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Senate approves resolution backing war

From Dana Bash
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate passed a bipartisan resolution Friday expressing support for President Bush and the war on terrorism.

A week after Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, caused a stir by questioning the direction of the war effort, the Senate unanimously passed the resolution, which the Democratic leader proposed and crafted.

"The Senate reaffirms that it stands united with the president in the ongoing effort to defeat terrorism," it states.

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This is a change from an earlier draft, which was more specific to the fight in Afghanistan. That version stated that the Senate stands united behind the president "to destroy al Qaeda." Democratic leadership sources said the language was broadened at the request of Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia.

The resolution also expresses "the gratitude of the nation" to the U.S. armed forces and "condolences to the families of the brave American service personnel who have lost their lives defending America in the war against terrorism."

Daschle said Friday's resolution was necessary to restate the support for the U.S. war on terrorism previously expressed in a resolution passed immediately after September 11 attacks .

"On September 14th, we voted unanimously to send our troops into action against the perpetrators of the cowardly and heinous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. That was our constitutional duty, and it is one that none of us takes lightly," Daschle said on the Senate floor.

Daschle has been critical of what he calls the lack of communication between the White House and Congress over where the war is headed, saying lawmakers have a constitutional duty to be informed.

Daschle aides said Friday's resolution does not contradict what Daschle told reporters last week. Daschle said he supported the president, but believed that if the war ended without the United States finding Osama bin Laden, other leaders of al Qaeda and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, then the mission would have failed.

The idea of passing a non-binding measure was floated by Daschle's staff with the office of Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, on Tuesday night after six soldiers and a Navy SEAL died in Afghanistan, according to Daschle aides.

At Lott's request, the resolution also notes "the first priority of Congress is to provide our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with the necessary resources and tools required for victory."




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