Warner preparing timeline?

October 6, 2006 at 9:21 am

After a visit to Iraq, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John Warner, is downbeat about American efforts in Iraq. Yesterday he told press that things had to change within months, or else:

Echoing the sentiments of several leading Democrats on his committee, Warner said he believes the United States may have to reevaluate its approach in Iraq if the situation does not improve dramatically over the next several months.

“I assure you, in two or three months, if this thing hasn’t come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control and this government able to function, I think it’s a responsibility of our government internally to determine: Is there a change of course that we should take?” Warner said. “And I wouldn’t take off the table any option at this time.”

Even if Warner’s on the ground assessment is accurate (it may very well be), it is misguided to make these comments. He might as well email Ahmadinejad and his cohorts in Iran to let them know that all they have to do is make life even more violent and difficult in the burgeoning Democracy over the next couple months to get the U.S. to consider abandoning the mission.

Next, Warner’s comments ignore the very real probability that violence will escalate over the next month rather than decrease. Our enemy in Iraq does not exist in a vacuum. They know that this country is having a national discussion about this war over the next month leading up to November 7. Don’t you think they would like to make the front page news as violent and distasteful as possible leading up to that date in order to win some sort of referendum about Iraq?

What would happen if we left Iraq now?

October 5, 2006 at 1:18 pm

Heritage’s James Carafano examines that question and comes up with five answers.

“A significant step toward troop withdrawal”

September 7, 2006 at 9:11 am

The Iraqi Prime Minister today took full control of the Iraqi military forces:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday handed over formal command of the Iraqi army to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government, a significant step toward the withdrawal of about 150,000 U.S.-led foreign troops.

Hours before the handover, 14 people were killed in a spate of bomb blasts targeting Iraqi security forces in Baghdad.

“This is the message I have for the terrorists: We will see that you get great punishment wherever you are. There is nothing for you but prison and punishment,” Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki said at a ceremony at the Defense Ministry in Baghdad.

…”Today is another important milestone, but we still have a way to go,” U.S. commander General George Casey said, after formally handing over control of the 8th Iraqi division to Maliki.

Nine other divisions will be transferred in the coming months in a timetable to be set by Maliki, U.S. officials say.

In speech, Bush lays out vision for victory

September 1, 2006 at 8:23 am

Yesterday President Bush delivered a speech in which he described his vision for victory in Iraq. It was as compelling a speech as this President has given (also, follow the link for some good commentary from the Corner). Hitting back at Democrats and war critics who claim Iraq is nothing more than a “diversion” in the GWOT Bush said:

It’s hard to believe that these terrorists would make long journeys across dangerous borders, endure heavy fighting, or blow themselves up in the streets of Baghdad, for a so-called “diversion.” Some Americans didn’t support my decision to remove Saddam Hussein; many are frustrated with the level of violence. But we should all agree that the battle for Iraq is now central to the ideological struggle of the 21st century. We will not allow the terrorists to dictate the future of this century — so we will defeat them in Iraq. (Applause.)

Dem divisions on Iraq complicate fall strategy

August 28, 2006 at 8:24 am

As has been the case for a long time now, the Democratic party is divided on the issue of withdrawal from Iraq. A recent Washington Post survey bears this out:

Of the 59 Democrats in hotly contested House and Senate races, a majority agree with the Bush administration that it would be unwise to set a specific schedule for troop withdrawal, and only a few are calling for substantial troop reductions to begin this year, according to a Washington Post survey of the campaigns.

But inside the beltway Democrats, especially in Congressional leadership are playing from a different playbook:

While Republicans have largely stood by Bush in opposing a timetable for troop withdrawal, congressional Democratic leaders this month coalesced around calls to begin drawing down troop levels by December, with no specified pace or completion date. But rank-and-file Democrats are far from unified.

Shays: Timetable needed

August 25, 2006 at 9:22 am

Moderate New England GOP’er Chris Shays is bucking the Administration by joining the John Kerry’s of the world in their call for a timetable for troop withdrawal of Iraq:

He said he found a “noticeable lack of political will” among Iraqis “to move in what I would call a timely fashion” and concluded that Iraqi officials would act with greater urgency if the United States this fall set a timetable for withdrawal.

“My view is that it may be that the only way we are able to encourage some political will on the part of Iraqis is to have a timeline for troop withdrawal,” Shays said from London in a conference call with reporters. “A timeline of when the bulk of heavy lifting is in the hands of the Iraqis.”

Huge public opinion turnaround on Iraqi WMD

July 25, 2006 at 10:03 am

Wow…this is surprising:

Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 — up from 36 percent last year, a Harris poll finds. Pollsters deemed the increase both “substantial” and “surprising” in light of persistent press reports to the contrary in recent years.

UPDATE: John Hawkins makes a good point:

The “surprising” thing here isn’t that the number of Americans who believe Saddam had WMD’s has risen from 36% to 50%, it’s that the number isn’t 100% since 500 WMDs have been found. Certainly you could argue that the WMDs might be of limited use because of their age or that they weren’t part of ongoing program, but after finding WMD stockpiles in Iraq, it’s impossible to successfully argue that Saddam didn’t possess them. Of course, he had WMDs!

Boehner, others make Iraq visit

July 10, 2006 at 8:21 am

House Majority Leader John Boehner recently returned from a trip to Iraq with a bipartisan group of Representatives. Here is his take on the situation in the ground. Of Note:

Let me end by pointing out something that was reinforced over and over again by those we met: now is not the time for America to retreat. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, and the First Deputy Speaker of Iraq’s Parliament, Shaykh Khalid al-Attiyah, Jordanian officials and others, all insisted that America continue to help nurture democracy in the heart of the Middle East — lest al-Qaida drive Iraq into chaos.

We gave them our word that America was up to the challenge. While we have no interest in being in Iraq any longer than necessary, we can no longer afford to look up, look away, and hope the problem of international terrorism goes away. We are in this fight to achieve victory. And, we assured them, we will.