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Old 01-23-2007, 06:25 PM   #76
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Yes, but the factors that led to the invasion of Kuwait included things like the debt incurred in defending the Gulf from Iran, the flooding of the market with oil lowering it's price and the miscommunications between Iraq and the USA - these had all changed in the succeeding 10 years (as had the state of the Iraqi military - and the rise of the Fedayeen Saddam), I think that most of us agree that taking action when Saddam annexed Kuwait was the right thing to do, some of us think that following it to completion and removing Saddam would have been better done then than delayed.
Saddam fully anticipated he would be fighting the United States in Kuwait when he invaded, and Saddam's own designs on the region go well beyond simply helping Iraq's debt problem from the war. Ironically, the mis-communication, mis-caculation, or mis-understanding alleged to have occured in 1990 in some ways continued all the way through 2003. Oil prices continued to drop through out the 1990s and Iraq's financial and economic problems only got worse, and while the Iraqi military may have been smaller, what was left of the Republican Guard was still capable of the same operations of August 1990. But this is a topic for another thread.
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:34 PM   #77
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And just in case you're tempted to spin that actually Bush and McCain have been on the same page all along. . .

Bush and McCain have been on the same page in regards to the need to remove Saddam from power and the need to replace his regime with a stable government that is not hostile to its neighbors. Achieving that will require that the coaliton remain in Iraq, until the Iraqi military is capable of replacing the missions coalition forces do on a daily basis. Both McCain and Bush are on the same page there as well.
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Old 01-24-2007, 04:03 AM   #78
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Was this ever about the best interest of the Iraqis? As if Bush's altruism runs that deep.
Do you have to agree with Bush's motives to support Iraqi democrats?
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Old 01-24-2007, 05:43 AM   #79
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While generally supporting Bush's force levels in 2003, I would have prefered a larger force as advocated by McCain and others, but understood the difficulties and problems of having a larger force, and that there were indeed limits to how much you could send to Iraq given the size of the Army, National Guard, and Marine Corp. I could go into more detail, but I'm not certain it would be fully consistent with the topic of the thread.
Touche.

Wow. You're good.
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Old 01-24-2007, 05:56 AM   #80
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Bush and McCain have been on the same page in regards to the need to remove Saddam from power and the need to replace his regime with a stable government that is not hostile to its neighbors. Achieving that will require that the coaliton remain in Iraq, until the Iraqi military is capable of replacing the missions coalition forces do on a daily basis. Both McCain and Bush are on the same page there as well.
But the point that your are dodging. . .and quite effectively, I might add. . .is that many opponents of Bush's policies (and McCain's), including most of the posters opposing you on this thread, also believed that Saddam needed to be removed from power and his regime replaced with a stable government. What they disagree with and continue to disagree with, is the WAY in which Bush chose to go about doing so. They may disagree on the timing or the methods used or the urgency of the situation. They may disagree about what should be done now, but essentially that "same page" most of us are on also. (Though I grant you it's easier and more fun to paint your opponents into a "Saddam-lovers" corner. It's also a cheap shot).

Most of us think Bush bungled the job. Whether you agree with whether we should have gone in to Iraq or not, the one thing most of us agree on it is that he bollixed things up good. And it would seem McCain thinks so too. Only you have managed to somehow paint that this marvelously rosy picture in which McCain and Bush are on the same page.

And I concede you're doing a great job. If they aren't paying you, they should be. . .
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Old 01-24-2007, 10:27 AM   #81
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And it would seem McCain thinks so too. Only you have managed to somehow paint that this marvelously rosy picture in which McCain and Bush are on the same page.


[q]McCain Bashes Cheney Over Iraq Policy
By: Roger Simon
January 24, 2007 09:46 AM EST

With his presidential hopes tied to an administration whose Iraq policy he supports but cannot control, John McCain for the first time blamed Vice President Cheney for what McCain calls the "witch's brew" of a "terribly mishandled" war in which U.S. forces are on the verge of defeat.

McCain also for the first time opened the door to the possibility of a U.S. troop pullback to the borders of Iraq should the president's planned troop surge fail.

Although McCain had once lavished praise on the vice president, he said in an interview in his Senate office: "The president listened too much to the Vice President . . . Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense."

McCain added: "Rumsfeld will go down in history, along with McNamara, as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history." Donald Rumsfeld served as President Bush's secretary of defense from January 2001 to December 2006. Robert McNamara was Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War.[/q]


and McCain was on CNN this morning talking about how this surge is the last chance effort. if it doesn't work, and he's not sure it will, then McCain will support a redployment of troops.

no matter which way you slice it, McCain does NOT think that the current policy is working, he does NOT think that it's merely a game of attrition and the US will win if they simply continue with more of the same, he does NOT think the Iraqi forces are capable of battling back the Civil War, he does NOT think the Maliki government is capable of protecting it's citizens.

McCain is far more in line with Democrats on this issue -- the exception being he thinks the surge might make a difference -- than with Bush and Co.

what everyone is beginning to realize, and McCain agrees, is that a military solution is impossible. the amount of violence it would take for the US to truly crush the "insurgency," or, more accurately, help the Shia win the civil war, would be thoroughly unacceptable to the American public, and it would probably also violate most of the rules of conventional warfare. we'd be asking American troops to facilitate a genocide of the Sunnis, and the repercussions of this -- the US siding with one ethnic group over another -- would be like dropping a nuclear bomb in the region.

there is no military solution (and there never could have been one to begin with). there are only political solutions enforced by military action.

i'm leaning towards partition.

i see no other option.
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:01 PM   #82
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[q]McCain Bashes Cheney Over Iraq Policy
By: Roger Simon
January 24, 2007 09:46 AM EST

With his presidential hopes tied to an administration whose Iraq policy he supports but cannot control, John McCain for the first time blamed Vice President Cheney for what McCain calls the "witch's brew" of a "terribly mishandled" war in which U.S. forces are on the verge of defeat.

McCain also for the first time opened the door to the possibility of a U.S. troop pullback to the borders of Iraq should the president's planned troop surge fail.

Although McCain had once lavished praise on the vice president, he said in an interview in his Senate office: "The president listened too much to the Vice President . . . Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense."

McCain added: "Rumsfeld will go down in history, along with McNamara, as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history." Donald Rumsfeld served as President Bush's secretary of defense from January 2001 to December 2006. Robert McNamara was Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War.[/q]


and McCain was on CNN this morning talking about how this surge is the last chance effort. if it doesn't work, and he's not sure it will, then McCain will support a redployment of troops.

no matter which way you slice it, McCain does NOT think that the current policy is working, he does NOT think that it's merely a game of attrition and the US will win if they simply continue with more of the same, he does NOT think the Iraqi forces are capable of battling back the Civil War, he does NOT think the Maliki government is capable of protecting it's citizens.

McCain is far more in line with Democrats on this issue -- the exception being he thinks the surge might make a difference -- than with Bush and Co.

what everyone is beginning to realize, and McCain agrees, is that a military solution is impossible. the amount of violence it would take for the US to truly crush the "insurgency," or, more accurately, help the Shia win the civil war, would be thoroughly unacceptable to the American public, and it would probably also violate most of the rules of conventional warfare. we'd be asking American troops to facilitate a genocide of the Sunnis, and the repercussions of this -- the US siding with one ethnic group over another -- would be like dropping a nuclear bomb in the region.

there is no military solution (and there never could have been one to begin with). there are only political solutions enforced by military action.

i'm leaning towards partition.

i see no other option.
No one has ever claimed that there was a purely military solution to the problems of building a new Iraq! But an effective rebuilding of Iraqi society and government will be impossible without the proper military forces on the ground to insure security and build an Iraqi military and security force that can replace coalition forces once they leave.

The United States has been involved in past counterinsurgency efforts that did succeed, both in the Philippines and in South Vietnam against the Viet Cong. By 1971, the Viet Cong, the insurgency within South Vietnam, ceased to exist, and the fighting in Vietnam had essentially become exclusively and interstate war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

No one has ever claimed that victory in Iraq is a matter of attrition or killing each and every insurgent. Its a matter of building the government and military to the point that it can effectively handle the problems of the country on its own without the need for large numbers of coalition troops on the ground. The process is working, but it takes time! The Iraqi military needs another 4 years before it will be ready to start performing many of the missions that the coalition military is currently doing on the ground in Iraq.

Anyone, including McCain if he really has changed his mind and now supports a pre-mature withdrawal, is abandoning a process that has been proven to work in other conflicts and will work in Iraq provided it is given the 10+ years it needs to work as well as the proper resources and funding. Strengthing the Iraqi military and government, which while Shia led is composed of all of Iraq's ethnic and religious groups, is the only way to bring lasting stability to the country.

Partition of Iraq will never work. Iraq's ethnic groups are not so well split up as is often alleged to make such a plan feasible in any way. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group studied this proposal of partiition and rejected it for essentially the same reasons. In more than half of the country from north to south, there is actually no clear majority for any ethnic group. An attempt to partition Iraq will likely create the Civil War so many claim already exist in the country. The Sunni's for obvious reasons would never accept such a condition. Many Kurds and Shia's do not want to see move towards a partition because of the obvious conflicts it would create as well as either the invasion or undesirable influence that it would invite from Iraq's neighbors. Although its not often reported, many Shia Iraqi's do not want and fear greater Iranian influence within Iraq which will no doubt increase if the Iraqi state is divided. While many Kurds in the north favor independence, many Kurds also realize the terrible problems that would create with Turkey.


If you admit that Iraqi forces are not currently capable of providing security for Iraq, how could you or any democrat support the withdrawal of coalition forces? If you believe that stability in Iraq is vital to US Security interest, that Iraq is simply not another Somalia, its totally illogical to simply withdraw coalition forces if you think Iraq's military is not ready to handle the tasks currenlty being performed by the coalition. You would have to believe that the Iraqi military is far more capable and that conditions on the ground are much better, then the Bush administration thinks, in order to support a withdrawal.


Finally there is the ultimate contradiction of Democratic party's position on Iraq compared to their position on Afghanistan. Many of the reasons used to support a withdrawal from Iraq could be used to support a withdrawal from Afghanistan. Al Quada has a LARGER and more ACTIVE presense in Iraq than it does in Afghanistan. Just look at all the Al Quada attacks in Iraq vs. those in Afghanistan in 2006. In light of that, and if its true that the Democrats still believe fighting Al Quada is vital, how could you support simply pulling troops out of the one area on the planet where Al Quada is most active?
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:43 PM   #83
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Al Quada has a LARGER and more ACTIVE presense in Iraq than it does in Afghanistan.
And why is that?
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Old 01-24-2007, 03:00 PM   #84
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it's interesting ... the more reading i do about both McCain's position and the actual situation on the ground, the more i understand the futility of continuing this discussion.
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Old 01-24-2007, 03:55 PM   #85
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And why is that?
Because Iraq, unlike Afghanistan is a day trip away from every wannabe Shahid in the Middle East.
Quote:
it's interesting ... the more reading i do about both McCain's position and the actual situation on the ground, the more i understand the futility of continuing this discussion.
Then lets move the discussion aside, to partition; should it be put to referendum? What will define the borders? Will the Kurds maintain autonomy? Will resource allocation be fair? Should the Sunni Gulf states support a Sunni state economically or should we just wait for those areas to get ethnically clensed (via exodus not genocide)? What will prevent these new states from being security risks? Could genuine nations be demanded elsewhere in the region; could such demands be used to against some countries?
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Old 01-24-2007, 05:22 PM   #86
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And why is that?
For several reasons:

1. Its easier for Al Quada, a primarily sunni arab organization, to hide among fellow Arabs who speak the same language. In Afghanistan it was rather easy for locals to spot the foreign arab presence.

2. There was more support among the Sunni population in Iraq to oppose the US presence than there has been in southern Afghanistan.

3. In intercepted communications between Al Qauda leaders, they have expressed the fact that Iraq is the most important front in the war against the United States. If they cannot defeat the United States in Iraq where the conditions are more ideal and they are much closer to other bases of support in neighboring Arab countries, they will not be able to defeat the United States anywhere.
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Old 01-24-2007, 05:51 PM   #87
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[q]THE RETURN OF AL QAEDA.
Where You Bin?
by Peter Bergen 1 | 2
Post date 01.22.07 | Issue date 01.29.07

Osama bin Laden will turn 50 this year. But, when we picture him today, most Westerners imagine a man who, addled physically by disease and psychologically by the repeated blows the United States has dealt his cause, looks much older than his age: a gaunt figure limping from cave to cave along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, one step ahead of U.S. forces--surrounded, perhaps, by a small group of loyalists but cut off from the rest of the world, his once formidable ability to mastermind dramatic acts of violence now rendered nearly nonexistent.

As for Al Qaeda, the terrorist group bin Laden founded nearly two decades ago, Americans have been told that it, too, is unhealthy, isolated, and in decline. A National Intelligence Estimate declassified in September 2006 opens with the observation that "United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of [Al Qaeda] and disrupted its operations." At a press conference the next month, President Bush affirmed, "Absolutely, we're winning. Al Qaeda is on the run." American officials aren't the only ones who believe this. In July 2005, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told reporters that "Al Qaeda does not exist in Pakistan anymore." More recently, Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria opined that "Al Qaeda Central ... appears to have turned into a communications company. It's capable of producing the occasional jihadist cassette, but not actual jihad." In Washington, the consensus view is that, while Bush's foreign policy has been an overall disaster, he still can lay claim to one key achievement: severely weakening Al Qaeda in the five years since September 11.

There was a time when that was true. In the months and years immediately following the Taliban's ouster, Al Qaeda lost its main sanctuary and struggled to regroup in the largely lawless zone along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. Key leaders were captured or killed. Years passed during which the group mounted few major attacks.

But, today, from Algeria to Afghanistan, from Britain to Baghdad, the organization once believed to be on the verge of impotence is again ascendant. Attacks by jihadists have reached epidemic levels in the past three years, with terrorists carrying out dramatic operations in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005, as well as multiple suicide attacks across the Middle East and Asia--not only in Iraq, but also in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia. Meanwhile, jihadists have made inroads in the horn of Africa; the Taliban's efforts to turn Afghanistan back into a failed state appear to be succeeding; and Al Qaeda's Iraqi branch recently declared sovereignty over the country's vast Anbar province.

Still, many have clung to the view that Al Qaeda remains a shell of its former self. They argue, as Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte did last April, that Al Qaeda, "a somewhat weakened organization," is "more in the mode of serving as an inspiration for some of these terroristically inclined groups elsewhere." Newsweek's Zakaria echoed this analysis. "Al Qaeda Central," he wrote last year, "no longer has much to do with the specific terrorist attacks--even the most bloody ones, in Madrid, Sinai and London--that have taken place in the past three years. These appear to be the work of smaller, local groups, often inspired by Al Qaeda but not directed by it."

Certainly, there are plenty of examples of freelance terrorists acting in Al Qaeda's name--such as the seven men arrested in Miami last summer who allegedly plotted to blow up federal buildings in Florida. But the existence of Al Qaeda imitators does not prove the obsolescence of the real thing. Far from it: There is considerable evidence that, over the last few years, Al Qaeda has managed to regroup; and there is reason to believe that, over the next few years, it will grow stronger still. More than at any time since September 11, Osama bin Laden's deadly outfit is back in business. [/q]
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Old 01-24-2007, 06:20 PM   #88
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[q]THE RETURN OF AL QAEDA.
Where You Bin?
by Peter Bergen 1 | 2
Post date 01.22.07 | Issue date 01.29.07

Osama bin Laden will turn 50 this year. But, when we picture him today, most Westerners imagine a man who, addled physically by disease and psychologically by the repeated blows the United States has dealt his cause, looks much older than his age: a gaunt figure limping from cave to cave along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, one step ahead of U.S. forces--surrounded, perhaps, by a small group of loyalists but cut off from the rest of the world, his once formidable ability to mastermind dramatic acts of violence now rendered nearly nonexistent.

As for Al Qaeda, the terrorist group bin Laden founded nearly two decades ago, Americans have been told that it, too, is unhealthy, isolated, and in decline. A National Intelligence Estimate declassified in September 2006 opens with the observation that "United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of [Al Qaeda] and disrupted its operations." At a press conference the next month, President Bush affirmed, "Absolutely, we're winning. Al Qaeda is on the run." American officials aren't the only ones who believe this. In July 2005, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told reporters that "Al Qaeda does not exist in Pakistan anymore." More recently, Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria opined that "Al Qaeda Central ... appears to have turned into a communications company. It's capable of producing the occasional jihadist cassette, but not actual jihad." In Washington, the consensus view is that, while Bush's foreign policy has been an overall disaster, he still can lay claim to one key achievement: severely weakening Al Qaeda in the five years since September 11.

There was a time when that was true. In the months and years immediately following the Taliban's ouster, Al Qaeda lost its main sanctuary and struggled to regroup in the largely lawless zone along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. Key leaders were captured or killed. Years passed during which the group mounted few major attacks.

But, today, from Algeria to Afghanistan, from Britain to Baghdad, the organization once believed to be on the verge of impotence is again ascendant. Attacks by jihadists have reached epidemic levels in the past three years, with terrorists carrying out dramatic operations in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005, as well as multiple suicide attacks across the Middle East and Asia--not only in Iraq, but also in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia. Meanwhile, jihadists have made inroads in the horn of Africa; the Taliban's efforts to turn Afghanistan back into a failed state appear to be succeeding; and Al Qaeda's Iraqi branch recently declared sovereignty over the country's vast Anbar province.

Still, many have clung to the view that Al Qaeda remains a shell of its former self. They argue, as Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte did last April, that Al Qaeda, "a somewhat weakened organization," is "more in the mode of serving as an inspiration for some of these terroristically inclined groups elsewhere." Newsweek's Zakaria echoed this analysis. "Al Qaeda Central," he wrote last year, "no longer has much to do with the specific terrorist attacks--even the most bloody ones, in Madrid, Sinai and London--that have taken place in the past three years. These appear to be the work of smaller, local groups, often inspired by Al Qaeda but not directed by it."

Certainly, there are plenty of examples of freelance terrorists acting in Al Qaeda's name--such as the seven men arrested in Miami last summer who allegedly plotted to blow up federal buildings in Florida. But the existence of Al Qaeda imitators does not prove the obsolescence of the real thing. Far from it: There is considerable evidence that, over the last few years, Al Qaeda has managed to regroup; and there is reason to believe that, over the next few years, it will grow stronger still. More than at any time since September 11, Osama bin Laden's deadly outfit is back in business. [/q]
The article is noticeably quiet about Afghanistans Al Qaeda branch.
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:57 PM   #89
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[q]Hagel and McCain Spar Over Iraq War Policy
By BRIAN KNOWLTON

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 — As the Senate prepared to open a high-profile debate on Iraq against a backdrop of stunning new violence in Baghdad, senators engaged in unusually bitter exchanges today about the best way forward in the war.

A suicide truck bomb killed at least 130 people on Saturday in Baghdad, a day after a major new intelligence report painted a bleak picture of prospects for bringing the violence in Iraq under control. But the assessment, reflecting the views of the 16 United States intelligence agencies, also found that a hasty American withdrawal could accelerate an Iraqi collapse.

Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, said today that the report, known as a National Intelligence Estimate, made clear that “it essentially isn’t going to make any difference how many more troops” are sent to Iraq.

But Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said that while chances of success were unsure, an American failure in Iraq would be disastrous, perhaps leading to “a bloodletting in Baghdad that makes Srebrenica look like a Sunday-school picnic.” His reference was to the 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces.

The Senate’s debate on rival nonbinding resolutions — notably, one spearheaded by Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, that opposes any troop buildup, and another, led by Mr. McCain, that supports the administration’s planned increase — is to begin on Monday. Mr. Hagel supports Mr. Warner’s resolution.

In a year with extraordinarily large fields of presidential hopefuls in both parties, the verbal fights on Iraq were, to an unusual degree, Republican-on-Republican or Democrat-on-Democrat.

Mr. Hagel, a Vietnam veteran like Mr. McCain and also a possible presidential candidate, called Mr. McCain’s approach — which lists 11 benchmarks for Iraqi government progress without setting any penalties for failure — “disingenuous.”

The often combative Mr. Hagel was responding partly to an earlier suggestion from Mr. McCain that those who favor reining in American forces but who have not taken the next step of cutting off funding, are “intellectually dishonest.” Both men appeared on the ABC News program “This Week.”

Meantime, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said the idea supported by Mr. Hagel and others for American talks with Iran and Syria was “naïve.”

Last week, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware was equally blunt in criticizing a fellow Democratic presidential hopeful, former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. When it comes to Iraq, he said, “I don’t think John Edwards knows what the heck he is talking about.”

Mr. Edwards, a former senator, has called for the immediate withdrawal of 40,000 American troops from Iraq. Mr. Biden, who heads the Foreign Relations Committee, opposes any increase in the number of troops in Iraq and supports Mr. Warner’s resolution.

The cutting intra-party comments came a day after President Bush, in a rare appearance before a Democratic Party retreat in Virginia, made one of his strongest appeals for bipartisan cooperation on Iraq. But he also defended his call for an additional 21,500 troops for Iraq.

Since the Congress has the power to curtail military spending, any resolution with sizable bipartisan support would be viewed as a warning shot. The Bush administration and its supporters have argued that a critical resolution could encourage enemies of the United States.

Mr. McCain described the Warner resolution as “a vote of no confidence in both the mission and the troops who are going over there.”

Mr. Hagel sharply rejected any suggestion that those backing the Warner resolution are effectively accepting defeat.

“We cannot continue to feed our troops into the middle of a civil war,” he said. “This is not a cut-and-run resolution. This is not a withdrawal resolution.”

Mr. Hagel wants American troops to be shifted out of cities and deployed along borders, and used more against terrorists.

There was sharp disagreement today on the question of engaging Iran and Syria diplomatically to prepare the ground for an American . redeployment from Iraq.

Mr. Hagel and others said that such engagement is critical. “There is going to be no peace in Iraq, there will be no peace in the Middle East unless all the regional partners are brought in to a framework of a political agreement,” he said.

Other Republicans argued that Tehran and Damascus had made it clear they would not work with the United States to bring stability to Iraq. “The idea that the key to our success is through Syria and Iran is naïve,” Mr. Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.”

[/q]
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Old 02-04-2007, 07:11 PM   #90
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Say what you want about this particular president, and the decisons that he has made....

but the article above detailing the latest Senate posturing is precisely the reason the Commander in Chief is given such considerable power in wartime.
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