Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rep. Boren opposes soldier increase

By JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Dan Boren announced Tuesday that he opposed President Bush's expected proposal to send more soldiers into the Iraq war.

"This type of escalation would increase the casualties Oklahomans face with no guarantee of success," the Oklahoma Democrat said, adding that U.S. troops are now caught in the middle of a civil war.

Boren described a troop increase as a temporary solution. What is needed in the war is a long-term strategy to turn control over to the Iraqis, he said.

Boren spoke a day before Bush is scheduled to address the country to lay out a strategy for the war.

Although the White House continued to keep details of Bush's speech under wraps, lawmakers who have been briefed by top officials say they expect him to announce that he will send up to 20,000 more troops to Iraq.

Boren, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and other Democrats will attend a briefing Wednesday by top presidential advisers.

He said Bush's anticipated remarks on Wednesday would not change his position.

Boren, however, said he would not support any effort in Congress to ban funding for such a troop surge or to cap the number of military personnel in Iraq. Key Democrats have made various comments about options in recent days as the war drew more focus.

"We get into troubled waters when the Congress, with 535 members, tries to micromanage a war," Boren said, adding that such a decision should rest with the commander-in-chief.

"I will not vote to cut off funding for even one American placed in harm's way."

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and other lawmakers met Tuesday at the White House with Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top administration officials.

Cole said the plan to increase the number of troops was only one part of a comprehensive strategy for Iraq. He said he supported the plan.

He added, however, "With this said, the patience of the American people is not unlimited."

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