The Death Of The Surgeby Doug Mataconis
Less than two weeks after it was announced, President Bush’s so-called surge plan for Iraq is in serious trouble. Yesterday, Virginia Senator John Warner, a Republican who has long been pro-defense, came out against the plan:
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, yesterday endorsed a new resolution opposing President Bush’s buildup of troops in Baghdad, as even some of the most loyal Republicans scrambled to register their concerns and distance themselves from an unpopular policy.
The resolution, unveiled the day before the president’s State of the Union address, is expected to garner the support of many Senate Republicans — especially those facing reelection next year. The measure appeals to many rank-and-file Republicans because it allows them to voice their differences with the administration without embracing the highly critical language of another bipartisan resolution co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), one of the sharpest critics of the administration’s Iraq policy.
By last night, Warner had already met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and the two camps were negotiating a single resolution likely to be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday
The impact of the loss of Warner’s support cannot be understated. Not only has Warner long been strong on defense, he is a Korean War veteran and former Secretary of the Navy under President Nixon. Losing his support is a bigger deal than, say, losing the support of a liberal Republican like Olympia Snowe. It’s a sign that the Bush plan is in big trouble.