LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed a resolution Monday calling for the Bush administration to begin planning for the swift withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
A chaotic debate on the motion echoed political divisions across the country.
Fresno, Calif., Mayor Alan Autry resigned from the conference immediately after the vote, saying the group had made a "grave error" by hastily veering into foreign policy. He predicted troops could be harmed.
But supporters like Stamford, Conn., Mayor Dannel Malloy said the war was draining money from classrooms and municipal services across the country and local governments have "gotten to the boiling point."
"It's time to begin developing a plan to bring the troops home," Malloy said in an interview. "Many people see this as a very important moment in our history."
The resolution was adopted 51-47 after a debate that stalled repeatedly on questions about amendments and parliamentary procedure. At one point, a motion to table the resolution failed.
Conference President Douglas Palmer, the mayor of Trenton, N.J., said he opposed the measure because he feared it would detract attention from the conference's agenda, which included dealing with issues from global warming to clean water.
Americans are divided by the war, he said afterward, but "it's important our organization stay focused."
The largely symbolic resolution, sponsored by Providence, R.I., Mayor David Cicilline, said the conference supports U.S. troops "completely and 110 percent" but called on the Bush White House to "begin planning immediately for the swift and prudent redeployment of the U.S. Armed Forces."
It called on the federal government to provide funding for medical, psychological, housing and other services for troops when they come home.
"Continued U.S. military presence in Iraq is resulting in the tragic loss of American lives and wounding of American soldiers," the resolution said. The Iraq war "is reducing federal funds ... for needed domestic investments in education, health care, public safety, homeland security and more."
© 2007 The Associated Press
WHEREAS, the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces continue to serve in Iraq with bravery and distinction; and
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WHEREAS, the current sectarian violence in Iraq continues to claim the lives of U.S. Military Personnel and Iraqi Civilians;
WHEREAS, peace and stability can only be achieved in Iraq through the resolution of political differences within that country; and
WHEREAS, the restoration of domestic peace and order requires the active intervention and leadership of the Iraqi Government, respecting the rights of all Iraqis; and
WHEREAS, continued U.S. Military presence in Iraq is resulting in the tragic loss of American lives and wounding of American soldiers; and
WHEREAS, the continued U.S. Military presence in Iraq is reducing Federal Funds available for needed domestic investments in education, healthcare, public safety, homeland security, and more; and
WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors completely and 110 percent supports those men and women that are defending, have defended and will defend our country,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for the Administration to begin planning immediately for the swift and prudent redeployment of the US Armed Forces; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for the accelerated training of Iraq's Armed Forces to be able to maintain stability and civil order; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for future U.S. Military Aid; reconstruction funding, and other support to be tied to the achievement of verifiable goals by the Iraqi government, including ridding Iraqi security forces of militia or sectarian influence; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for the Administration, as part of a comprehensive plan for stability in the region, to convene an international conference to identify strategies and methods for reducing regional interference in Iraq and increasing regional support of achieving peace and stability in Iraq; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S Conference of Mayors calls for full funding of services to the brave men and women returning after service in the United States Armed Forces, including medical, psychological, housing and other support services, and support to local governments funding such services.