That brings the grand total of Republican senators calling for a change of course within the past week to four. This is the last thing Bush wants to hear now, with the next big push for withdrawal by the Democrats set to begin on Monday and John Warner, who’s promising to offer his own plan for a new strategy, already warning ominously that “You’ll be hearing a number of statements from other colleagues.”
They need 16 votes to override a veto. I wonder how close they’ll get.
Sen. Pete Domenici (N.M.), a 36-year Republican veteran of the Senate, abandoned President Bush’s Iraq war policy today by publicly endorsing legislation designed to withdraw nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by March 2008…
He announced during a press conference in Albuquerque that he was co-sponsoring legislation that would embrace the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, which called for a major redeployment that would leave only a limited number of troops in Iraq to focus on counter-terror operations and securing the border.
“I have carefully studied the Iraq situation, and believe we cannot continue asking our troops to sacrifice indefinitely while the Iraqi government is not making measurable progress to move its country forward,” Domenici said. “I do not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or a reduction in funding for our troops. But I do support a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home.”
Bush’s team has reportedly been murmuring for the past six weeks or so about a Baker-Hamilton resurgence and the House actually passed a measure to resurrect the Group back at the end of June. There’s no question we’re going to adopt some form of that strategy; the question is whether Bush is going to go along and pretend like he thinks it’s a good idea or if he’ll resist until Congress overrides him and then blame the chaos that follows withdrawal on them. Probably the former — I don’t think he could stand to have his war authority diminished the way the latter process would.
Either way, I think the already-dim prospects of a partisan “truce” are finished. The Dems hold the cards. What would they gain?
Meanwhile, the Sadrists are hooking up with Sunni and Kurdish opposition to try to defeat the new oil law. No American or British oil firms in Iraq, says Mookie, as the Kurds watch the prospect of critical foreign investment go up in smoke.