On Thursday the U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic-led joint resolution calling for phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 4 months and a goal of complete redeployment by the end of March 2008. The 50-48 vote included one Republican (Gordon Smith of Oregon) joining the Democrats, and three members of the Democratic caucus voting against the resolution (Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; for more analysis of Lieberman please see the February 20, 2007 Smart Politics entry).
All seven voting members of the Upper Midwest delegation from Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin voted with their party. The resolution was co-introduced by nearly the entire Democratic caucus, including Russ Feingold (WI), Herb Kohl (WI), Tom Harkin (IA), and Amy Klobuchar (MN).
The resolution described the situation in Iraq as a "civil war" requiring a political solution, although it did allow for some forces to remain behind after March 2008 to train Iraqi forces, conduct counter-terrorism operations, and protect coalition and U.s. personnel and infrastructure.
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold has been one of the few consistent anti-Iraq war voices in the Senate during the past four years and continues to call the war "one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in the history of our nation." In a recent press release Feingold stated the "failed policy" has "weakened our military readiness, sapped our resources, undermined the fight against al Qaeda and jeopardized our national security."
In a press release on the Senate Joint Resolution, Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl called Iraq a "tragic situation" with American forces acting as a "referee (in) a bloody civil war" and "stretched to the breaking point."
Iowa's Tom Harkin called the Republican victory on Thursday as an act that "ignored the overwhelming sentiment of the American people." Harkin calls the Iraq conflict a "misbetton, misguided war."
Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar struck a more cordial tone calling the vote "disappointing" and that the current open-ended commitment "does not serve the interests of our troops or the Iraqi people, who must stand up and forge the necessary political solutions."
Upper Midwestern Republican Senators Charles Grassley (IA), John Thune (SD), and Norm Coleman (MN) have not yet released official press releases on the defeat of the Senate resolution.