Nearly seventy percent of Americans oppose Bush’s escalation plan, as do top military leaders, Bush’s staunchest international ally, and the Iraq Study Group. After four years in the shadows, Congress has begun to use its power as a co-equal branch of government to do something about the administration’s failed policies in Iraq. On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution condemning Bush’s escalation strategy. Americans are mobilizing against the president’s plan. A protest rally has been planned for this weekend in Washington, D.C., while other groups such as Americans Against Escalation in Iraq plan to lobby members of Congress “who have spoken out against the war, but who have so far declined to pledge support for a resolution denouncing Bush’s plan to increase the number of troops.”
- Americans can support the troops by opposing the escalation plan. A recent Military Times poll of active-duty forces found 39 percent of those polled think troop levels should remain the same or should decrease. Only 38 percent support sending more troops into Iraq, with 13 percent supporting a complete withdrawal. Yet the administration and its conservative allies continue to push the false premise that opposition to the administration’s failed policies–which once again became painfully evident last Saturday–means a lack of support for the troops. “In Iraq, all of this undermines the morale of the military and makes their task that much harder on the ground,” The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page said about the ongoing debate.
- There is another way: progressives across the country are calling for strategic redeployment. “It’s the only game in town,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said of escalation. Cheney claimed “the critics have not suggested a policy.” Tony Snow added: “If you’ve got a better proposal that will achieve success in Iraq, help Iraqis get swiftly into the lead, and will demonstrate support for American forces, let us hear it.” Listen closely, Tony. Over a year and a half ago, the Center for American Progress released a responsible Iraq strategy that called for comprehensive strategic redeployment. The strategy, which was updated in May 2006, calls for reducing U.S. troops to 60,000 in six months and to zero in 18 months, while redeploying troops to Afghanistan, Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf to contain the threat of global terror networks.
- More and more conservatives are speaking out against the president. The White House is trying to downplay the growing discontent among conservatives about Bush’s policies. Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked Cheney recently if they were losing the support from conservatives. “Well, I don’t think Chuck Hagel has been with us for a long time,” Cheney said. Asked for a comment on the escalation resolution, Tony Snow said there had been “no real surprises” because Hagel voted for it, ignoring the fact that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was the only member of the Foreign Relations Committee to express support for the president’s plan. Other influential conservative voices–including those of Sens. John Warner (R-VA), Norm Coleman (R-MN), and Sam Brownback (R-KS)–have said they will not support the plan. (See where all members of Congress stand HERE.)
Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.