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WASHINGTON, June 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Senate Democrats proposed on Monday that the United States start pulling out its troops from Iraq this year.
Under the proposal, the United States should begin the phased redeployment or pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2006, and the administration should submit a plan by the end of 2006 for continued phased redeployment from 2007 on.
It would also transform the role of troops left in Iraq to a "limited mission" of training and logistical support for Iraqi security forces, protection of U.S. personnel and facilities, and targeted counter terrorism operations.
The proposal, to be offered as an amendment to a major defense bill that the Senate took up last week, was designed to give Democrats a unified position on Iraq as the November midterm elections were less than five months away.
The amendment would not establish a timetable for withdrawal, but would signal to the Iraqis that the U.S. deployment was not open-ended, said Democratic Senator Carl Levin, the ranking member on the Senate's Armed Services Committee.
"Our amendment does not address the speed or the pace of the phased redeployment that we call for. In other words, our amendment does not establish a timetable for redeployment," he said.
"Three-and-a-half years into the conflict, we should tell the Iraqis that the American security blanket is not permanent," said Levin, who introduced the amendment along with several Democratic colleagues in the Senate.
The proposal was immediately rejected by Republicans. "Let me be clear: Retreat is not a solution," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Enditem
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