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Sam Farr calls for troop pullout
I'm surprised that this hasn't gotten more notice locally- I didn't even see a Senile article about it. Considering that this is a major move forward, the following story is reposted from the Monterey Herald
Published Jan. 12 2007
Farr bill calls for pullback of troops
Hopes to stir debate on war
By DANIA AKKAD
Herald Staff Writer
Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, introduced legislation Thursday calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and withdrawing the authority Congress previously granted to President Bush to use military force in the war-torn country.
Farr, 65, says he knows the president will never sign his bill, but he hopes his initiative will stir a public debate and give those who have voted to support the war in the past an opportunity to register their objections now.
"This gives them a chance now to say, 'OK, you don't have it anymore. Mr. President, I'm repealing that authority'," Farr said.
Farr, who is a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus, said his bill is one of several expected to be unveiled by other caucus members in the coming week, following President Bush's speech on Wednesday.
In the speech, Bush announced a new strategy for the conflict in Iraq, including sending 21,500 additional troops and bolstering the country's reconstruction efforts with $1 billion in aid.
Farr said Bush's call for escalation was a "tipping point" for him after three years of opposing the war and the deaths of at least six constituents in Iraq.
Most surprising in Bush's announcement, Farr said, was that U.S. troops will now attempt to prevent Iran from moving arms and people into Iraq.
"What does that mean?" said Farr, explaining that he's concerned that the troop escalation may signal invasions of other Middle Eastern countries, particularly Iran and Syria.
On Thursday, representatives on both sides of the aisle spoke out against Bush's new push. The first Muslim member of Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., called for an immediate troop pullout and a shift toward political and diplomatic initiatives.
Ellison's staff said they hadn't heard about Farr's bill late Thursday, but would be interested in talking to Farr about it.
Several local peace protesters on Thursday said they were excited by Farr's bill, but Paul Bruno, co-chairman of the Monterey County Republican Party, called Farr's bill "grandstanding" and "an embarrassment."
"To cut and run would be absolutely foolish," he said. "To cut and run would leave a vacuum."
Bruno, who also is the California Republican Party's Central Coast regional vice chairman, said the Iraqi people need more time to rebuild their country during this period of monumental change.
"Nobody said this was going to be easy," he said. "It would be nice if it was easy, but it's not. We really need to support (the Iraqis) and not abandon them."
K.C. Lynch, a Monterey resident and Monterey Peninsula College football coach, said he was proud of Farr and "delighted that he has stepped up and taken the initiative."
"It's refreshing to see a member of Congress taking a stand," Lynch said.
Lynch said he's been against the war since before it began and called the new strategy a "psychotic path."
"It's stay the course, plus 21,500 troops," Lynch said.
June Malament, a retired social worker and teacher who lives in Pacific Grove, wasn't so sure Farr's bill would only serve to spur discussion.
"You never know how many people will vote for it," Malament said. "I think there are a lot more people now against this war."
She added, "I think that's wonderful of Sam Farr. He's getting pretty gutsy in his old age."
Farr said his bill will now move into the House's Armed Service Committee and likely will be up for discussion in the full House in a couple of weeks.
"Meanwhile," he said, "I will be getting co-sponsors."