(February 16, 2007)—Saying blind allegiance to the Executive Branch is not a constitutional principle, Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, said he would vote for a House resolution opposing the president’s plan to send 21, 500 additional US troops to Iraq to try to curb sectarian violence in Anbar Province and in Baghdad, where thousands of 1st Cavalry Division troops are serving as part of Multinational Division Baghdad.
“It’s time for Congress to give voice to the clear majority of people who oppose escalation in Iraq,” Edwards said from the House floor as debate on the resolution neared an end.
“I personally hope and pray (the president) is right,” Edwards said.
“However in good conscience I must express my profound concerns for this policy,” he said.
After almost four years of fighting, Edwards said, two facts are indisputable: US service men and women have served with courage and professionalism and policy makers have made major mistakes that have complicated the task of the US military at every step.
He said he wants US troops to be fighting terrorists, not standing on street corners as targets for Sunni and Shiite insurgents.
It’s time, he said, to send a wake up call to Iraqi leaders that the US has sacrificed thousands of lives and billions of dollars, but won’t do so forever.
“This is not a test of America’s will,” he said. “Rather it is a test of the Iraqi government’s will to make the tough choices to ensure its own future.”
“This resolution will send an unequivocal message to Iraqi political leaders that the time to end their corruption, incompetence and sectarian favoritism is over.”
Edwards also said the buildup to a spring offensive in Afghanistan definitely means a need for additional troops there to prevent the chaos that’s rampant in Iraq.
The House is expected to vote on the resolution later Friday and the Senate plans an initial vote on a similar resolution on Saturday.
White House spokesman Tony Snow says there will be no arm twisting to stop it the resolution, but he says there will be a fight if Congress tried to cut funds for the troops.
While only a handful of Democrats are expected to vote against the resolution, vote counters say dozens of Republicans could cross party lines to vote for it.