View Full Version : Bush Lashes Out At Opponents On Iraq Plan

01-13-2007, 04:11 PM
Bush Lashes Out at Opponents on Iraq Plan


By Daniela Deane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 13, 2007; 12:48 PM

President Bush fought back at lawmakers opposing his new plan for Iraq today, charging that simply being against the strategy without suggesting alternatives was "irresponsible." He challenged them to come up with a better plan.

Bush made his comments in his weekly radio address two days after top officials of his administration received a roasting on Capitol Hill about the plan, which calls for 21,500 additional soldiers and Marines to be sent to Iraq in an attempt to quell the increasing sectarian violence there between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, particularly in Baghdad.

Bush unveiled the plan in a prime-time television speech on Wednesday night and it has been drawing criticism from Democrats -- and some Republicans -- ever since. Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (Nebraska), a Vietnam War veteran, described it as "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam." Bush hosted an informal and primarily social gathering of Republican lawmakers at his Camp David retreat on Friday night and Saturday.

Democratic senator Joseph Biden (Delaware), new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the administration's plan a "tragic mistake" and says it shows the president is ignoring the will of the American public, who gave Democrats control of the Congress in the country's midterm elections in November largely because of displeasure over the course of the war in Iraq. More than 3,000 U.S. troops have died in the conflict since it began in March 2003 and public support for the war has been steadily waning as the violence shows no sign of abating.

"To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible," Bush said in the radio address. "Members of Congress have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully," he said, but added: "Those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success."

Bush also lashed back at critics who have called the plan a repackaging of the same strategy, which the president and military officials have all said has failed to put an end to the violence there. Sen. Carl L. Levin (D-Mich), the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said yesterday on the Hill that the plan only reinforces a "flawed strategy."

"We have a new strategy with a new mission: Helping secure the population, especially in Baghdad," Bush said. "Our plan puts Iraqis in the lead."

The plan calls for Iraqi forces, backed by beefed-up U.S. forces, to enter neighborhoods in the capital where suspected insurgents are hiding to root them out and then hold the territory gained in what the administration has called its "clear, hold and build" strategy. The additional forces would also be deployed in Iraq's embattled Anbar province, which the administration says is now the epicenter of the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told lawmakers yesterday the operation to secure the Iraqi capital will begin in earnest with a push by thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops in the first week of February and that its chances of success should be evident within a few months. If the plan works, Gates said, the U.S. could begin drawing down troop levels by the end of the year.

Democratic leaders in both the House and the Senate intend to hold votes in the coming weeks on the plan, which could produce nonbinding resolutions that would force Republicans to make a clear choice on whether they support the plan or not.

Many in Congress acknowledge they have few ways to stop the implementation of the new White House plan short of cutting off funds to the U.S. troops there, a step many seem reluctant to take. The White House is moving ahead with the plan already; the first of five additional brigades for Baghdad are due to arrive within days.

In the Democratic response to the president's address today, Democratic Representative Tim Walz (Minn.) said that what is needed in Iraq now is a diplomatic and political solution, not more American soldiers and Marines.

01-13-2007, 06:39 PM
I thought the Iraq Study Group DID come up with a better plan?

Good Doctor HST
01-13-2007, 06:48 PM
Nice Beltman! You beat me to it.

01-13-2007, 07:37 PM
I heard this idea elsewhere:

Isolate the Iraqis by placing the USA troops on the Iraqi border and let them pursue and complete their civil war with minimal (or perhaps zero) outside interference.

01-13-2007, 07:48 PM
The one plan no one seems to be talking about is bringing in NATO and the UN. They've even offered several times to take over.

01-13-2007, 07:50 PM
I really don't think it matters. We're raiding OTHER COUNTRIES now. Obviously Bush is just out of control. Is there any hope of getting him out before '08?