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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 1:01 p.m., Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Akaka, Inouye vote to withdraw troops from Iraq

Advertiser Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Both of Hawai'i's senators supported an unsuccessful Democratic attempt Wednesday to force the Bush administration to withdraw troops from Iraq.

U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka voted with a majority of Democrats, one independent and four Republicans in a 52-47 vote, short of the 60 needed to bring to a final vote the withdrawal amendment to the defense authorization bill for next year.

Speaking very early this morning during an all-night Senate debate, Akaka said that the war already has claimed too many lives and caused too many to be wounded and permanently injured.

"I insist we bring an end to this conflict," Akaka said. "We must make it clear to the Iraqi political leaders (that) the future of Iraq is in their hands, and they must learn to reach the political compromises necessary for a functioning democracy."

Inouye said that from the beginning, the administration has failed to make a case for waging the Iraq war. He said no weapons of mass destruction have ever been found despite the administration's claims.

"The war in Iraq, which was supposed to be a pre-emptive strike against our foes in the global war on terrorism, devolved into a civil war, and it has become a recruitment tool for al-Qaida," Inouye said.

The legislation, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., would require withdrawal of troops to begin within 120 days and be completed by the end of April.

It also would have allowed some military forces to stay in Iraq to combat terrorists, and train, equip and provide logistical support to Iraqi security forces.

Even with the Iraq situation getting worse, the administration continues "to turn a deaf ear" to the public and insist on following its failed course, Inouye said.

"Instead, we need a new direction," he said.

Contact Dennis Camire at dcamire@gns.gannett.com.