Tupa and Gordon to Introduce Iraq War Resolution

As Colorado Confidential first reported on January 18, Senators Ron Tupa (D-Boulder) and Ken Gordon (D-Denver) will soon introduce a state resolution opposing President Bush’s plan to escalate the Iraq War by increasing troop deployment to an additional 21,500 personnel. The text of the draft resolution being circulated for public comment:

A Resolution calling on the Congress and President of the United States of America to stop escalating the war in Iraq and to begin a phased redeployment of American forces.

WHEREAS, the state of Colorado honors the bravery and sacrifice of U.S. forces in Iraq and their families and will support Congress in ensuring that there are sufficient resources made available to support them as long as they are there; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly supports efforts to create peace in Iraq and the Middle East; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly supports efforts to promote diplomatic solutions involving affected countries and the world community; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly supports efforts to ensure the safe return of American troops from Iraq; and

WHEREAS, the war in Iraq has already had a significant impact on servicemen and women from Colorado and their families; and

WHEREAS, U.S. involvement in Iraq has resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers, including the deaths of 92 servicemen and women stationed in Colorado, and the wounding and disabling of more than 22,000 U.S. military personnel to date; and

WHEREAS, the war in Iraq has made the United States economically and militarily weaker, has made the United States less safe because it has enhanced the recruitment of terrorists, and has undermined the standing of the United States within the world community; and

WHEREAS, On January 10, 2007, President George W. Bush announced his intention to escalate the war in Iraq by sending an additional 21,500; and

WHEREAS, More than $357 billion has already been appropriated by Congress, with an additional $245 billion being proposed, bringing the total cost of funding military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan to more than $662 billion to date; and

WHEREAS, The money appropriated for the war in Iraq could have been used to fund desperately needed education, health care, housing, nutrition programs, and other vital social services in the United States or be used for humanitarian assistance abroad; and

WHEREAS, Previous federal budgets and supplemental appropriations that have funded American involvement in Iraq have led to cuts in critical block grants for states and have increased the federal debt which, due to interest payments, will likely result in even larger cuts in the funds provided to states such as Colorado that have critical needs; and

WHEREAS, the United States strategy and presence on the ground in Iraq can only be sustained with the support of the American people and bipartisan support from Congress; and

WHEREAS, Polls show the vast majority of Americans do not support increasing the number of troops in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, most military experts oppose an escalation in the number of troops sent to Iraq and press reports indicate that even the Joint Chiefs of Staff and many retired Generals oppose such a strategy; and

WHEREAS, On March 22, 2003, President George W. Bush stated in a radio address that the objective of Operation Iraqi Freedom was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people” and

WHEREAS, Weapons of mass destruction were never found in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, On April 19, 2003, the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was deposed; and

WHEREAS, On December 15, 2005, Iraq held democratic elections to select a new government pursuant to a constitution endorsed in a referendum conducted on October 15, 2005; and

WHEREAS, On February 22, 2006, insurgents attacked the Askariya Shrine in Samarra, Iraq, an event that ignited a wave of sectarian violence that has escalated over the ensuing months and resulted in the deaths of more than 16,000 Iraqis during 2006; and

WHEREAS, Iraq is witnessing widening sectarian and intra-sectarian violence; and

WHEREAS, Efforts by Iraqi and United States forces in the summer and autumn of 2006, Operation Together Forward and Operation Together Forward II, have failed to halt sectarian conflict in the Baghdad area of Iraq; and

WHEREAS, the bi-partisan Iraq study group recently characterized the situation in Iraq as “grave and deteriorating” and recommended a responsible transfer of power allowing for a reduction in U.S. presence in Iraq over time; and

WHEREAS, United States military commanders in Iraq have repeatedly stated that there is no long-term military solution to the problems in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, maximizing chances of success in Iraq should be our country’s goal, and the best chance of success requires a change in current strategy; and

WHEREAS, peace and security in Iraq can only be achieved if Iraqis reach a political settlement, including the Bush administration’s 13 benchmarks for progress, and engage in national reconciliation; and

WHEREAS, an open-ended commitment of U.S. forces in Iraq is unsustainable and irresponsible and acts as a deterrent to the Iraqis making the political compromises necessary for violence to end and for stability and security to be achieved in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, the United States strategy in Iraq must not compromise the ability of the United States to address other vital national security priorities, in particular global terror networks, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional stability in the Middle East, the nuclear program of Iran, the nuclear weapons of North Korea, and stability and security in Afghanistan; and

WHEREAS, at a time when the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group, leading military and diplomatic officials, and allies from around the world are calling for a reduction in the number of American troops in Iraq, and a change of U.S. strategy, the government of the United States should not escalate its involvement in Iraq or increase the number of its troops in that country; and

WHEREAS, On February 7, 2007, Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Peter Pace, acknowledged that a debate in Congress on the war in Iraq would not hurt the morale of troops in combat; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:

That, at a minimum, President Bush should obtain explicit approval from Congress if he wants to send more American troops to Iraq;

That it is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating the United States military force presence in Iraq;

That the primary objective of United States strategy in Iraq should be to have the Iraqi political leaders take the necessary steps to end the violence in Iraq;

That main elements of the mission of United States forces in Iraq should transition into ensuring the territorial integrity of Iraq, conducting counter-terrorism activities, reducing regional interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, and accelerating the training of Iraqi troops;

That the United States should begin a phased redeployment of United States troops, under an appropriately expedited timeline, ending no later than March 31, 2008, in which responsibility for internal security and the halting of sectarian violence in Iraq should be transferred to the Government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces; and

That a copy of this resolution shall be sent to George W. Bush, President of the United States, to the Congressional delegation of Colorado, and to the United States Congress.

This resolution is part of a national effort by the Progressive States Network to encourage state legislatures to support anti-escalation resolutions in tandem with a U.S. Senate resolution requiring the president to seek Congressional authority before sending additional troops to Iraq.

According to the National Priorities Project, the share of the national cost of the war borne by Colorado taxpayers is nearly $6 billion. Forty Colorado soldiers have died and over 300 have been wounded in combat. Healthcare and disability benefits for the wounded soldiers is estimated to exceed $100 million.

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Wendy Norris

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