Bucking up some weak GOP spines
The White House is getting worried about the number of wobbly knees it's starting to see down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, and rightly so. The last thing the President needs is for Republican House and Senate members to start a "Withdrawal Lite" bandwagon. Not to mention that's the last thing our troops need...to say nothing of our country's national security.
President Bush, facing a growing Republican revolt against his Iraq policy, has rejected calls to change course but will launch a campaign emphasizing his intent to draw down U.S. forces next year and move toward a more limited mission if security conditions improve, senior officials said yesterday.
Top administration officials have begun talking with key Senate Republicans to walk them through his view of the next phase in the war, beyond the troop increase he announced six months ago today. Bush plans to lay out what an aide called "his vision for the post-surge" starting in Cleveland today to assure the nation that he, too, wants to begin bringing troops home eventually.
The White House devised the political strategy after days of intense internal discussions about how to respond to several prominent Republican senators who have broken with Bush's war policy recently. Bush decided against heeding their proposal to begin redeploying U.S. troops as early as this summer, but he and his team concluded that he needed to shift his message to show that he shares the goals of his increasingly restless Republican caucus and the broader public.
The latest to join the wobbly-knees crowd? Sen. Pete Domenici.
Sen. Pete V. Domenici on Thursday became the third prominent Republican within the past two weeks to call for a new strategy in Iraq, breaking publicly with Bush on the eve of a renewed Senate debate over war policy.
"I am unwilling to continue our current strategy," Domenici, R-N.M., told his constituents during a speech in Albuquerque. The United States needs a strategy "that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home," he said.
Memo to Pete Domenici: the path to "path to coming home", as you call it, leads through success...not turning tail. Not letting others know all they have to do is wait us out because we'll soon lose patience and interest.
Meanwhile, the Dems are looking to take advantage of the GOP wobblies and will be introducing a flurry of anti-war votes, beginning today.
In a new series of votes on Iraq expected to begin today, Democrats will attempt to break the united Republican front that has sustained Bush and make their toughest push yet to enact firm dates for bringing the war to an end. So far, antiwar Democratic leaders appear unwilling to look for much compromise.
They are even skeptical of a proposal that just months ago would have seemed a daring challenge to Bush: to turn the Iraq Study Group's recommendations into official policy and call for removing troops from combat in 2008. The plan, sponsored by Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), has attracted support from several GOP senators. But Democratic leaders are reluctant to allow it into the mix because it does not include specific terms for a withdrawal of U.S. forces.
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what will happen if the US does withdraw before there is any kind of stability that the Iraqi govt. itself can maintain. The Iraqi's know.
Weakness is not a strategy. Appearing to be weak is not a strategy. Unless defeat is your goal. Or you don't really know what your goals should be. What we need are more leaers in Congress in BOTH parties that understand the realities of the world we live in, and are committed to doing whatever it takes, for how ever long it takes, to defend our interests. In our 24/7 "fast food" news culture and the impatience it breeds, that seems like something that's becoming more and more rare these days. In fact, it's doubtful that in this environment that we could won unconditional surrenders from the Germans and Japanese in WWII.