Olympia Snowe on The War in Iraq

Last Updated : Nov 18, 2011

Summary

Senator Snowe was initially supportive of the war in Iraq. In addition to voting in favor of granting President Bush the authority to use force, she responded to the first Iraqi elections in 2005 by stating that our troops and our nation have made incalculable sacrifices for the liberation of Iraq from the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, and that the future of Iraq was now in the hands of the Iraqi people.

By November of 2005, Senator Snowe had joined other voices in calling for an exit strategy from Iraq and stated that it was incumbent on the President to establish an exit strategy of definitive benchmarks that will result in the transition to Iraqi independence and a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops. However, Senator Snowe stated that she opposed a timetable for withdrawal as detrimental to war efforts. In 2006, Senator Snowe supported an amendment to reassert Congressional authority over the war and stated that the troops should return home at the earliest possible time. The stated that the legislation laid out an explicit plan based on the conditions on the ground – not on timetables that empower the terrorists and leave our troops vulnerable to further attack, and that it also requires specific quarterly reports from the President to Congress and the American people with regard to the security situation in Iraq. The benchmarks to be met included handing over authority to the Iraqi government.

By late 2006, Senator Snowe was calling for a new strategy, stating that the bottom line is if Iraq is not going to transition (into a peaceful government) as the Congress has called for (in the benchmarks), then our strategy must undergo a transformation. In response to an Iraq study group report, Senator Snowe stated that the US must not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of troops deployed in Iraq and that the Iraqi government must understand in no uncertain terms that our presence is neither open-ended nor unconditional and that it is up to them to take control of their country by containing the escalating sectarian violence.

In 2007, Senator Snowe opposed the surge strategy proposed by President Bush. She voted in favor of a resolution condemning the plan and stated that the resolution was an expression of the American people’s frustration with the current Iraq policy. She stated that the focus should be on a diplomatic and political solution as a military solution is no longer feasible in Iraq. She asserted that an increase in troops will not solve the root causes of violence in Iraq and she did not believe that the Iraqi government had shown the will or the capacity to bring about effective national reconciliation.

While opposing timetables and 120 day limits for withdrawal, Senator Snowe remained critical of the strategy, of pre-war intelligence, and of post-war planning for Iraq.

 

Handover of Iraq

In June of 2004, Senator Snowe released press statements marking the selection of an Iraqi interim government, the passage of a UN resolution on Iraqi sovereignty, and the handover of Iraq to it's government

 

Statement on Elections

In January of 2005, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for recent elections held in Iraq.

 

Exit Strategy

In November of 2005, Senator Snowe voted in favor of legislation to call for an exit strategy in Iraq. She released a press statement noting her support for the bill.

In December of 2005, President Bush gave a speech to the people of Iraq. Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for the Iraqi people and a call for an exit strategy.

 

Support for Withdrawal

In June of 2006, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for an amendment that called for removing the troops from Iraq as early as possible and returning control to the Iraqi people.

 

Iraq Intelligence Report

In September of 2006, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her committee vote to release the first two sections of the Iraq Intelligence report.

 

Call for Reassessment of Strategy

In September of 2006, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for a reassessment of strategy for the war in Iraq.

 

Iraq Study Group Report

In December of 2006, Senator Snowe released a statement noting her belief that the Iraq study group report should be followed.

 

The Surge

In January of 2007, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her belief that a new course is Iraq was necessary.

In February of 2007, Senator Snowe released another statement citing a National Intelligence Report that called the road to stability in Iraq challenging. She noted her opposition to the surge and her support for withdrawing the troops.

Senator Snowe released another press statement in the following days that noted her cosponsorship of legislation to prohibit increasing troops in Iraq and her belief that funding for the surge should at least be debated.

Later in February , Senator Snowe spoke on the Senate floor about her opposition to the surge.

After voting to allow debate on a resolution disapproving of the surge, Senator Snowe issued a press statement noting so.

In May of 2007, Senator Snowe appeared on Eye to Eye and spoke about legislation she was supporting that would require political benchmarks in Iraq to secure future funding. She stated that there was no military solution in Iraq, only a political one.

 

 

Opposition to 120 Day Withdraw

In March of 2007, Senator Snowe voted against setting a 120 deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq. She issued a press statement noting this opposition. 

 

A New Direction

In March of 2007, Senator Snowe renewed her call for a new direction for American involvement in Iraq. She issued a press statement noting this desire.

 

Prewar Intelligence in Postwar Iraq

In May of 2007, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for adopting a portion of the Intelligence Committee Investigation which focused on intelligence in Iraq.

 

Reaction to Progress Report

In August of 2007, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her disappointment at the failure of Iraq to meet benchmarks set for the political progress in the country.

 

Reaction to GAO Report

In September of 2007, Senator Snowe released a statement noting her disappointment at the failure of the country of Iraq to meet the deadlines and goals established.

 

Reaction to Troop Withdrawal

In October of 2011, Senator Snowe issued a press statement noting her reaction to President Obama's declaration that troops will be leaving Iraq by the end of the year.

Voting Record

Repealing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq

In November of 2011, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky proposed an amendment to the yearly defense appropriations act that would have repealed the authorization for the use of force in Iraq. The amendment failed 30-67 with Democrats equally split and a vast majority of Republicans opposing the measure. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of repealing the authorization for the use of force in Iraq.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of repealing the authorization for the use of force in Iraq.

Phased Redeployment

On March 15, 2007, S J Res 9 was put forth in an attempt to convince President Bush to commit to timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The bill was titled "United States Policy in Iraq Resolution of 2007 - Phased Redeployment" and called upon the President to begin the withdrawal of troops from Iraq within 120 days of the enactment of the legislation, and to have all troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. The bill was defeated on roll call 75, which was largely among partisan lines with 1 Republican joining the Democrats and 3 Democrats joining the rest of the Republicans. Olympia Snowe voted against the phased redployment plan.

Olympia Snowe voted against the phased redployment plan.

Approval of the Surge Strategy

The second piece of legislation was S 574, and it came up for a vote on February 17 and had two main points of emphasis : the Senate continued to support the troops already on the ground in Iraq; and the Senate disapproved of the President\'s surge strategy. The bill only got 56 of the 60 votes required for cloture. 7 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation while only 1 Democrat sided with the Republicans. 10 Senators cast a "No Vote" (9 R and 1 D). (roll call) Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Approval of the Surge Strategy

On January 10, 2007, President Bush announced a "surge" strategy in which 20,000 additional troops would be sent to Iraq to bolster the troops already there. In February of 2007, the US Senate voted on two bills with the purposes of expressing the Senate\'s disapproval of this strategy. S 470 was the first such piece of legislation, and it came up for a vote on the Senate floor on February 5, 2007. Along with expressing the disapproval of the Senate towards the President\'s recently announced strategy, the bill also outlined a series of strategy suggestions for the President. These suggestions included the transfer of equipment to Iraqi officials, the continuing of operations in the Anbar province, and numerous other items. The bill only got 49 of the 60 votes required for cloture. Only 2 members of each party voted with the opposing party with almost all Democrats voting to disapprove the surge and almost all Republicans voting to approve of the strategy by refusing to allow the legislation a cloture vote. (roll call 44). Olympia Snowe voted against cloture on S470 and therefore supported the surge.

Olympia Snowe voted against cloture on S470 and therefore supported the surge.

To provide for a reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq

In September of 2007, the Senate voted on an amendment by Senator Levin to require that all troops begin to be withdrawn within 90 days. The amendment also stated that the troops remaining in Iraq would only be there for the purposes of protecting US personnel and infrastructure. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Dwell Time

In September of 2007, the Senate voted on a measure to require US servicemen be stationed at home for an amount of time equal to their deployment time. The measure received a majority of votes, but not the number required to pass. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Contract Award Overview

Later in the year, the same amendment was introduced into the Senate by Senator Dorgan. This amendment has the same purpose and failed to achieve the needed votes by a simlar margin. Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment to create the special committee.

Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment to create the special committee.

Contract Award Overview

In 2005, a series of accidents at military bases in Iraq which were built by US contractors such as Halliburton, prompted Congress to call for investigations into the awarding of contracts. There were two ammendments introduced to separate pieces of legislation to attempt to accomplish the goal of investigating the contract awards process. roll call 228 concerned the Dorgan amendment, and was the first attempt to establish a special committee on the awarding of contracts in Iraq. The amendment failed by a narrow margin in a 53-44 vote. Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment to create the special committee.

Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment to create the special committee.

Authorization for the use of Force in Iraq

On October 11, 2002 the US Senate cast the first vote concerning the war in Iraq. This vote was to authorize the use of military force against Iraq (H J Res 114). Although the vote to authorize the use of force in Afghanistan was unanimous, the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq passed 77-23. All but 2 of the 50 Republicans supported the legilslation while 29 of the 50 Democrats voted to authorize the use of force. Olympia Snowe voted to give the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

Olympia Snowe voted to give the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S Con Res 2; A concurrent resolution expressing the bipartisan resolution on Iraq. - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) it is not in the U.S. national interest to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by increasing the U.S. military presence in Iraq; (2) the primary objective of U.S. strategy in Iraq should be to have the Iraqi political leaders make the political compromises necessary to end the violence in Iraq; (3) greater regional and international support would assist the Iraqis in achieving a political solution and national reconciliation; (4) main elements of U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to helping ensure Iraq's territorial integrity, conduct counterterrorism activities, reduce regional interference in Iraq's internal affairs, and accelerate training of Iraqi troops; (5) the United States should transfer, under an appropriately expedited timeline, responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence in Iraq to the government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces; and (6) the United States should engage nations in the Middle East to develop a regional, internationally-sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Iraq.

Session-110; Bill Number-S Con Res 7; Expressing Disapproval of the Surge - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the Senate disagrees with the plan to augment our forces in Iraq by 21,500 and urges the President to consider all options for achieving the strategic goals set forth below; (2) the Senate believes the United States should continue operations in Anbar province, specifically for the purpose of combating an insurgency, including Al Qaeda associated elements, and denying terrorists a safe haven; (3) the Senate believes a failed state in Iraq would present a threat to regional and world peace, and the long-term U.S. security interests are best served by an Iraq that can govern and defend itself and serve as an ally in the war against extremists;

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