Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes to oppose surge; Update: Petition link added

12-9. Hagel was the only Republican to vote with the majority.

“We better be damn sure we know what we’re doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder,” said Hagel of Nebraska before the vote.

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the panel’s chairman, said the legislation is “not an attempt to embarrass the president. … It’s an attempt to save the president from making a significant mistake with regard to our policy in Iraq.”

“I oppose this nonbinding resolution on the basis that it’s the wrong tool” for Congress to use to get the president to change his policy, said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., ranking member on the panel. Lugar admitted he is “not confident that President Bush’s plan will succeed.”

“It is unclear to me how passing a nonbinding resolution that the president has already said he will ignore will contribute to any improvement or modification of our Iraq policy,” Lugar continued. “The president is deeply invested in this plan, and the deployments … have already begun.”

The AP counts nine Republicans, including Sam Brownback, as supporters of some of the various anti-surge resolutions floating around the Senate right now. They want a floor vote next week.

N.Z. Bear e-mails to say she’s putting together an online petition that will read, in substance, as follows:

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

There’s a conference call about it this afternoon. I’m ambivalent about the surge myself, but I’ll post a link to the petition when it goes live. In the meantime, here’s the NRSC website. Contact:

NRSC
Ronald Reagan Republican Center
425 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
202.675.6000
[email protected]

Update: Here’s N.Z.’s petition. Sign if you’re inclined.