GOP Worried About Petraeus Effect

After two days of Senate testimony by General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Republicans are worried.

By Tuesday, it was clear that although such a drawdown would remove the nearly 30,000 reinforcements by next summer, it would leave 130,000 troops in Iraq, a force size that troubled both Republicans and Democrats.

Especially concerned were GOP senators who face reelection next year. They seemed worried by the increasing likelihood that there would be little political progress in Iraq and high levels of U.S. troops there come election day 2008.

House leader Nancy Pelosi expressed her concern this way:


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said she told Bush that Petraeus' presentation sounded like "a plan for at least a 10-year, high-level U.S. presence in Iraq."

The end result is we may see more Republican Senators, particularly those up for re-election like Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, backing Democratic plans for withdrawal.

The doubts expressed by Dole, Coleman and others could provide a renewed opportunity for Democrats, who are working on alternative proposals that stop short of setting a withdrawal deadline but could attract more Republican support.

Unfortunately, the Dems still don't sound like thay've grown the necessary spine yet. Some, like Sen. Charles Schumer, still think half-measures like this will appease us:

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, another member of the Democratic leadership, said a proposal by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to mandate more rest between deployments for troops that have served in Iraq is likely to be reintroduced.

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    No spine, more war (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cmpnwtr on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:40:58 AM EST
    Perhaps the Dems think it's good politics to sit back and complain about "endless war." Then run against Bush's war in '08. Maybe that will work politically, but who will trust them to be leaders when they don't have the courage to stand up  and confront the sham that Petraeus is in being "Bush's boy", and use the power they have to stop this tragedy? I certainly don't trust them. They have betrayed all the people who worked so hard to bring them to the majority and daily send more Americans and more Iraqis to their deaths in this "endless war." They now have blood on their hands.

    Mandatory rest (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by joejoejoe on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:23:03 AM EST
    It's not either/or.

    The Webb amendment requires equal time off deployment as on deployment. Currently the Army is 15 months in/12 months out. To meet the terms of the Webb amendment rest would have to be extended 3 months or tours shortened by three months.

    Giving proper rest and reset is the right thing to do even in a popular, just, and successful war. It's the right thing to do for Iraq as well.

    If the Senate Democratic leadership is offering the Webb bill as a substitute for withdrawal timelines that's wrong but regardless of the outcome of the timeline debate the Webb amendment should be made law.

    GOP are worried but for the wrong reasons. (4.50 / 2) (#7)
    by Saul on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 09:41:10 AM EST
    Instead of being worried that this war cannot continue as is by the GOP they are worried not for the troops that have died or will die, not for the wounded or to be wounded but they are worried for their political lives.  That's the rub.  It's a shame that the only reason now that the GOP might be against this war is because of what happened in the 06 midterm election.  On the other hand it would be criminal in my opinion, if the only reason the Democrats who can stop the war now but do not by not voting for any more money, and only  want the war to continue until 08 to  insure their take over of the both houses of congress and the white house.  

    Re: they are worried for their political lives (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 09:48:53 AM EST
    Would that the Democratic Leadership and presidential frontrunners were worried for their political lives.

    ...if leading Democrats heard enough people say to them that they will not vote for ANY Democrats next year EXCEPT Democrats who have been vocally, and by their votes on supplementals, calling for total withdrawal from Iraq they would quickly notice.

    They are politicians after all, and they are concerned with winning elections.

    They would notice if enough people turned the tables on them and used fear to motivate them, instead of voting simply out of fear of republicans.

    If Democrats were filled with fear that they would lose Congress and the presidency UNLESS the occupation was ended before the 2008 elections, they would end the occupation of Iraq.

    Stop calling it a troop draw down (2.00 / 1) (#6)
    by lilybart on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 07:45:00 AM EST
    Bush is saying that his surge is going to continue to next summer, nah nah nah. Until the army won't give him any more troops that is.  

    It is NOT a troop withdrawl.

    The Webb Amendment (none / 0) (#2)
    by Linkmeister on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:20:48 AM EST
    mandates more time between deployments; it was defeated 56-41 back in July.  The beauty of it was that it automatically created a drawdown by virtue of requiring some lengthy time period of rest (a year, maybe? Can't remember) before a unit could be sent back to Iraq or Afghanistan.  Thus the Army would have been forced to have fewer soldiers there because the replacement units couldn't, by law, be sent back.

    Courtesy of hill.com: (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:26:09 AM EST
    Signaling concern with the continuing erratic deployment schedules, the amendment requires the Pentagon to give active-duty troops at least as much time at home as they spent on deployments, and mandates that National Guard and Reserve members get to stay home for three years following their one-year deployments.  

    Not just spine (none / 0) (#5)
    by kovie on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 04:30:11 AM EST
    But apparent determination, combativeness, and, frankly, brains. I am not at all impressed with the questions posed by most Dems this week to Petraeus and Crocker. One can hardly even call them questions, as most of them have taken at least 75% of their alloted time to make pointless boiletplate speeches that we've heard a thousand times, and then maybe ask questions so simplistic and open-ended as to make one wonder how these fools ever got election.

    Even Obama flubbed his big opportunity today, giving a long soliloquey about how terrible the war is and how we should never have gotten into it and how messed up things are (thanks, Barack, since none of us knew that until today), and then asking the idiotic question of when we can expect our military and political objectives to be met so we can leave. Duh, like this hasn't been one of the main questions we've all long since stopped asking because it's totally besides the point, since one, we all know that these objectives will NEVER be met, and two, the administration does not care, since it's determined to keep us in Iraq until they leave office and pass this mess off on the next guy or gal.

    I can't believe that many these people are lawyers, since they're asking such useless questions. Instead of asking broad and open-ended ones that can be (and have been) quickly dismissed with statistics and expressions of hope, why not ask specific, pointed, limiting questions that cannot be answered truthfully (and to which it would be hard to answer with a lie) and which, if answered honestly, will show how pointless and stupid it is to stay in Iraq. Like Warner's question about whether the surge and being in Iraq has made or is likely to make the US safer. What a great question, simple yet specific. Like, yeah, that's a beautiful invention you've got there, but what does it do, and will it help me mow the lawn or boil a pot of water? You know, stuff that I CARE about.

    That "Miracle in Anbar" they keep touting, can it be replicated in other regions of Iraq? Can it be sustained? Can it be subsumed under a national Iraqi security infrastructure? How are Baghdad and the rest of Iraq's cities going to be made safe, secure and stable? Why has this not happened yet after 4 years? How can we expect this to happen if it hasn't happened yet, especially since we appear to be drawing down the surge by spring? How exactly do these pockets of success that the surge and other ongoing efforts have supposedly brought about tie together in a way that can bring the entire country under control in a meaningful and sustainable manner, and even if that was possible, what would it matter if there appears to be no reason to believe that political reconciliation is going to happen? And so on? Stop asking questions that they can evade, and start asking ones that they cannot, without either lying or showing what a pointless sham this all is.

    Some of the Dems asked good questions, but most of them appear to be asleep at the wheel and going through the motions, having either given up on the possibility of ending the war, or feeling that it doesn't matter, electorally (and in the end, that's what most of them really care about--not all, but most). It looks like it's going to be up to increasingly worried Repubs to ask these questions, not out of principle, but out of political fear, like the old saying about how nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of being hanged.

    Um, GO GOP!? ;-)