The NIE released today and reaction to it gives us an idea of what reaction will be, at least from Congress. Here's Nancy Pelosi:
In today’s National Intelligence Estimate, the American people were presented with yet more evidence that the Iraqi government has failed to take the necessary steps to reach political reconciliation. Our military has performed their duties excellently, but the purpose of the escalation in Iraq was to create a secure environment in which political change could occur, and it is clear that the Iraqi leaders have failed to make progress.
Likewise, Harry Reid focuses on the failure of the escalation:
Today's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq confirms what most Americans already know: Our troops are mired in an Iraqi civil war and the President's escalation strategy has failed to produce the political results he promised to our troops and the American people....
Every day that we continue to stick to the President's flawed strategy is a day that America is not as secure as it could be. As the intelligence community reported in another NIE just weeks ago, America's attention is distracted from Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, which has regenerated its capacity to its pre-9/11 levels. That is why it is so essential that this September, Republicans join with Democrats to change course in Iraq and work to restore our nation's security.
That's the message to send, and I would recommend all of our presidential candidates currently serving in the Senate who are not named Chris Dodd take notes on that message, memorize it, and learn how to deliver it.
And that leads us to GOP Senator John Warner, who the traditional media is telling us had strong words for the president about ending this debacle. Strong words? You decide:
"I can of think no clearer form of that than if the president were to announce on the 15th that in consultation with our senior military commanders, he's decided to initiate the first step in a withdrawal of our forces. I say to the president, pick whatever number you wish. You do not want to lose the momentum. But in 160,000-plus, certainly 5,000 could begin to redeploy and be home to their families and loved ones no later than christmas of this year. That's the first step. Let the president establish the timetable of withdrawal, not the Congress."
And let John Warner complete abdicate his Constitutional obligation as a Senator of the United States to provide a check on an out-of-control executive. He wants Congress to take no action to bring about the end of this debacle. The leader of the WINO (Greg Sargent's brilliant term for the GOP Waverers in Name Only who bleat about how bad Iraq is but refuse to vote against their president) caucus has set the tone for all of those Republicans who will never vote against their president on Iraq.
Expect more of the same in September.
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