General slams GOP senators on Iraq policy
July 18, 2007

WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- A former senior U.S. combat general in Iraq Wednesday slammed GOP senators for opposing legislation to evacuate U.S. forces there.

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, former division commanding general in Iraq, said he was "disappointed" in the way most Republican senators voted to oppose the Democrat-backed legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week. President George W. Bush is expected to veto the measure.

"As a lifelong Republican, I am disappointed with the minority in the Senate," said Batiste, who serves on the board of, an anti-Iraq war activist organization. "Without a real diplomatic, economic, and political surge in Iraq, the President is continuing to sacrifice American blood and dollars on a conflict that cannot be militarily resolved, and most Republicans have just voted to rubber-stamp that.

"Our incredible all-volunteer force cannot sustain the current pace and America desperately needs a focused Middle East strategy," Batiste said. "Conservatives never have stood for using our military for nation building or refereeing civil wars, and unfortunately politicians like many Republicans in the Senate are getting away from that. Their vote was inconsistent with a true, conservative, pro-military policy."

Batiste has angered Republican legislators in the U.S. Congress with his testimony in a highly charged congressional hearing on developments in the war.

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