Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007

Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007

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On January 30, 2007, then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 introduced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 . The plan would have stopped the 2007 U.S. Troop Surge of 21,500 in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and would also have begun a phased redeployment of troops from Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 with the goal of removing all combat forces by March 31, 2008. The bill was referred to committee and failed to become law in the 110th Congress
110th United States Congress
The One Hundred Tenth United States Congress was the meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, between January 3, 2007, and January 3, 2009, during the last two years of the second term of President George W. Bush. It was composed of the Senate and the House of...

.

Obama announced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act after President Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 announced an increase in the number of troops fighting in Iraq, and after the State of the Union Address. Obama released a statement saying, "Our troops have performed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war," Obama said, alluding to Michael Scott Doran's essay "Somebody Else's Civil War" published in the Foreign Affairs journal in 2002. "That's why I have introduced a plan to not only stop the escalation of this war, but begin a phased redeployment that can pressure the Iraqis to finally reach a political settlement and reduce the violence."

Barack Obama has been critical of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, and has been an outspoken critic before the war began in 2003. The legislation proposed by Obama is similar to the plan called for in the Iraq Study Group
Iraq Study Group
The Iraq Study group , was a ten-person bipartisan panel appointed on March 15, 2006, by the United States Congress, that was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and the US-led Iraq War and making policy recommendations...

 report issued in December, 2006.

Important aspects of the plan

  • Binding legislation that would not be able to be bypassed without explicit Congressional approval.
  • Caps the number of U.S. troops at the January 10, 2007 level.
  • Does not affect the funding of the troops.
  • Initiates a phased redeployment beginning on May 1, 2007 with a goal of total redeployment of combat forces on March 31, 2008, consistent with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's
    Iraq Study Group
    The Iraq Study group , was a ten-person bipartisan panel appointed on March 15, 2006, by the United States Congress, that was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and the US-led Iraq War and making policy recommendations...

     Report.
  • Enforces benchmarks
    Iraq withdrawal benchmarks
    The Iraq withdrawal benchmarks are a series of benchmarks the U.S. Government under the Bush administration have asked the Iraqi government to meet before the withdrawal of U.S...

     for Iraq's government including Security, political reconciliation and economic reform. If the benchmarks are met, the redeployment could be temporarily suspended upon congressional approval.
  • Maintains a military presence in the region for force protection, training of Iraqi forces, and pursuing international terrorists.
  • Requires Congressional oversight with the President reporting a progress report on Iraq to Congress every 90 days.
  • Intensifies training of Iraqi security forces to enable Iraqis to take over the security responsibilities for Iraq.
  • Puts conditions on economic assistance to the Government of Iraq based on progress towards benchmarks.
  • Attempts to create more regional diplomacy with key nations in the region to help achieve a political settlement among the Iraqi people, and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and regional conflict.

Criticism


Obama's support for the bill and general opposition of the surge pushed forth by David Petraeus
David Petraeus
David Howell Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sworn in on September 6, 2011. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander...

 has garnered him criticism from Republicans and a few pro-war Democrats. Senator John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

, his opponent in the recent Presidential Election, has said that Obama was wrong to oppose the surge, pointing to the decreased levels of the violence that Obama said the surge would raise. Obama's campaign removed the candidate's criticism of the surge from his website however he says that his position on Iraq is unchanged, and he still supports a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

See also

  • Withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq#Congressional proposals and acts
  • Strategic reset
    Strategic reset
    Strategic reset is a policy framework designed to stop counterproductive U.S. engagement in a fragmenting Iraq and to strengthen the United States' stance throughout the Middle East. In military terms, "reset" refers to "a series of actions to restore units to a desired level of combat capability...