Bush faces open revolt over Iraq

An increasingly-isolated President George W. Bush heads into tonight’s State of the Union Speech facing mounting opposition to his failed Iraq war policies and escalating defections from his own party.

Bush’s decision to send more troops to Iraq brought increasing Republican opposition Monday as a Democratic-led Senate panel prepared tough questioning for the man who would carry out the plan as the new war commander.

012307bush.jpgAFP Photo

With opinion polls showing Bush’s approval rating at the lowest point for an American president since Richard M. Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, Bush faces a serious crisis of confidence from all fronts.

White House sources tell Capitol Hill Blue that the President is visibly angered by increasing Republican opposition to his Iraq war policies and that the West Wing operates today under a “siege mentality.” Staff members say they are aware of eroding public and political support for the President but add that no one is willing to confront Bush on the issue.

“The ship of state is sinking and the lifeboats are full,” says one senior staff member.

On Capitol Hill Lt. Gen. David Petraeus testifies today in a bid for his fourth star and command of the Iraq war. Petraeus would replace Gen. George Casey, who has been tapped to become the next Army chief of staff.

Petraeus, a former division commander and once the head of the Iraqi training mission, is considered a shoo-in for the position. Devoted early in the war to trying to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis, Petraeus later wrote the Pentagon manual on how to tackle insurgencies. He also previously supported expanding U.S. forces in the region.

But Petraeus will have a tough sell before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which must approve his nomination, if he is going to back the president in sending 21,500 troops in addition to the estimated 130,000 already there.

Sen. John Warner of Virginia and two other Republicans on Monday announced legislation denouncing the increase, as House leadership drafted what they called “strategic benchmarks” for the war.

“How much louder — and how much clearer — does the opposition to his plan need to be before the president will begin to listen and respond to the voices of the American people, the generals and a bipartisan majority of Congress?” Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said a day before Bush was scheduled to give his annual State of the Union address.

Kennedy and other lawmakers on the Armed Services panel were expected to ask Petraeus whether he thought the added troops would make a difference in Iraq. Critics of the plan contend ground commanders have not been clamoring for more troops.

Warner, a former Navy secretary and defense hawk who chaired the panel until this year, is likely to provide political cover for members wary of the war plan but reluctant to embarrass a GOP president. His resolution — backed by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb. — would say the Senate disagrees with the plan to augment U.S. forces and that the president should consider options that would achieve “strategic goals” with fewer troops than 21,500.

“I feel ever so strongly that the American GI was not trained, not sent over — certainly not by resolution of this institution — to be placed in the middle of a fight between the Sunni and the Shiite and the wanton, incomprehensible killing that’s going on at this time,” Warner told reporters Monday.

The resolution is similar to one offered last week by Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Carl Levin, D-Mich. Biden is running for president, and Hagel is a potential 2008 candidate.

Since Bush announced his plan on Jan. 10, Congress has been deeply split on how to react. Senate and House Democratic leaders back the resolution drafted by Hagel, Levin and Biden. That measure will likely be voted on by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday and sent to the floor, where GOP leaders have vowed a filibuster.

While the various measures have varying amounts of support, none carries the weight of a law that would bar the president, as commander in chief, from deploying military personnel as he sees fit.

Warner said he believed his plan would offer broader appeal among Republicans than Hagel’s proposal. While largely similar, Warner’s measure leaves open the possibility of Bush sending small numbers of troops to certain areas, such as Anbar province, and avoids terms some say are partisan.

“It’s a stronger message when it has significant bipartisan support. … This resolution will really, I think, be a very strong message to the White House,” Nelson said.

But not every member is willing to sign on.

“It declares General Petraeus’ new strategy a failure before it has a chance to be implemented,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said he has told the president “that the support is still strong among Republicans but there are a lot of our members who are skeptical that the plan will work” because of doubts that the Iraqi government will follow through on its commitments.

(Parts of this article were written by Anne Flaherty of The Associated Press)


  1. Renee

    No way I can watch his smug, arrogant, squinty-eyed rat-face and listen to more of his baloney just before trying to go sleep. He raises my blood pressure too much, so I’ll just ignore him and pop in a movie. Then I’ll find out what he said and be able to laugh my butt off at the same time by watching Letterman, Leno,Jon Stewart, and Steven Colbert have a field day with whatever nonsense he spouts. I definitely support double impeachment and Leavenworth for Bush and Cheney. I don’t get what the problem is- any other president who pulled the stuff he has would have been behind bars by now. Where’s the petition? I’ll be glad to sign.
    Bring our troops home now, and God bless all the real patriots who demand the truth and want action taken to restore our country and peace, instead of just blindly following the antichrist into the pit. Keep the pressure up, my friends!

  2. Jennifer

    Yeah, yeah, yeah………
    MSNBC just did a poll 87% of this country thinks, thank god, thinks THEY should be impeached!!!
    We can win, if we all try, my friends. Vote on this, too!

  3. Jennifer

    Leavenworth…Peltier is there unjustly, although many of us have petitions for his release.
    He could tell Bush & Cheney what is JUST for those 2 criminals and how innocent
    people have to spend their whole lives incarcerated because of lies.
    The men there, I’m sure know of this administrations crimes of inhumane treatment and murders of innocent people, in Iraq, Afganistan, Gitmo.
    They will show them, how it feels! They deserve the whole treatment, maybe water-boarding to show them how that feels, too.

  4. The South Point

    Leavenworth for Bush and Cheney!

    Or the Hague. That way we won’t have to pay for their upkeep in prison.

  5. Miss Grace

    Are you as sure as I am that warmongering PNAC and the Pentagon have cooked up a false flag operation to cast blame on Iran and give Bush an excuse to invade in the very near future? My guess is that it will be a fake attack on one of the carriers.

    A friend has suggested that when the Pentagon memo estimating high troop losses was prepared, the writer had full knowledge of the future plan, and was factoring in those losses as well.

  6. Carl Nemo

    Although they claim that Petraeus has written the modern “book” on counterguerilla warfare he evidently failed to read and understand Karl von Clausewitz’s “Classifications of the Art of War” or possibly even the “Sun Tzu”. Clausewitz warned of the complexities of such an embroilment as we found ourselves in Nam and now Iraq with Iraq being worse because we are not only occupiers in their lands but having wedged ourselves in the middle of a religous civil war. It is unwinnable, plain and simple and we will be ground up as in a “meat grinder”. We cannot “win the hearts and minds” of these people because they look upon the Christian West as the “the Great Satan”. They aren’t interested in shopping malls and Disney theme parks. Their religion is everything to them. Middle Eastern “business” types that have been corrupted by the West are even expendable to them.

    Excerpts from the “Art of War” von Clauswitz

    The guerrilla concept in Clausewitz’s “people’s war” is further described as an almost natural force: It can perhaps be channeled, but it cannot be made out of its time. It can be encouraged in its course, but it cannot be mobilized like a conventional brigade or battalion with money and gunpowder brigade or battalion with money and gunpowder alone.53 Clausewitz likens guerrilla uprisings to the phenomena of precipitation and fire:

    Its effect is like that of the process of evaporation; it depends on how much surface is exposed. The greater the surface and the area of contact between it and the enemy forces, the thinner the latter have to be spread, the greater the effect of a general uprising. Like smoldering embers, it consumes the basic foundations of the enemy forces…. A state of tension will develop while the two elements interact. This tension will either gradually relax If the insurgency is suppressed in some places and slowly burns itself out in others, or else it will build up to a crisis: a general conflagration closes in on the enemy, driving him out of the country before he is faced with total destruction.54

    Note: for clarification in the aforementioned excerpts “we are the enemy”


  7. Keith

    As President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “It is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the President or anyone else.”

  8. Lou Raskin

    Individual Congressional actions are intended for positioning for the 2008 elections—the Ds, like in the 2006 election, want the Rs to continue their self-destructive ways; the Rs, hanging by their finger nails will continue to “buy time” while following their self defeating course.

    This screenplay needs a new writer.

  9. Bill Jonke

    If ever there was one, this president needs to be embarrassed, big time.

    Our government officials, one of which is Warner, need to put their boots on and crush the dodo eggs they’re walking on at present and forget about protecting the ego of the head dodo in office right now.

  10. Kent Shaw

    No need to worry about a mental meltdown behind the podium this evening. The Chancellor will be so drugged up he’ll have to hold onto it just to remain standing. What would REALLY send a message would be for the Democrats to just not show up. You have to hand it to the Brits. They are much more raucous and rowdy in their Parliament than we are in our House and Senate.