The U.S. Senate narrowly keeps the timetable for troop withdrawal in the supplemental bill for the war in Iraq with a 50 to 48 vote. That means troops would have to pull out by March 31, 2008. President Bush has promised to veto any legislation that includes any pullout date.

Senator Bond took the senate floor before the debate to push for elimating a pullout date. Bond says wars cannot be won from Congressional chambers 10,000 miles away from the war zone.  He says he fears a premature pullout before Iraqi security forces are ready could mean escalated violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.  He says that could ultimately lead to a regional war involving several countries – a conflict he says would demand hundreds of thousands of more American troops.

But, Senator McCaskill says mitigating religious conflict is not the U.S. military’s objective.  She says the U.S. currently has tunnel vision for the conflict in Iraq.  Instead, McCaskill says the military should be targeting terrorists in various parts of the world, particularly terrorist factions affiliated with the September 11th attacks.

The House and Senate must still reconcile their versions of the supplemental bill.

AUDIO: Laura McNamara reports (:63 MP3)