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CAP: Dems should demand vote on Iraq surge

  |   Dec. 29, 2006 at 2:14 PM
WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- An influential left-of-center think tank says Democrats should demand new Congressional authorization before any additional U.S. troops are sent to Iraq.

The Center for American Progress, headed by John Podesta, Democratic President Bill Clinton's former chief of staff, this week urged the incoming 110th Congress to insist upon holding another vote to authorize further U.S. military operations in Iraq if the number of U.S. troops sent there exceeds 150,000, the Army Times reported.

The center is widely regarded as influential with the Democrats who will be taking over control of both houses of the U.S. Congress on Jan. 4.

The recommendation came in a new report to Congress from the center, which also urged a switch in emphasis to diplomatic rather than military strategy on Iraq, the newspaper said.

Podesta said the Bush administration had already completed two "surges" in U.S. troop numbers in and around the Iraqi capital Baghdad without having any appreciable impact on the insurgency.

Larry Korb, former U.S. assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, said that Congress should intervene to block another troop surge unless the administration could adequately explain to it why such a policy was necessary, Army Times said.

"Korb suggested imposing a troop cap on deployments to Iraq or capping the number of Guard and reserve members who could be mobilized, which could have the same effect as a troop cap because the Army, in particular, is heavily dependent on reserve mobilizations to maintain its rotational basis for deployments," the Army Times said.

"As U.S. military commanders in Iraq have acknowledged, the United States could put a soldier or Marine on every street corner in Baghdad and it would not make a difference if the Iraqis have not begun the reconciliation process," the Center for American Progress report said.

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