadliest period for American troops since the start of the war. It is time for the waiting to end and for our troops to start to come home."

The text of their letter to colleagues follows:

July 12, 2007

Dear Colleague:

Today we filed an amendment to the FY 2008 Department of Defense Authorization Bill which would sunset the authorization for the Iraq War effective October 11, 2007, five years to the day after the original authorization vote.

You will find attached a recent op-ed that we published in the New York Daily News which lays out the arguments in favor of deauthorizing the war.

Our amendment is designed to complement the Levin-Reed amendment requiring the Secretary of Defense to commence the reduction of U.S. troops from Iraq within 120 days and allowing the Secretary of Defense to deploy or maintain members of the Armed Forces only for specific missions. The Byrd-Clinton amendment contains a specific provision which states that nothing in the amendment shall be construed as "preventing missions that are specifically permitted in the National Defense Authorization Bill for 2008."

If the Byrd-Clinton amendment passes along with the Levin-Reed amendment, the President would have to seek new authority for any missions beyond those permitted in the FY 2008 Department of Defense Authorization Bill. The Administration would have to explain to the public why our young men and women should be sent into the middle of a fight between religious factions and explain why we should continue to devote $10 billion each month to this fight.

As our op-ed states, "today, more than 150,000 members of our armed forces are caught in a civil war. According to the Pentagon, overall levels of violence in Iraq have not decreased since the surge began. The last three months have been the deadliest period for American troops since the start of the war. It is time for the waiting to end and for our troops to start to come home."

Sincerely,

Robert C. Byrd

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Op-ed: This is Not Our Fight

Congress Must End U.S. Role in a Civil War Nobody Voted For

By Robert Byrd & Hillary Clinton



The New York Daily News

Tuesday, July 10th 2007

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/07/10/2007-07-10_this_is_not_ou...

On Oct. 11, 2002, the Senate gave President Bush authority to use force against Iraq. Nearly five years later, it is time for Congress to say enough is enough.

The American people have waited long enough for progress in Iraq. They have waited long enough for the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. Today, more than 150,000 members of our armed forces are caught in a civil war. According to the Pentagon, overall levels of violence in Iraq have not decreased since the surge began. The last three months have been the deadliest period for American troops since the start of the war. It is time for the waiting to end and for our troops to start to come home.

That is why we propose to end the authorization for the war in Iraq. The civil war we have on our hands in Iraq is not our fight and it is not the fight Congress authorized. Iraq is at war with itself and American troops are caught in the middle.

At a recent Senate hearing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked if the 2002 authorization still applies to Iraq. His response was surprisingly candid: "I don't know." Four years into the conflict in Iraq, longer than American involvement in World War II, after years of White House misjudgment and miscalculation, as our troops fight and die in the midst of an Iraqi civil war, the answer could not be clearer.

The 2008 defense authorization bill is now before the U.S. Senate. This legislation presents a vital opportunity for Congress to step up and force the President to change course in Iraq. Amending the bill to deauthorize the war would do exactly that. We intend to lead that effort.

If the Bush administration believes that the current war, as it is being executed, is critical to America's future, then it should make the case and let the people decide. Explain to the public why our young men and women should be sent into the middle of a fight between religious factions. Explain why we should continue to devote $10 billion each month to this fight.

Prior to the vote on the original authorization of force in 2002, we worked to limit that authority to one year. Unfortunately, the amendment failed -- a fact rendered all the more distressing in hindsight.

By deauthorizing the original use-of-force resolution this year, we would put a stop to the President's failed strategy and require him to articulate a new policy that takes into account the desires of the American people, the reality in Iraq and the recommendations of military experts.

The American people deserve to know how the President intends to judge the results of our ongoing efforts in Iraq and what strategy he proposes to bring the occupation to an end.

Our men and women in uniform toppled the dictator. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq has established a parliament and elected a president and a prime minister. Yet our troops remain in Iraq and our President remains unmoved by any arguments to change course.

As Bush admitted in his State of the Union address in January, "This is not the fight we entered in Iraq." We could not agree more. This is not the fight Congress authorized, Mr. President. If you want to continue to wage this fight, come to Congress and make your case. Otherwise, bring our troops home.

Byrd, senior senator from West Virginia, is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Clinton, junior senator from New York, is the first New Yorker to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Hillary Clinton, Press Release - From the Senate: Byrd, Clinton Press for End to Iraq War Resolution Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/297276

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