We all know the Democrats, for the most part, have started running from the idea of stabilizing Iraq. With few exceptions, every “timetable withdrawal” measure that has come up in the Senate has failed to achieve Cloture. But it looks like chinks in the Republican armor are showing.
Two of the Republicans who voted for the Webb amendment, Sens. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) and Chuck Hagel (Neb.), announced this morning they would also support Democratic legislation, soon to come to a vote, that would begin troop reductions no later than 120 days after enactment. U.S. forces would then shift their efforts to targeted missions such as counterterrorism. The process would have to be completed by April 30, 2008.
“We have arrived at the crossroads of hope and reality, and we must now address the reality. We need to send a strong message from the United States Congress on behalf of the American people that the current strategy is unacceptable,” Snowe said.
Even some of the GOP frontrunners are shying away from a total commitment to the surge, regardless of how well it’s working.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson have made it clear that their original support for the escalation does not mean they are signed on to keeping the current 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, even as they have laid out hawkish positions on other aspects of foreign policy.
Their recent moves underscore the president’s growing isolation on Iraq as the GOP begins searching for a post-Bush foreign policy. The shifts also distance the three top contenders from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the former front-runner who Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment to the troop escalation.
Where does this sudden change on the issue come from? Upcoming elections, of course. For some reason, the 2006 election has been regarded in the political world as a “referendum on Iraq”. As the Democrats beat the Republicans, it must have been a statement that Americans want the troops out of Iraq- NOW! (as some bumper stickers exclaim).
But the disconnection of the modern politician with the actual population is remarkable, and it’s primarily driven by the reliance on pollsters and their questions. Nobody bothered to ask the people after the 2006 midterm elections why they voted for a Democrat instead of a Republican. Instead they just assumed, based on polling data, that the people were voting for Democrats to get America out of Iraq. Indeed, even Bush’s abysmal approval ratings have
bolstered such a claim. But is it the truth?
Congress has been working diligently to try and move the troops out of Iraq. If they were doing such a bang-up job of representing the true wishes of Americans, the approval rating should be higher than Bush’s. In fact, it’s not. It’s worse than Bush’s ratings! How can this be?
The truth of the matter is that Americans weren’t objecting to the war but to the management of the war. Bush bungled things, largely because of Rummy’s outdated perspective of the modern Iraqi and underestimation of the following insurgency (and, in all truth, I think everyone’s been surprised at the insurgency). But Bush has made several changes and has put the #1 guy in charge of Iraq, Prateus, who can effectively mount a counter-insurgency operation. He needed a troop surge to do it, and he’s getting it, and he’s getting results. We’re not even in the full swing of the Surge and we’re already seeing concrete results.
But you won’t know it looking at our politicians. Some, like Fearless Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), already think we’ve lost in Iraq. Now a bunch of weak-kneed Republicans are siding with the Democrats because they are more than willing to sell American foreign interests down the river for some political capital. We’ve already seen the Democrats do this, but Chuck Hagel, you really should know better.
The 2006 election was a message that the people wanted change in how we were tackling Iraq. Bush changed, and it was a GREAT change. I feel optimistic that our current strategy will lock up the insurgency and finally allow Iraq to get back to normal. (Of course, none of the good news is reported, which is probably why these GOP turncoats are wetting themselves as they look forward to 2008).
We’re on a new course, and we should stay this course, at least long enough (2 years) to determine if this strategy is working. And from what people on the ground, like Michael Yon, are reporting– good things are happening. Why should we abandon our good work for minor political appeasement? Shame on all the quitters– if we abandon Iraq, we’re surrendering to Al-Queda. Is that the message we really want to send?