Sunday, July 08, 2007

Republicans are going wobbly on the war

Just at a time when you need them the most they bail. Typical!

The tide of Republican defections from President George W. Bush's camp widened Saturday when two more US senators joined the chorus of critics of his Iraq policy, demanding change.

But while expressing sharp disagreement with the strategy of "surging" the number of US troops in Iraq, Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire stopped short of backing legislation that would force the White House to begin a drawdown of forces.

"It should be clear to the president that there needs to be a new strategy," said Alexander told The Los Angeles Times. "Our policy in Iraq is drifting."

Gregg, who up to now had belonged to the camp of hardliners on Iraq, said in an interview with the same newspaper that attempts to put down the Iraqi insurgency with higher numbers of US troops "don't seem to be making a lot of progress."

It is vital to have "a clear blueprint for how we were going to draw down," he said.

What the heck do they think we should do instead? Do they actually think that conflict ends when we leave Iraq? That we won't have anymore American causalities? If that's the case, they might want to keep in mind the recent attacks in the UK:
AT least one of the suspects being quizzed over the alleged plot to set off car bombs in Britain was in recent contact with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, senior security officials said yesterday.

Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command SO15 is understood to have uncovered evidence that in the months leading up to the attacks one or more of the suspects communicated by telephone or e-mail with terrorist leaders in Iraq.


The report said the commander “stressed the need to take care to ensure the attack was successful and on a large scale”. It was aimed “ideally” to take place before Blair stepped down. It said JTAC, which is based at MI5’s London headquarters, was “aware that AQI [Al-Qaeda in Iraq] . . . networks are active in the UK”.

They can and have brought the battle to our shores. We might want to keep that in mind when we talk about leaving. If they can't hit us there, what makes you think that they won't hit us here?

And what is really annoying about this is just when the Iraqis start trusting us, we threaten to leave:
The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”

I’ve seen this kind of progression in Mosul, out in Anbar and other places, and when I ask our military leaders if they have sensed any shift, many have said, yes, they too sense that Iraqis view us differently. In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can—more or less and with giant caveats—rely on.

Most Iraqis I talk with acknowledge that if it was ever about the oil, it’s not now. Not mostly anyway. It clearly would have been cheaper just to buy the oil or invade somewhere easier that has more. Similarly, most Iraqis seem now to realize that we really don’t want to stay here, and that many of us can’t wait to get back home. They realize that we are not resolved to stay, but are impatient to drive down to Kuwait and sail away. And when they consider the Americans who actually deal with Iraqis every day, the Iraqis can no longer deny that we really do want them to succeed. But we want them to succeed without us. We want to see their streets are clean and safe, their grass is green, and their birds are singing. We want to see that on television. Not in person. We don’t want to be here. We tell them that every day. It finally has settled in that we are telling the truth.
I think that the Senators lack the leadership skills to run a war, they should leave it to the generals and to the president to do it. Stop giving talking points and motivation to our enemy!