In a move that flies in the face of recommendations by OTHER senators and members of Congress, from both parties, who have visited Iraq, Virginia's John Warner has returned and is suggesting that our troops be withdrawn from Iraq by Christmas.
Warner's Call for Withdrawal Met by Plea for Patience (Update1)
By Edwin Chen and William Roberts
Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Senator John Warner, an influential Republican on defense matters, urged President George W. Bush to announce by Sept. 15 a plan to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, a suggestion the administration rejected.
Yesterday's statement by Warner, a five-term Virginia senator, combined with a new report by U.S. intelligence agencies that concluded Iraq's political leaders still can't govern effectively, will add fuel to the debate over the war when Congress returns from recess next month.
``We simply cannot as a nation stand and continue to put our troops at continuous risk of loss of life and limb without beginning to take some decisive action,'' Warner, who returned from Iraq last week and met with top administration officials yesterday, said during a news conference at the Capitol.
Political and foreign-policy analysts said Warner's remarks will increase Republican defections to oppose the war even if it is unlikely to change the president's mind.
For Republicans who may be on the fence, ``it's really nice to have some highly respected, senior, conservative senator go out on a limb,'' said Charlie Cook, publisher of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
Still, he said, it won't be sufficient opposition to force Bush's hand. ``The president doesn't want Iraq lost on his watch,'' Cook said.
Perhaps the Senator has forgotten his history, and doesn't remember that OUR OWN nation went through first the Articles of Confederation and THEN the Constitution when our nation was forming out of the ashes of colonization.
Brian Baird offers a very different outlook in his piece in the Seattle Times:
Our troops have earned more time
By Brian Baird
Special to The Times
The invasion of Iraq may be one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. As tragic and costly as that mistake has been, a precipitous or premature withdrawal of our forces now has the potential to turn the initial errors into an even greater problem just as success looks possible.
As a Democrat who voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy, I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better. I believe Iraq could have a positive future. Our diplomatic and military leaders in Iraq, their current strategy, and most importantly, our troops and the Iraqi people themselves, deserve our continued support and more time to succeed.
I understand the desire of many of our citizens and my colleagues in Congress to bring the troops home as soon as possible. The costs have been horrific for our soldiers, their families, the Iraqi people and the economy. If we keep our troops on the ground we will lose more lives, continue to spend billions each week, and, given the history and complex interests of the region, there is no certainty that our efforts will succeed in the long run. We must be absolutely honest about these costs and risks and I am both profoundly saddened and angry that we are where we are.
Knowing all this, how can someone who opposed the war now call for continuing the new directions that have been taken in Iraq? The answer is that the people, strategies and facts on the ground have changed for the better and those changes justify changing our position on what should be done.
I have a brilliant idea! Why don't we ask all the nay sayers and surrender mongers to do simply this: sit back and wait for General Petraeus to make his report next month and discuss it OBJECTIVELY. Think they'll go for it? Of course not, they're already foaming at the mouth and gnawing at the bit trying to discredit the man even before he makes his opening statements.
Food for thought, don't you think?
Once and Always, an American Fighting Man
(NOTE: Instead of leaving you with the advertisements I usually have at the bottom of each post, I will leave you with one of the videos from Freedoms Watch) [30 second video.]
Gold Star Mother:
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NIE: Withdrawal Discussion Frustrates Iraqi Politi from Bottom Line Up Front...