Warner: Time to bring troops home

Sen. John Warner’s call for troop withdrawals from Iraq is likely to ratchet up pressure on President Bush substantially and lend momentum to Democratic efforts to end U.S. combat.

Warner, R-Va., former chairman of the Armed Services Committee and Navy secretary during the Vietnam War, said Bush should bring some troops home by Christmas. Doing so, he told reporters Thursday, would send a powerful message that the U.S. commitment in Iraq was not open-ended.

Warner says the president should get to decide when and how many troops should leave. Bush has opposed setting a date to pull out troops and contends that conditions on the ground should dictate deployments.

“I’m hopeful that this (redeployment) could lead to more emphasis on the Iraqi forces taking the major responsibility, as it relates to the internal insurgency in that country,” the Virginia Republican said.

Warner’s suggestion comes as a new intelligence assessment says Iraqis have failed to govern effectively or reach the political compromises believed necessary to tamp down sectarian violence.

Overall, the report finds that Iraq’s security will continue to “improve modestly” over the next six to 12 months, provided that coalition forces mount strong counterinsurgency operations and mentor Iraqi forces. But even then, violence levels will remain high as the country struggles to achieve national political reconciliation, and the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is likely to become increasingly vulnerable because of criticism from various Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions.

“The strains of the security situation and absence of key leaders have stalled internal political debates, slowed national decision-making, and increased Maliki’s vulnerability” to factions that could form a rivaling coalition, the document says.

Democrats say the grim report and Warner’s conclusion bolster their position that Bush should change course and start bringing troops home this fall. Party leaders this year tried to pass legislation ordering troops home this fall, but repeatedly fell short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass.

“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,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Republican leaders countered that the intelligence assessment bolsters their position that U.S. troops should stay. The report warns that limiting the mission of U.S. forces to a support role and counterterrorist operations — as Democrats and some Republicans suggest — would “erode security gains achieved thus far.”

“The fact that Democratic leaders continue to push for precipitous withdrawal despite the significant progress our troops are making shows just how deeply invested they are in failure,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Democrats agree the military has made substantial gains in Iraq, but they say the progress made is useless if the Iraqi government is unable to take control.


  1. sherry

    Blah, blah.
    This is also the author of the Military Detainee Act which chucked habeas corpus.
    He is also running for re election. I guess he is trying to look independent of Bush.
    Warner is a disgrace and his current panhandling just shows him for the hypocritical slime he is
    Sherry Morrison
    Roanoke, VA

  2. Sandra Price

    He’s too damn late! I hope he loses his Senate seat in 2008 and let it be a lesson for all candidates who look away from our U.S. Constitution.

  3. VietnamVet

    Yeah, he sit on his ass and supported this war while over 3,000 of our troops died! Nice time to come out of the closet when elections are coming up, right? What a bunch of hipocrites!

    BTW, its not only people that are coming out now; even the Australian government now admits it was OIL, just like many of us already knew, that pushed them to support Mr. Bush’s war. You can see it here:


    But, hell will freeze over before Bush and Cheney fess up to that!

  4. Wayne K Dolik

    I watched the press conference with old “blood and guts” yesterday. Suggesting we relocate only 5,000 troops seems to me like kick the can when we have 160,00 troops in this hopeless quagmire. Republicans need to do much more than merely posture in hopes of re-election in 2008. We are on to this scam. It won’t play anymore.

    I have many neighbors that are in the Marine Corps and Army. Many are being redeployed to Iraq. I cringe every time one or their wives tell me, that they have to go again. It seems it’s all about old white guys sending our kids off to die. Well, that hasn’t changed since Viet Nam.