Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Bush, next top commander caution patience as Senate steams ahead on Iraq vote

Bush, next top commander caution patience as Senate steams ahead on Iraq vote

President George W. Bush and the next top commander in Iraq are pleading for patience among lawmakers and a public tired of the war. They may be too late.
At least eight Republican senators say they now back legislative proposals condemning Bush's decision to send more troops into Iraq. The growing list _ which includes Sens. Gordon Smith, George Voinovich and Sam Brownback _ has emboldened Democrats, who are pushing for a vote by next week on a rebuke of the president's Iraq policy.
Republican defections for Bush's Iraq policy spell trouble for an administration that has come to rely on congressional Republicans to champion its agenda. While many Bush loyalists remain, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is a Kentucky Republican, other lawmakers say the president cannot continue down a path the public does not support.
White House officials "realize you can't conduct a war with one party for it and one against it, and we're getting in that type of position," said Brownback, a Kansas Republican. "And that is not a durable position."
On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was to review one of the legislative measures under discussion. The resolution was expected to pass, with each of the panel's 11 Democrats voting in favor of it, alongside Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
Republican Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota initially reluctant to sign on to the resolution because he deemed it too partisan, said he would try to amend the language to broaden its appeal. Democratic Sens. Christopher Dodd and Barack Obama _ two presidential hopefuls _ planned to weigh in with proposals that would toughen the measure.
Sen. Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the panel, planned to reject the resolution but not before registering his own concerns.
"I am not confident that President Bush's plan will succeed," said Lugar, an Indiana Republican, according to prepared remarks. He suggested stepped-up oversight, including seeking assurances from the administration that it is planning for the possibility of failure.
"I say to my colleagues that we are selling our powers short with this resolution," he said.
As lawmakers considered their next steps, the Army general tapped to implement Bush's plan told a Senate panel Tuesday that more troops are necessary and he could not do his job without them.
"We face a determined, adaptable, barbaric enemy," said Lt. Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "He will try to wait us out. In fact, any such endeavor is a test of wills, and there are no guarantees."
In his State of the Union address, Bush reiterated those remarks: "Give it a chance to work."
Many lawmakers remained reluctant.
"I wonder whether the clock has already run out," said Sen. Susan Collins. She said she was worried that U.S. troops in Iraq are already perceived "not as liberators but as occupiers."
Republicans Collins, Smith and Coleman are co-sponsoring a resolution drafted by Sen. John Warner that states Senate opposition to the president's plan to send 21,500 troops but leaves open the possibility of Bush sending in a much smaller number of troops, particularly to the western Anbar province.
On Tuesday, Brownback and Voinovich, a Republican of Ohio, said they too were inclined to vote in favor of Warner's measure.
Warner, a prominent Republican from Virginia and former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, cast his measure as a milder alternative to the one backed by Democrats and being reviewed Wednesday by the Foreign Relations Committee. That resolution was drafted by Chairman Sen. Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat, alongside Hagel and Sens. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican and Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat.
As a member of the panel, Coleman is expected to offer two amendments to bring it closer to Warner's resolution.
"He feels it important to distinguish between troop increases in Baghdad where the conflict is largely sectarian, as opposed to Anbar where we are engaged in a battle against al-Qaida and terrorists forces," spokesman LeRoy Coleman said.


Updated : 2021-10-19 09:51 GMT+08:00