Just up the road in Vermont, Williams Alum Steven Maier and others in the legislature passed S.R. 11.

Senate Resolution Referred

S.R. 11.

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read the first time and is as follows:

By Senators Lyons, White, Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Kittell, MacDonald, McCormack, Miller, Racine, Sears and Shumlin,

S.R. 11. Senate resolution calling for the orderly withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq to commence immediately.

Whereas, in March 2003, the United States initiated a military incursion into Iraq, and

Whereas, every member of the Senate has only the greatest respect for our military forces now deployed in Iraq and the surrounding nations, and any criticism of our nation’s policy in the region must not be interpreted as lack of support for the men and women in our armed forces whose bravery is on display each day as they risk their lives, and

Whereas, approximately 2,300 Vermont National Guard troops have served in Iraq since March of 2003, and

Whereas, Vermont has had the highest number of soldiers per capita who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in this war, and

Whereas, approximately eighty Vermont National Guard troops are now deployed in Iraq, and more could be deployed in the coming months if the policies of the Bush administration continue in the current direction, and

Whereas, at the time the Iraq conflict started in March 2003, the American public was told that the primary reason for this incursion was to eliminate weapons of mass destruction that the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, had allegedly stockpiled, and it has been since documented that no weapons of mass destruction were stockpiled in Iraq at the time the American military forces entered that country, and

Whereas, it is now apparent that the United States Department of Defense did not develop an exit strategy prior to the invasion, falsely assuming that the Iraqi people would welcome United States forces with open arms and that withdrawal would not be a difficult problem, and

Whereas, the continuing and daily onslaught of sectarian violence and indications of ethnic cleansing in some areas of the nation have proven disruptive to nearly all aspects of Iraqi society, and

Whereas, over 3,000 American military personnel have died since March 2003, and

Whereas, many Vermont veterans have retuned home from Iraq and the region with significant unmet physical and mental health care needs, and

Whereas, the cost of this war according to the Congressional Research Service is at least $379 billion, and

Whereas, based on the state’s population, Vermont’s share of the cost exceeds $750 million dollars, and

Whereas, these costs will have a significant impact on Vermont households and the Vermont state budget process for years to come, and

Whereas, the Bush administration recently called for and has started to implement an escalation in the number of American military troops actively engaged in Iraq, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate of the State of Vermont believes that an escalation of American troops in Iraq is exactly the wrong foreign policy direction, and that the presence of American troops in Iraq has not and will not contribute to the stability of that nation, the region, or the security of Americans at home or abroad, and be it further

Resolved: That the Senate of the State of Vermont urges Governor Douglas to enlist the support of other members of the National Governors Association to speak out against the war in Iraq and the announced troop surge and to support a withdrawal from Iraq of American troops, and be it further

Resolved: That the Senate of the State of Vermont urges the President and Congress to commence immediately the orderly withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq, and be it further

Resolved: That the Senate of the State of Vermont calls on the Bush administration and Congress to fund fully all veterans’ benefits to care appropriately for our brave men and women when they return from this war, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of the Senate be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Governor James H. Douglas, and to the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and the Vermont Congressional delegation.

Thereupon, the President, in his discretion, treated the joint resolution as a bill and referred it to the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

Bill Passed

Sears is a local State Senator from Bennington County.

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