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Kohl Questions Rumsfeld and Rice on Direction of Iraq War

Location: Washington, DC


U.S. Senator Herb Kohl today participated in a briefing by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who were in the Capitol this afternoon for a confidential Senators-Only briefing on Iraq, North Korea and other issues. A bipartisan majority of the Senate agreed last year that 2006 needs to be a year of transition toward a successful conclusion to U.S. involvement in Iraq.

"As I've said on many occasions, President Bush misused and abused Congressional authority leading up to the Iraq war, and has made mistakes at virtually every turn. Looking forward, I remain concerned that the Administration's commitment in Iraq is too broad, and that they still lack a firm timetable for the orderly and honorable withdrawal of our troops. The American people don't want an open-ended commitment in Iraq and we are urging the Administration to produce a clear plan for ending our obligations there. Americans -- and especially our brave fighting men and women -- deserve answers to their legitimate questions about how much longer this bloody war will continue, and to what end," Kohl said.

Last year Kohl supported legislation sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) which called on the President to make 2006 a year of transition between U.S. and Iraqi control. Senator Levin has also suggested that the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds are all counting on the U.S. presence in Iraq to keep the country from falling into civil war. He argues that the U.S. should use that leverage to motivate the Iraqis to make the necessary compromises to achieve the broadly-based political settlement that is essential for defeating the insurgency -- that the U.S. should tell the Iraqis that if they fail to reach a solution by the time table that they have set forth, that the U.S. will consider a time table for the reduction of our forces.

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