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January 23, 2007

The Death Of The Surge

by 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.

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4 Comments

  1. Still means nothing. As long as Congress will not pass something other than a non-binding resolution, the entire Congress opposing Bush will do nothing to stop him.

    Comment by Kevin — January 23, 2007 @ 1:33 pm
  2. If Bush’s own party is abandoning him, then I don’t see how he will be able sustain his current policies politically. Congress may not have to do anything at all.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 23, 2007 @ 1:38 pm
  3. Because Bush doesn’t care what Congress thinks at this point. He has nothing to lose by going with the surge, his poll numbers are already pathetic, and he’s not facing reelection nor does he have a preferred successor. He also knows a binding resolution will not pass constitutional muster.

    All Congress can do at this point if they want policy change in Iraq is threaten to pull funding for the war. Maybe this will get Bush to change his policy, if not, they’ll have to pull the trigger and end the war.

    Comment by Kevin — January 23, 2007 @ 1:50 pm
  4. I understand the arguments against the surge, but my friends in the Army are telling me it’s already having some positive affects. They believe LTG Petraeus is the right man for the job. Whether you agreed with the invasion or not, we can’t turn our backs on these people. The big question is, how to we take advantage of the surge to help the Iraqi people, and to get the country on its feet. You may not like the administration, but the Joes on the ground are doing right by us and Iraq, with a few glaring exceptions.

    Comment by Chad — January 26, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

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