Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday cosponsored legislation to require the Pentagon to let active duty troops returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan stay home at least as long a their tour of duty lasted in the war zones. Also under the measure no reservists or National Guard members could be redeployed to Iraq or Afghanistan within three years of a previous deployment. "The war in Iraq has been devastating in so many ways to our troops and their families," Sanders said. "It is unconscionable that we are shipping off to war, over and over again, the same troops from units that already have been stretched too thin."
Sanders cosponsored the amendment introduced by Sen. James Webb, a Vietnam veteran and former Navy secretary. The full Senate was expected to debate the legislation as early as this week when it takes up a major Defense Department policy bill.
Speaking at a Capitol press conference before a group of 40 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, Sanders said, "Passing the Webb Amendment is an important step forward."
Pentagon policy now calls for active-duty Army units to get one year at home for every 15 months deployed. Individual soldiers who may have been transferred from other units, however, may be sent back on a faster timetable.
"I come from a small state, the State of Vermont, which I believe has lost more soldiers per capita than any other state in this country, so we know the costs of this war and we know the courage of the men and women and we thank you very much for all that you have done in battle and equally important for…standing up for this country," Sanders said.
To listen to Sanders at the press conference, click here.
To watch the press conference, click here.