Warner: Pull out — but just a little

posted at 5:01 pm on August 23, 2007 by Allahpundit

So much for the “GOP has the momentum” theory. He started hinting about this last fall and has been picking up steam ever since, culminating with his call for a new AUMF last month. Now he’s gone the eighth of the whole nine yards, recommending the symbolic withdrawal of a small amount of U.S. troops to show the Iraqis we mean business just three weeks before Petraeus is due to speak. I wonder why. He’s up for re-election next year but it wouldn’t have cost him anything to wait until next month to call for withdrawal; if anything, pulling the plug before he’s heard Petraeus out is going to piss off some of his base. Maybe he thinks the pressure on him to vote with the GOP after the report is delivered will be so great that the only way to resist it is to commit to the anti-war side now. That’s weak, but I’ve got no other theories.

The occasion for this is the new NIE, which predicts continuing modest security gains over the next 12 months coupled with a further weakening — or outright disintegration? — of the Iraqi government as the Shiite coalition pulls apart. Bush and the Iraqi parliament seem unwilling to replace Maliki for fear that a new PM would take too long to warm up to the job to accomplish anything before the U.S. is out, but as it is the policy seems premised on the absurd hope either that the country will deteriorate to the point where Maliki has no choice but to renounce his sectarianism and embrace the Sunnis to save it or the surge will cripple the jihadis and militias so entirely that the politicians on both sides will reconcile simply because they no longer have guns backing them up. Anyone here see either scenario in the offing? Note this part of the NIE in particular:

The IC assesses that the emergence of “bottom-up” security initiatives, principally among Sunni Arabs and focused on combating AQI, represent the best prospect for improved security over the next six to 12 months, but we judge these initiatives will only translate into widespread political accommodation and enduring stability if the Iraqi Government accepts and supports them. A multi-stage process involving the Iraqi Government providing support and legitimacy for such initiatives could foster over the longer term political reconciliation between the participating Sunni Arabs and the national government. We also assess that under some conditions “bottom-up initiatives” could pose risks to the Iraqi Government…

Such initiatives, if not fully exploited by the Iraqi Government, could over time also shift greater power to the regions, undermine efforts to impose central authority, and reinvigorate armed opposition to the Baghdad government.

In other words, building up the Sunnis only makes it harder for the Shiites later in a civil war. The fact that Maliki is unwilling to do so shows you which way he’s betting on that.

Even so, the NIE advises staying the course:

We assess that changing the mission of Coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role to a primary combat support role for Iraqi forces and counterterrorist operations to prevent AQI from establishing a safehaven would erode security gains achieved thus far…

Recent security improvements in Iraq, including success against AQI, have depended significantly on the close synchronization of conventional counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations. A change of mission that interrupts that synchronization would place security improvements at risk.

That means no Baker-Hamilton, which leaves us with a choice of pulling out or maintaining roughly the same number of troops going forward. Maliki’s betting wisely, I think.


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Now he’s gone the eighth of the whole nine yards, recommending the symbolic withdrawal of a small amount of U.S. troops to show the Iraqis we mean business just three weeks before Petraeus is due to speak. I wonder why.

Is he trying to control the Democratic debate?

bnelson44 on August 23, 2007 at 5:10 PM

BTW Clinton just called for the removal of Maliki as Iraqi PM

William Amos on August 23, 2007 at 5:11 PM

Warner: Pull out — but just a little

Hmmm … probably shouldn’t touch that one.

But seriously, this is why poiticians suck at running wars.

infidel4life on August 23, 2007 at 5:13 PM

he’s a tool, forget him

Defector01 on August 23, 2007 at 5:13 PM

I think it’s time for John Warner to retire. Either that or the voters do it for him.

pilamaye on August 23, 2007 at 5:14 PM

What is it with these politicians? We’re winning, so let’s withdraw now? Has the whole country gone nuts?

jdawg on August 23, 2007 at 5:15 PM

damn–and i voted for him too

JVelez on August 23, 2007 at 5:17 PM

What is it with these politicians? We’re winning, so let’s withdraw now? Has the whole country gone nuts?

jdawg on August 23, 2007 at 5:15 PM

We’ve been winning, to some degree or another, for a long time now. It’s just that some people get sick of winning after a while.

askheaves on August 23, 2007 at 5:17 PM

jdawg on August 23, 2007 at 5:15 PM

What is it with these politicians? We’re winning, so let’s withdraw now? Has the whole country gone nuts?

Yup, and some of them for the sake of their own political careers want us to stop winning and surrender now before we actually do something embarrassing like WIN.

doriangrey on August 23, 2007 at 5:22 PM

There has to be some horse-trading going on behind the scenes. Either Warner is getting something in return that he wants really, really bad, or he has already written off returning to office next year and he is being used by the GOP as a trial balloon.

RushBaby on August 23, 2007 at 5:28 PM

BTW Clinton John F Kennedy just called for the removal of Maliki Ngo Dinh Deim as Iraqi PM Republic of Vietnam President

William Amos on August 23, 2007 at 5:11 PM

MB4 on August 23, 2007 at 5:31 PM

Hmmm … probably shouldn’t touch that one.

Hehehe. I was going to say, doesn’t Warner know that you should always use a condom?

I’ll be in my office…

Enrique on August 23, 2007 at 5:38 PM

Unbelievable.

Oh, sure, it may make a point, and it may cost only dozens or hundreds of lives.

What a point!

madmonkphotog on August 23, 2007 at 5:48 PM

Senator Warner, what are you doing? Your speech did nothing except give ammo for the cut and run liberals. Daily Kos is having a gay old time right now.

SoulGlo on August 23, 2007 at 5:52 PM

This guy is worthless and did nothing but scam the voters in VA which really isn’t all that hard

400lb Gorilla on August 23, 2007 at 5:53 PM

…as it is the policy seems premised on the absurd hope either that the country will deteriorate to the point where Maliki has no choice but to renounce his sectarianism and embrace the Sunnis to save it or the surge will cripple the jihadis and militias so entirely that the politicians on both sides will reconcile simply because they no longer have guns backing them up. Anyone here see either scenario in the offing?

Neither, and frankly I find the reading overall, both of current policy and of the NIE analysis, to be rather bizarrely constrictive and arbitrary – a strange exercise in thinking oneself into a corner. Politics in Iraq and elsewhere rarely comes down to all one or all the other. It’s not surprising that the attempt to reason from such an absurdity leads to absurdity. (Absurdity in, absurdity out.)

As for Warner, he’s been wobbling for a couple of years now. Something resembling his recommendation of a symbolic withdrawal may actually occur, but probably not on his terms.

CK MacLeod on August 23, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Daily Kos is having a gay old time right now.

SoulGlo on August 23, 2007 at 5:52 PM

Only right now?

infidel4life on August 23, 2007 at 6:17 PM

Pull out — but just a little

Boy do I have a line for that… but it may not be appreciated so I’ll pass.

Maxx on August 23, 2007 at 6:17 PM

Boy do I have a line for that… but it may not be appreciated so I’ll pass.

Maxx on August 23, 2007 at 6:17 PM

Let me try: Something having to do with a Scottish koala?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on August 23, 2007 at 6:30 PM

Good Lord Warner . . . go fishing, or go to Disneyland, or Wallyworld, but please just go away.

rplat on August 23, 2007 at 6:36 PM

Warner makes me ill…someone has to run against this dinosaur…

canvas on August 23, 2007 at 6:55 PM

Hmmm…

elgeneralisimo on August 23, 2007 at 7:22 PM

Warner, just shut up and sit down. You have become baggage we don’t need.

leanright on August 23, 2007 at 7:23 PM

Let me try: Something having to do with a Scottish koala?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on August 23, 2007 at 6:30 PM

Actually it involved a wiener dog but lets not get into it.

Maxx on August 23, 2007 at 7:55 PM

They ring this wet noodle out in the MSM every time he speaks while the dem who spoke out for the surge was barely noticed.

tomas on August 23, 2007 at 9:26 PM

This is the caliber of fauxCon we’ve tolerated for far too long.

I do have a suggestion though, instead of withdrawing troops lets send politicians and bureaucrats to Iraq to job shadow the Iraqi lawmakers.

They might build some grit, they can hopefully improve the Iraqis tit for tat diplomacy corruption and if they’re out of the country they can’t do so much damage here.

Speakup on August 23, 2007 at 9:29 PM

He is ONE of the main reasons that I would never send any money to the RNSC. They would waste it supporting him just like they did with $1.2 MILLION in the last election (2006) that they gave to Lincoln Chaffee, the worst RINO in the last Congress and he still went down to defeat. The two bleeding hearts in Maine, Gordon Smith in Oregon, Hagel in Nebraska and Warner are all RINO’s and they need to be replaced ASAP.

TruthToBeTold on August 23, 2007 at 9:44 PM

I say we go ahead and put it in all the way and get’er done.
We can wash it off and have a smoke later.

TheSitRep on August 23, 2007 at 9:52 PM

If you want a theory, here’s one:

Warner advocates a token gesture, which he knows will generate headlines that will overshadow his other comment that he would not support Democratic legislation championed by Levin that would call for Bush to bring troops home by a certain date.

A senior Democratic leadership is quoted at CNN:

“Will he [Warner] vote with us on anything? That is still the open and most important question,” the aide said. “A recommendation to the president is different than voting for binding legislative language compelling the president to act.”

Indeed. He may be fooling people here, but not in the Senate.

Karl on August 23, 2007 at 11:25 PM

Two related points to my last comment:

1. Warner didn’t wait for Gen. Petraeus because he just came back from Iraq. For Warner to say he wanted to wait would be met with the question of why he bothered to go on the trip;

2. This is not an “8 of 9 yards” situation; it’s a pregnancy — either you are or you aren’t.

Karl on August 23, 2007 at 11:36 PM

As a Virginian, what should I do in Nov. 2008 if I have a choice between Warner and a Dem? Not vote? Seriously, I’m the base that he’s pissing off.

krabbas on August 24, 2007 at 12:20 AM

Hey krabbas: what you should do as a Virginian is to make sure you are not stuck with the choice of Warner or a Democrat in 2008. In that event called the Republican primary, there needs to be a solid conservative who runs and beats Warner. What about Oliver North?

Phil Byler on August 24, 2007 at 6:57 AM

He looks so life-like.
I think he and Lugar share the same freezer.

Randy

williars on August 24, 2007 at 8:16 AM

Sounds like warner is in reelection mode.

Shame too.

Captain America on August 24, 2007 at 4:08 PM

test

Karl on September 19, 2007 at 2:59 PM