Saturday, July 07, 2007

GOP Senators: Still Pro-War

I write this blog with trepidation, and the hope that I am merely pessimistic. But here goes....

First it was Richard Lugar of Indiana. On June 26, 2007 the hawkish ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stated from his chamber's floor "persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term." Later that day, Senator George Voinovich of Ohio, "concerned that we are running out of time," wrote President Bush "...we must begin to develop a comprehensive plan for our country's gradual military disengagement from Iraq." Then, on July 5, 2007 Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico announced at a news conference in Albuquerque "I do support a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home."

What do these three statements of Republican Senators have in common? Let's listen in:
Voinovich: "We must not abandon our mission... and I have openly opposed any form of precipitous withdrawal...." Domenici: "I do not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or a reduction in funding for our troops." And, according to, Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher "says the speech does not mean Lugar would switch his vote on the war or embrace Democratic measures setting a deadline for troop withdrawals."

All three statements are rather vague and do little to suggest how either Senator will vote on any substantive measure which might be introduced this autumn to end Gulf War II.
And certainly nothing about redeployment of troops in the region to combat Al-Quaeda, a critical failure considering the Administration's lack of concern with any of the terrorist organization's members outside of Iraq.
We already know from Ron Suskind in The One Percent Doctrine that George W. Bush let Osama bin Laden get out of Tora Bora in late 2001. According to The Left, the CIA official managing the Afghanistan campaign in the wake of the 9/11/01 attacks brought a detailed map to the President and Dick Cheney along with the message that the Pakistan army and pro-U.S. Afghan militias assigned to nail bin Laden were incapable of doing so. The official, Henry A. Crumpton, stated that American forces were required to capture the terrorist, but Bush declined to follow the advice.
Now we learn from Steve Benen of Political Animal of further incompetence of the President in pursuing the "War on Terror." In the first Bush-Kerry debate of 2004, Mr. Bush boasted "We busted the A.Q. Khan network. This was a proliferator out of Pakistan that was selling secrets to places like North Korea and Libya." Bush actually had agreed to a deal in which Khan had "been slapped on the wrist" by Pakistani officials and now is "virtually a free citizen."
So the Administration continues to emphasize the threat that al Qaeda poses in Iraq- and ignores the threat it poses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, probably with the support of A.Q. Khan and his proliferation business.
The Taliban is reportedly making a comeback in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, we are supplying Pakistan with approximately eighty million dollars a month in counter-terrorism aid, and in September, 2006 the Musharraf regime stikes a deal to cede all control in northwestern Pakistan (where bin Laden is believed to have crossed from Afghanistan) with the tribal warlords.
And what is the bold, dynamic leadership coming from the Grand Old Party? As the words of George Voinovich to President Bush ring out: "I have consistently opposed efforts to limit your powers as our Commander-in-Chief." Pathetic.

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