Kansas Senate considers opposition to increasing troops in Iraq

State Sen. Donald Betts filed the resolution

? Opposition to President Bush’s troop increase in Iraq surfaced in the Kansas Statehouse on Friday.

State Sen. Donald Betts, D-Wichita, filed a resolution that would put Kansas lawmakers on record of being opposed to Bush’s call for 21,500 more troops in Iraq.

At a minimum, the resolution states, Bush should seek approval from Congress before sending more troops, and that Congress should prohibit the president from spending taxpayer dollars on an escalation in Iraq without his first seeking congressional approval.

“We are sending 18- and 19-year-olds, at the start of their lives, to Iraq, and they are not coming home,” Betts said. The war has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers with more than 22,000 wounded.

Bush has said an increase in troop strength is needed to quell violence in the war zone.

But Betts said most Americans and military experts oppose the troop buildup.

If adopted, the resolution would have no legal authority to force Bush or Congress to do anything.

But Betts said it would give Bush, a Republican, “a clear message” of how people in a predominantly Republican state feel about the war.

State Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said Betts’ resolution was unnecessary because state lawmakers can’t affect the war effort.

“These are serious issues but clearly they are not state issues,” Schmidt said.

The measure — Senate Concurrent Resolution 1605 — will likely be referred to a committee next week.

In the U.S. Senate, the Foreign Relations Committee adopted a nonbinding resolution saying the troop increase in Iraq was “not in the national interest” of the United States.

But the Bush administration has stated it intends to proceed with its plan.