Sanders and Leahy Vote, Again, to Pull Troops Out of Iraq

The Senate voted Wednesday on legislation -- cosponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy -- to redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq. "Tragically, President Bush and his blind loyalists continue to ignore reality and refuse to change course in Iraq," Sanders said. The amendment was defeated, but the mounting movement to end the war was not. "We need to keep pushing, step by step, until we succeed in getting our troops out of the middle of Iraq's civil war," Leahy said

The Senate voted Wednesday on legislation -- cosponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy -- to redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq. "Tragically, President Bush and his blind loyalists continue to ignore reality and refuse to change course in Iraq," Sanders said. The amendment was defeated, but the mounting movement to end the war was not. "We need to keep pushing, step by step, until we succeed in getting our troops out of the middle of Iraq's civil war," Leahy said The legislation called for bringing our troops home within four months and pulling virtually everyone out of Iraq by the end of next March. "The war in Iraq, which President Bush misled us into, has been a disaster and more and more Americans understand that," Sanders said. "The amendment I voted for would allow for a responsible, phased redeployment that will remove our service members from the crossfire of an escalating civil war in Iraq. It would also send a clear message to the Iraqi people and their government that they must begin to work through the difficult issues that will be necessary to create a stable and lasting peace. Importantly, it will also allow us to better focus our energies on combating the very serious problems of international terrorism."Our country has lost some 3,300 soldiers - while 24,000 others have been wounded. Tens of thousands more will come home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are estimates that as many as 500,000 Iraqis have died. Over 2 million Iraqis have fled their country and another 2 million have been displaced as a result of violence and 'ethnic cleansing.' "At a time when our country has a record-breaking national debt, the war in Iraq has cost us almost $500 billion, and the final cost will almost certainly be more than $1 trillion. Meanwhile, because of our continued occupation in Iraq, demagogues like Osama bin Laden are able to rally Islamic fanatics around the world, and the number of terrorist attacks grows higher and higher. The time is overdue for a change in Iraq - for us to bring our troops home, to engage Iraq's neighbors and the international community in a diplomatic solution, and to support those elements in Iraq who want to create a stable Iraq with economic assistance."Senator Leahy also cosponsored the legislation and voted for the amendment.Leahy said, "The nation was misled into a war that White House incompetence has made increasingly worse for our troops, for Iraqis and for our country. Instead of making us safer, this war has diverted our attention and resources from the fight against Al Qaeda and from a lengthening list of other security and foreign policy challenges. The strongest legislation to date on ending the Iraq, it lost 29 to 67. To listen to Senator Sanders discuss the vote, click here or watch the video here.To read The Associated Press report on the Senate vote click here