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NH lawmakers voting on Iraq resolution

CONCORD, N.H. --New Hampshire's House will vote soon on a nonbinding resolution that disapproves of President Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq.

As the state with the earliest presidential primary, New Hampshire should have a voice on the issue, said state Rep. Jim Splaine, the prime sponsor.

"That is our history," said Splaine, a Democrat from Portsmouth. "We have had major input on national and international issues."

Splaine noted presidential candidates debated the Vietnam War on New Hampshire's national stage leading up to presidential primaries in 1968 and 1972.

House Republican Leader Michael Whalley called the move "politically motivated."

"I just can't draw any connection that since we're the first-in-the-nation primary state we should weigh in on this," said Whalley of Alton.

Whalley said he doubted the House would pass the resolution.

"The House would be much more sensitive to the troops and not be put into the position of not providing the support the troops deserve," he said.

Splaine said he is still working on the resolution's language but the draft states that the House supports soldiers "who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq."

He said the draft states that the House "disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."

"We have to find a way to end this war," he said. "We have our soldiers over there, too."

Whalley said even if the resolution passed, "I don't know how much the Congress would listen."

Splaine noted that a number of state legislatures are taking up similar resolutions.

At least 20 state legislatures have introduced similar resolutions, according to the New York-based Progressive States Network.

In New Hampshire, the nonbinding resolutions are used for everything from memorializing the death of members to taking a position on global warming.

Democratic protests to the war grew louder in January after they took control of Congress and Bush announced he planned to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. Earlier this month, House Democrats pushed through a nonbinding resolution opposing the buildup.

The November elections also gave Democrats control of New Hampshire's Statehouse for the first time since the 19th century. Some attribute the sea change partly to the same anti-war mood that swept Republicans out of control of Congress.

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On the Net:

Progressive States Network: http://www.progressivestates.org/

Bluehampshire.com blog: http://www.bluehampshire.com/userDiary.do?personId139

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