Thursday, January 11, 2007

Some Republicans Getting Worried About "Surge" Plan

These Republicans should relax, Bush announced the "surge" as part of a trap for the Democrats.

George W. Bush's decision to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq has members of his own party scared that the strategy could fail and cause voters to turn on Republicans in 2008 in a replay of the midterm elections.

Bush, outlining his troop buildup in a prime-time address last night, said a beefed-up U.S. force will restore order to a chaotic Baghdad and provide incentives for Iraq's government to step up home-grown security measures.

Publicly, most Republican leaders have closed ranks around the commander-in-chief, asserting the troop infusion is a short-term step that deserves a chance to work. Yet some Republicans who have rallied around the White House in the past are now distancing themselves from the buildup.

"A troop surge would put more American troops at risk to address a problem that is not a military problem," Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a speech yesterday.

"I oppose the troop surge in Baghdad because it is not a strategy for victory," said Coleman, who faces a potentially tough re-election in 2008.

Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who is exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination, has also broken ranks. "I do not believe sending more troops to Iraq is the answer," Brownback said yesterday in a statement. "Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution."

Republican Representative Heather Wilson of New Mexico, an Air Force veteran, also voiced doubts after Bush's speech. "I'm skeptical that this strategy will work," she said in a telephone interview. ...

Oregon Senator Gordon Smith is another buildup opponent. "We've done surges before, and they've gotten us nowhere," he said in an interview this week. "I'm skeptical about another unless there's some redefinition of victory that I haven't heard yet." Republican Smith also faces re-election in 2008.

Senator Smith -- after your recent public doubts about the legality of the war -- do you expect that the White House is willing to share the logic behind their Rovian plots with you?

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