President Bush wants to pursue a plan to send perhaps 20-thousand more U.S. troops into Iraq to quell sectarian violence in Baghdad and the Anbar Province. It’s a plan Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley admits he hesitates to fully back, yet Grassley says he won’t oppose the idea either.
Grassley says he and about a half dozen other senators met with Bush yesterday (Monday) at the White House. Grassley says "I look at it as something that I’m cautious about and I look at it from the standpoint of not just being a military issue for the United States, it’s a military issue for Iraq, do they want to win the insurgency and control their country and keep outsiders from trying to influence what’s going on in their country."
Grassley says the so-called troop surge as an effort to stem violence is multidimensional and very complicated. He says the decisions involve religious, diplomatic, political and military issues. Grassley says the entire Middle East region is involved in the process, in some respects.
Grassley says "I don’t want to put too much emphasis upon the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because, my gosh, that’s been going on for 30 years, but there is some feeling that if we could diplomatically help that along and make peace there, it would help us also with other Arab nations, including the insurgency in Iraq."
Many members of Congress oppose the troop surge and Massachusetts Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy suggested cutting off funding for additional deployments. Grassley says that’s not the way to go.
Grassley says "If the president decides to send more troops over there, there’s just gotta’ be a commitment on all of us in the Congress to support the people that are on the battlefield with all the resources it takes for them to do their job. And that’s the key component for me. Whatever number of troops in Iraq, we gotta’ give them the support to get the job done or they shouldn’t be there."
There are already about 140-thousand U.S. troops in Iraq. Bush is expected to call for another 100-billion dollars in funding for the war in his address to the nation on Wednesday night.