By: E&P Staff
While much of the media on Friday focused on two new Republican defections from the White House on the war in Iraq — namely, Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Jerry Doolittle — the Los Angeles Times found a couple more.
Staff writer Noam N. Levey secured quotes to this effect from two previously hawkish GOP senators.
“It should be clear to the president that there needs to be a new strategy,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. “Our policy in Iraq is drifting.”
Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who had helped lead the effort against Democratic restrictions on the “surge,” said: “We don’t seem to be making a lot of progress.” It is vital to have “a clear blueprint for how we were going to draw down,” he added.
“It’s as if the dike has burst,” said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who until recently had been one of the few outspoken GOP critics of the president’s war strategy.
Levey comments: “None of these GOP lawmakers has embraced Democratic legislation to compel a troop withdrawal. But nearly five years after congressional Republicans overwhelmingly answered Bush’s call for military action against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, some are doing what was once unthinkable: challenging a wartime president from their own party.
“By publicly branding Bush’s buildup a failure and calling for troops to begin coming home, they are forcing a reluctant White House to reassess how long it can maintain a large military presence in Iraq.”
Alexander warned that the president is running out of time.
“The parade is forming. We hope he’ll get to the front of it,” he said. “It may not be this week or next. But it needs to be soon.”