Retired Iraq commander backs Democratic proposal to bring troops home

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad, says he supports Democratic legislation that calls for most American troops to come home from Iraq within a year. His comments are welcome ammunition for the Democratic-controlled Congress in its standoff with the White House on war spending. This month, the House of Representatives passed a $50 billion bill that would pay for combat operations but set the goal that combat end by December 15, 2008. The White House threatened to veto the measure, and President George W. Bush's Republican colleagues in the Senate blocked its passage. The Defense Department said Tuesday that as many as 200,000 civilian employees and contractors will begin receiving layoff warnings by Christmas unless Congress approves a war spending bill that Bush will sign. "The improvements in security produced by the courage and blood of our troops have not been matched by a willingness on the part of Iraqi leaders to make the hard choices necessary to bring peace to their country," Sanchez said in remarks to be aired Saturday for the weekly Democratic radio address.