Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Eleven House Republicans break ranks
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly a dozen Republican congressmen broke ranks with party leaders Wednesday to endorse a resolution opposing President Bush's plan to send more than 21,000 additional troops to Iraq.
"If you find out you're going the wrong way down the interstate, you do not keep going -- you get off at the next exit," Rep. John Duncan, R-Tennessee, said during the second day of debate on the non-binding resolution in the House of Representatives.
Duncan was one of 11 Republicans who supported the Democratic-drafted resolution opposing Bush's "new way forward" in Iraq. The measure expresses support for American troops, but goes on to state that "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush, announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."
Duncan ticked off a list of prominent conservatives who now consider the 2003 invasion of Iraq a mistake and oppose the plan, from National Review founder William F. Buckley to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. And Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican who is co-sponsoring the resolution, quoted several current and former generals who consider the planned increase in troops a mistake.
"Let's work with the president to find an end point to this strategy," said Jones, a former war supporter who once pushed Congress to rename the "french fries" in the House cafeteria "freedom fries" after France opposed the invasion. "Let's not put our men and women in the middle of a civil war, to make them referees."
The Democratic leadership of the House plans a vote on the measure Friday. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer let Jones and the other Republicans who support the resolution use the Democrats' floor time to speak Wednesday, showcasing a split among the GOP minority.
Among Democrats, at least one -- Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia -- has said he would oppose the resolution. Marshall opposes Bush's plan and has called for a reduction in the U.S. contingent in Iraq, but he compared the resolution to "booing in the middle of our own team's play because we don't like the coach's call."
-- CNN Ticker Producer Deirdre Walsh
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