(January 11, 2007)--Skeptical lawmakers were set Thursday to pounce on the president’s plan to send 21,500 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq.
Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are testifying before Congressional panels.
Gates is expected to offer assurances that military leaders stand behind the president.
Leaders of the Democrat-controlled Congress also are considering options for a nonbinding resolution denouncing the troop increase.
They reject the president’s call for more troops in Iraq, saying instead that it’s time to begin an orderly withdrawal.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin offered that position in a televised response to the president’s address Wednesday night.
He accused the president of taking "the wrong direction."
The lawmaker said the US is not winning "despite the courage" of US forces.
Durbin also said sending 20,000 Americans soldiers now is "too few to end the war, and too many to risk."
He also said that it is "time for the Iraqis to stand and defend their own nation."
Durbin also said the US shouldn't respond, "every time they call 911."
Republicans, however, lined up behind the plan.
Saying that she respects the president for admitting mistakes, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, says the US can’t allow Iraq to become “a safe haven for terrorists.”
Mr. Bush, she said, “is working with the Iraqi leadership to implement this new approach and it is critical that the initiative be given a chance to succeed.”
Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, commended the president for listening to commanders in the field.
"If the Commander-in-Chief and the commanders on the ground in Iraq say our troops need more bullets to achieve victory, then we should give them more bullets,” Carter said.
“If they say they need more body armor, then we need to give them more body armor. If they say they need more boots on the ground, then we need to give them more boots on the ground,” he said.
“It is wrong for the Democrats to say they support the troops if they won't give them the boots on the ground they need to achieve victory,” he said.