MINNEAPOLIS- The United States needs to send a clear message to the Iraqi government that American troops won't stay there indefinitely, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in the Democratic response to the president's weekly radio address.
Klobuchar, a freshman from Minnesota who visited Baghdad and Fallujah last month, said the best thing America can do for its troops is to get its Iraq policy right.
"This means sending a clear message to the Iraqi government that we are not staying there indefinitely," she said. "This means, as recommended by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, that we begin the process of redeploying our troops with the goal of withdrawing combat forces by next year."
While the president's radio address and the Democratic response air on Saturday mornings, both the White House and Klobuchar's office released their texts Friday.
Klobuchar said she was part of a group of four senators who met with President Bush at the White House last week.
"I told him that now is the time to forge cooperation with our Democrats in Congress," she said.
Klobuchar said it might be necessary for some troops to stay in Iraq to train Iraqi police, to provide security for American forces that remain behind, and to conduct special operations.
"This means not a surge in troops but a surge in diplomacy, economy and Iraqi responsibility," she said.
Klobuchar said American forces deserve to be treated as "first-class soldiers" when Advertisement they come home, with proper benefits and support.
"Our troops have done what you've asked them to do, Mr. President," she said. "They deposed an evil dictator. They gave the Iraqi people the opportunity to vote and establish a new government. And now the Iraqi government has the responsibility to govern."
Klobuchar noted that 3,000 of the 22,000 troops involved in the surge ordered by President Bush are Minnesota National Guard and Reserve members. . . .