Thursday, February 15, 2007

11 more Republicans get behind Iraq rebuke

The lawmakers take to the House floor to show support, reflecting the rising anxiety within the GOP over the war.

WASHINGTON — In a striking display of dissension, a group of Republican lawmakers broke ranks with the White House on Wednesday and embraced a resolution opposing more U.S. troops in Iraq — airing their criticism even as President Bush publicly defended his plan.

Bush questioned the message that expected House approval of the nonbinding resolution would send, saying at a news conference: "People are watching what happens here in America. The enemy listens to what's happening. The Iraqi people listen to the words…. They're wondering about our commitment to this cause."

Undaunted, 11 GOP lawmakers, including normally staunch Bush allies who represent districts he carried in his presidential campaigns, took to the House floor to express their support for a Democratic-sponsored resolution renouncing Bush's decision to add 21,500 troops to the roughly 135,000 already in Iraq.

The Republicans complained that the U.S. military finds itself in the middle of a civil war, that the Iraqis haven't done enough to make their country safe and that a "surge" in diplomacy — not troops — is needed.

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