Russ Feingold on The War in Iraq

Last Updated : Dec 17, 2010

Summary

Senator Russ Feingold has been a vocal opponent to the war in Iraq since its inception.  He voted against the authorization for the use of force in Iraq and stated that the President brought us into the war under fraudulent premises. Senator Feingold stated that the war in Iraq was a civil war and that the US had created a humanitarian crisis there.

Senator Feingold has repeatedly called for the removal of US troops from Iraq, and claims to be the first Senator to call for a phased withdrawal from Iraq. He argued that Congress had the authority to defund the war and thus bring it to an end. He asserted that the 2006 elections were a sign that the country wanted the war ended.

Senator Feingold strongly opposed the surge strategy in Iraq. At one point, Senator Feingold stated that the soldiers in Iraq were dying for no reason, and that more troops would not solve a problem that needed a political solution. After violence in the country subsided, Senator Feingold cautioned that this was not a sign that the surge had succeeded.

In addition to ending combat operations, Senator Feingold has cautioned that no troops remain in Iraq on a permanent basis.

 

Opposition to the War

Senator Feingold voted against the authorization for the use of force in Iraq. He remained a consistent opponent to the war and in June of 2006, Senator Feingold spoke at the Democratic State Convention about the Iraq war and stated that it has hurt us and made us weaker.

In September of 2007, Senator Feingold questioned General Petraus and made statements that called the decision to go to war in Iraq a mistake. 

On the fifth anniversary of the authorization for the use of force, Senator Feingold spoke on the Senate floor about his opposition to war in Iraq. He states that only a political solution is going to succeed. He states that our enemies have been made stronger by the war and not weaker. He calls the war in Iraq fraudulent.

Senator Feingold also released a press statement around that time in which he cited a recent report which he stated vindicated his claim that the President misled the country to pull the US into the war in Iraq.

 

Opposition to the Surge

In January of 2007, Senator Feingold issued a press statement noting his opposition to the surge strategy in Iraq. He stated that the American people spoke at the ballot box and opposed the plan.

In February of 2008, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting legislation that he had introduced to remove the troops from Iraq without a definitive date (he also attempted legislation with a removal date). Senator Feingold also addresses what some people saw as the success of the surge by stating that any downturn in violence was not due to the success of the surge.

In April of 2009, Senator Feingold appeared on "This Week" with George Stephanopolous and stated that the surge was not working and that American troops were dying for no good reason.

 

Legislation to Redeploy Troops

In December of 2006, Senator Feingold appeared on Countdown with Keith Olberman and spoke about the recommendations of the Iraq study group.

In January of 2007, Senator Feingold spoke on the Senate floor and called the recent elections a referendum on the war and a show of the countries desire to end the war. He states that the Congress has the authority to end the war by defunding it.

In January of 2007 Senator Feingold appeared again on Countdown with Keith Olberman and called for removing the troops from Iraq.

Senator Feingold has repeatedly attempted to remove the troops from Iraq and redeploy them to other areas. In April of 2007, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting legislation that he had introduced to force the President to redeploy troops from Iraq.

In July of 2007, Senator Feingold spoke about the desire to withdraw or remain in Iraq, but not the establish the logic that we must remain there because we are already there.

In September of 2007, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting his belief that there should be no open-ended timeline for troops to remain in Iraq. In December of 2007, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting that there should be no open-ended timeline and that Congress can use the power of the purse to defund the war.

 

Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq

In June of 2007, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting what he believed was a humanitarian crisis which was unfolding in Iraq. He stated that he was not sure about the cause of the refugees in and around Iraq, but he was sure that it was due to the poor planning in the Iraq war.

 

Censure the President

In July of 2007, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting his belief that President Bush should be censured for actions taken in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

 

Permanent Bases in Iraq

In April of 2008, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting his opposition to a letter sent to President Bush by members of Congress that encouraged him to follow the advice of General Petraeus. He states that there should not be tens of thousands of troops left in Iraq after operations cease there.

In February of 2009, Senator Feingold reiterated this opinion under President Obama when he praised his decision to end the war in Iraq. In a press statement, Senator Feingold noted that ending the war meant removing all troops and not leaving tens of thousands of troops there permanently.

    

Drawdown of Troops Too Slow

In August of 2010, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting his belief that the pace of redeployment of troops from Iraq is too slow.

 

Statements on 2010 campaign website

 

 

Voting Record

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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of the phased redeployment plan.

Russ Feingold voted in favor of the phased redeployment 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) Russ Feingold voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Russ Feingold 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). Russ Feingold voted in favor of S470 (disapproved of the surge) by voting for cloture.

Russ Feingold voted in favor of S470 (disapproved of the surge) by voting for cloture.

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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Russ Feingold voted to support 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. Russ Feingold voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Russ Feingold voted to support 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. Russ Feingold voted against giving the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

Russ Feingold voted against giving the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S J Res 9; United States Policy in Iraq Resolution of 2007 - Cosponsor

Directs the President to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of this joint resolution with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008, all U.S. combat forces from Iraq, except for a limited number essential for protecting U.S. and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. Requires the President to transition the U.S. forces' mission in Iraq promptly to such purposes. States that such redeployment shall be implemented as part of a diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community in order to bring stability to Iraq. Directs the President, not later than 60 days after enactment of this Act and every 90 days thereafter, to report to Congress on the progress made in such mission transition and force redeployment.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 2633; A bill to provide for the safe redeployment of United States troops from Iraq. - Prime Sponsor

Directs the President to transition the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq to the following purposes: conducting limited scope and duration operations against al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations; providing security for U.S. infrastructure and personnel; training and equipping Iraqi security services and U.S. forces; redeploying U.S. forces from Iraq. Exempts such activities from the funding and redeployment provisions of this Act. Directs the President to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. Prohibits funds from being obligated or expended to continue the U.S. Armed Forces deployment in Iraq as of 120 days after the enactment of this Act.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 1077; Transition the mission - Prime Sponsor

Directs the President to transition the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq to the following purposes: (1) conducting limited scope and duration operations against al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations; (2) providing security for U.S. infrastructure and personnel; and (3) training and equipping Iraqi security services.

User Comments