LAS VEGAS (PAI) — Further strengthening its opposition to GOP President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, the AFL-CIO Executive Council voted March 7 to demand Bush set a timetable for getting our troops out and ending U.S. involvement in Iraq. And if he doesn’t do so, their statement adds, Congress should do it for him.

Blasting Bush’s conduct of the war, the statement declares that “we should not be asking our young men and women who serve this nation in its armed forces to remain in Iraq on extended tours without proper armor and equipment, caught in an endless occupation in the midst of a civil war.”

Many of the troops — and many of the 3,100 U.S. dead — are sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and husbands and wives of workers, the statement adds. “The best way now to recognize and honor their service is to take them out of harm’s way,” it says.

In 2005, the AFL-CIO broke with the government for the first time ever on a war and peace issue. The federation called then for “rapid” withdrawal of troops from Iraq. This statement was along the same lines.

“It is time to bring our military involvement in Iraq to an end,” the statement declares.

The statement also comes as the Democratic-led 110th Congress, many of whose new members were elected on their opposition to the war, is struggling to force the Bush regime to change course and start pulling troops out.

The federation says Bush’s plan to send at least 21,500 more troops to Iraq increases the danger to them, and is not supported here at home or backed by U.S. military leaders.

“The president insists we must succeed militarily” in Iraq “to establish the conditions for a political settlement,” the statement says. “In fact the reverse is true: Unless there is the political will (among the Iraqis) to stop the violence, there can be no military solution. The U.S. presence only encourages the factions to continue their warfare and serves as a magnet for foreign interference” in Iraq, the federation says. It does not name the interferers.

The statement calls on Bush “to reconsider the recommendations” of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former GOP Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.).

“Specifically, the administration should open up a diplomatic offensive with allies and Iraq’s neighbors,” the federation said. “This should include a new initiative to revive a peace process in the Middle East and it should include a timetable for redeploying U.S. troops out of Iraq’s civil strife.

“We also call on Congress to support these actions and insist on a timetable for disengagement. If the president refuses to act, Congress must use its powers under the Constitution and act,” the statement concludes.

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