Most members of the Minnesota congressional delegation oppose President Bush's expected plan to send up to 20,000 more troops to Iraq, questioning whether it will succeed in bringing violence under control.
Bush plans to lay out the plan in a speech Wednesday night.
"I'm pretty skeptical that it's going to work," said Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat. "But I'm willing to consider it. From everything I know at this point, I don't think that's going to solve anything. It depends on the plan he's got." (Related: Ellison wants withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq)
Rep. Jim Oberstar, a Democrat, called on Bush to reject the idea of an escalation.
"Our troops are in the cross-hairs of a Sunni-Shiite conflict that has gone on for thousands of years," he said. "They have become the focal point of the violence in Iraq. Adding more troops to the mix is a recipe for chaos."
He added that it was time for Iraq to handle its own security.
Rep. Jim Ramstad, a Republican, said that a surge in troops "would be counterproductive and perpetuate dependency by Iraqi forces, increase resistance by the Iraqi people, create more targets and stretch our military too thin."
He said that U.S. troops should focus instead on training Iraqi troops to secure their own country.
Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat, called the escalation a "terrible decision."
"The president should be focused on redeploying our troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007," she said, "and clearly putting the Iraqi government on notice that they are a sovereign nation, and they must be responsible for their own security."
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she opposes the escalation.
"Sending even more American soldiers to Iraq is not the change of course that the American public has been seeking, nor is it the change of course that our military forces deserve," she said.
GOP Sen. Norm Coleman said the key to ending violence in Iraq is reconciliation, not more troops.
"While final details of the president's plan are not yet available, I continue to oppose a surge in troops in Baghdad," he said. But Coleman said he was encouraged that Bush is also expected to call for benchmarks on the part of the Iraqis to demonstrate progress.
Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, an Army National Guard veteran, opposes the escalation because he believes it is neither a short-term nor long-term solution to the problems in Iraq, said his spokeswoman, Meredith Salsbery.
A couple of Minnesota Republicans were open to the idea.
Rep. John Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he doesn't have an objection to an escalation, although he doesn't see it as a long-term fix.
Rep. Michele Bachmann said, "Increased troop presence is justifiable if that measure would bring a swift conclusion to a difficult conflict, and if it would mean dealing a paralyzing blow to terrorist actions against Americans."
By Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press Writer
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)