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More Republicans oppose Iraq troop increase

india Updated: Jan 23, 2007 11:44 IST
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Congressional Republicans pushed back against President George W Bush's decision to increase US troop strength in Iraq, some voicing opposition while others urged holding the administration and Iraqi government more accountable for the war effort.

"We've had four other surges since we first went into Iraq," Sen Susan Collins, a Republican, said on Sunday, referring to the administration's plan for an additional 21,500 troops.

"None of them produced a long-lasting change in the situation on the ground. So I am very skeptical that this surge would produce the desired outcome," she said.

In the Senate, Collins joined two Republicans and one Democrat to unveil nonbinding legislation expressing disagreement with Bush's plan.

The president should consider "all options and alternatives" involving a smaller force, the measure said.

In the House of Representatives, members of the leadership drafted a series of what they called "strategic benchmarks," and said the White House should submit monthly reports to Congress measuring progress.

The developments occurred on the eve of Bush's State of the Union address, and as Democrats pointed toward votes in the House and Senate on bills declaring that the troop increase is "not in the national interest of the United States."

Republicans have struggled to respond in the two weeks since Bush outlined his new strategy.

Though aware that the war played a role in the party's defeat in last November's elections, most have been unwilling to abandon a president of their own party.

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