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Reviews Are In

Photo: Doug Mills for the New York Times

The reviews are in on President Bush’s “surge” plan for Iraq, and they aren’t pretty. Yesterday, one day after Bush announced his plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced a firing squad of skepticism from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

As the Washington Post put it, “after four devisive years” the Bush administration has “finally succeeded in uniting Congress on the war in Iraq.” Unfortunately the newfound unity is “in opposition to President Bush’s new policy.” Here are just a few of the comments Rice heard from Senators yesterday.

Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida:

    I have supported you and the administration on the war, and I cannot continue to support the administration’s position. I have not been told the truth over and over again by administration witnesses, and the American people have not been told the truth.

Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska:

    I have to say…that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.

Russell Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin:

    Quite possibly the greatest foreign policy mistake in the history of our nation.

Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois:

    This administration took a gamble. It appears that it has failed….

George Voinovich, Republican of Ohio:

    I’ve gone along with the president on this, and I bought into his dream, and at this stage of the game, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Joseph Biden, Democrat of Delaware and chairman of the committee:

    I hope you’ll convey to the president that you heard 21 members, with one or two notable exceptions, expressing outright hostility, disagreement, and/or overwhelming concern with the president’s proposal.

One of America’s most credible analysts of international policy, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, weighed in today in a Washington Post op-ed:

    America is acting like a colonial power in Iraq. But the age of colonialism is over. Waging a colonial war in the post-colonial age is self-defeating. That is the fatal flaw of Bush’s policy.

Speaking of colonialism, does Iraq even want the new troops? U.S. officials and media talk about American “support” for Iraq, but is this “support” or an occupation? Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been conspicuous in his silence on the “surge” plan. He has “never sought an increased U.S. military footprint,” according to the Washington Post. He is reluctant to take on the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr. And while the “surge” is aimed at putting more U.S. troops on the streets of Baghdad, he recently asked Bush to do exactly the opposite, “pull out of the cities and leave security to the Iraqi Army.”

President Bush has already told the world that he will forge ahead in Iraq even if his wife Laura and his dog Barney are his only remaining supporters. It looks like we’ve just about reached that point.

UPDATE: One of my favorite political commentators, Frank Rich of the New York Times, uses the “surge” issue to call for President Bush’s resignation. Recalling the Watergate scandal of Richard Nixon, he calls for some “patricarch” of the Republican Party to break publicly with Bush and provoke his departure.

    I have long felt that it will be up to Mr. Bush’s own party to ring down the curtain on his failed policy…. …we must hope that John Warner or some patriot like him will, for the good of the country, answer the call of conscience. A dangerous president must be saved from himself, so that the American kids he’s about to hurl into the hell of Baghdad can be saved along with him.

Curses upon the New York Times for putting Rich behind a subscription-only firewall so the rest of you can’t read him!


Comment from Liosliath
Time: January 13, 2007, 02:06

And did you see Condi’s FACE during all this? She looked like she was about to explode.

I also don’t think Barney or Ms. Beasley is on his side.

Comment from jilal
Time: January 13, 2007, 14:42


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