By Chris Good - 02/21/07 12:00 AM EST
Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday he does not think Democratic congressional leaders will be able to stop President Bush from sending additional troops to Iraq.
Asked in an interview with ABC News whether Democrats had the power to stop the surge, Cheney said: "I don't think so. The question is whether or not they have the votes."
The vice president said he believes the strategy on Iraq that Democrats are pursuing is a "policy of defeat" and indicated that he views the passage of a non-binding resolution in the House last week as political posturing. However, Cheney, who is on a trip to Asia and Australia and was speaking on board the USS Kitty Hawk in Yokosuka, Japan, also said it is important that Congress debate the issue.
Some anti-war Democrats are exploring options on how they can prevent the troop surge and begin bringing soldiers home. While Democrats have maintained they support the troops serving in Iraq and would not cut off any funds if such a move could endanger the soldiers, considerations are under way whether Congress can use its constitutional power to prevent Bush's plan.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, support a plan that would place conditions on some war funds. Murtha wants to withhold funds if the Pentagon fails to meet standards of equipment, training, and time at home for newly sent troops.
Cheney asserted that, if Congress were to prevent the "surge," it would validate al Qaeda in its attempts to "break the will of the American people."
The vice president said Pelosi's plan of getting troops out of Iraq would have "devastating long-term consequences in the global war on terror.
"You can't look at Iraq in isolation," Cheney stated. "You can't quit in one place and then persuade all your allies who are helping you in all those other theaters, if you will, to continue the fight."