Warner issues dismal warnings on failed Iraq war

By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY

Sen. John Warner on Thursday offered his darkest assessment yet of Iraq, saying the war there was "drifting sideways" without a commitment from its government to disarm militias.

Warner, a Republican and Bush loyalist, made his comments to reporters upon returning from a recent trip to the region.

He said the military had done what it could and that Congress must make some "bold decisions" if, after three months, progress is not made by the Iraqis to calm ethnic violence and hasten reconstruction.

Warner did not say what he thinks Congress should do, but added all options will be considered. Lawmakers have suggested various remedies, including setting a timetable to pull out U.S. troops and dividing the country into smaller independent ethnic states.

"There is progress being made in certain areas," said Warner, a Virginian who chairs the Armed Services Committee. But "you just find that so many communities don’t even have drinking water. … It seems to me that the situation is simply drifting sideways."

While Warner has expressed grave concerns about Iraq in the past, his description of a nation hobbled by violent ethnic killings and an ineffective government was his most pessimistic yet.

It underscored growing concerns among Republicans facing midterm elections this November that the White House must change course. Most recently, House moderate Chris Shays, R-Conn., called on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign.

Warner’s suggestion that the Iraqi government has a limited time to show improvement echoed a message delivered this week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice said the security situation was "not one that can be tolerated and it is not one that is being helped by political inaction."

Pressure on the Iraqi government comes as both U.S. casualties and ethnic killings in Iraq are on the rise, and war-weary voters head to the polls on Nov. 7.

Warner said he sees the next 60 to 90 days as most critical juncture yet in the war because Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki is growing into the job and says he is committed to disarming militias.

Military generals in Iraq have declined to speculate when U.S. troops might be able to come home. Warner said he was told on his latest trip that, at the earliest, U.S. and Iraqi forces may have an agreement at the end of the year outlining when and how responsibility could begin to be transferred to the Iraqis.


© 2006 The Associated Press

8 Responses to "Warner issues dismal warnings on failed Iraq war"

  1. R. R.  October 6, 2006 at 5:01 am
  2. Manuel  October 6, 2006 at 1:05 pm
  3. Timothy Richley  October 6, 2006 at 6:36 pm
  4. cincigal74  October 7, 2006 at 4:23 am
  5. R. R.  October 6, 2006 at 5:01 am

    I often wonder how he gets up each morning and shaves knowing he will have to carry water for that miserable failure for another day. Currently I have a daughter, son-in-law and nephew involved in this giant FUBAR. I have seen Warner make a show of concern from time to time yet in the end he always caves in to this ridiculous Whitehouse. I have to believe it is perhaps all for show. Some day I’ll have to ask him.

  6. Manuel  October 6, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    This is nothing but mid term election rhetoric aimed at trying to sway a voter to think that this republican congress cares. Why have Bush not called Warner and other republicans who are saying similar things “anti american?” Why have Bush not called these REPUBLICANS “cut and run” supporters of terrorists? The answer: nothing more than political horse dung!
    I am a veteran of 21 years and I tell young men and women every day not to join the military because the only thing that will happen is BUSH WILL TRY AND GET THEM KILLED FOR HIS OWN POLITICAL GAIN.

  7. Timothy Richley  October 6, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    interesting that this comment from Warner has only appeared here and on the show Countdown, My daily paper has an Iraq/Afganistan war page that runs 7 days a week, and even tho they do print critical stories of GWB policy, I haven’t seen this from Warner. Rice “warning” Iraq is there, but not Warner’s statement that it is past time for GWB to fish or cut bait.

  8. cincigal74  October 7, 2006 at 4:23 am

    Warner is all talk and no action.He pretended to be shocked and outraged at the Detainee abuse then the bill about the Geneva conventions and torture.How long did that last?Bush and Cheney will call him on the carpet and he will change his story in a hurry.He has no creditability.He is worse than Rice.He is a pathetic old jerk.He cares only about himself.

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