The War in Iraq

The Senate returned to Washington and to the drawn-out debate over the lingering war in Iraq. A vote could come Tuesday on a proposal cosponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders that would force the Bush administration to begin moving troops out of Iraq and limit the U.S. mission there. Sanders said, "At a time when we have a $9 trillion national debt and enormous unmet needs in this country, this war continues to cost us an astronomical $12 billion each and every month. We should stop the war, stop

The Senate returned to Washington and to the drawn-out debate over the lingering war in Iraq. A vote could come Tuesday on a proposal cosponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders that would force the Bush administration to begin moving troops out of Iraq and limit the U.S. mission there. Sanders said, "At a time when we have a $9 trillion national debt and enormous unmet needs in this country, this war continues to cost us an astronomical $12 billion each and every month. We should stop the war, stop the bloodshed, rebuild our credibility around the world, and reorder or priorities at home." The proposal needs 60 votes to overcome another expected filibuster, but the debate will shine a spotlight on the war's continued toll in terms of lost lives and misspent dollars.

The bill by Senator Russ Feingold - cosponsored by Sanders and Senator Patrick Leahy - would require the redeployment of U.S. troops to begin within 120 days of enactment. Afterward, funding could only be used for counterterrorism efforts, force protection, training and the redeployment of U.S. troops who are not carrying out those narrow missions.

The Senate vote comes in the wake of a Pentagon announcement on Monday that the United States - after withdrawing five combat brigades - nevertheless expects to have 140,000 troops in Iraq in July, more than before what was billed one year ago as a "temporary" surge. Army Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also told reporters that the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is expected to climb to an all-time high of 32,000 troops by late summer, from about 28,000 today.

As the war continues, the number of troops seeking help from a Defense Department employee-assistance hotline has grown 40 percent every year since 2004, Pentagon officials and hotline operators told USA Today. The increase underscores concerns that more and longer combat tours strain troops and their families, according to the report.

To read the USA Today report, click here.