Two prominent Republican senators, John Warner and Dick Lugar, have crafted a bill that would require the White House to draw up plans for a U.S. redeployment OUT of front line combat and INTO border security and counterterrorism roles. The bill would require the White House to present these plans to Congress in mid-October.
Is this the beginning of the end for our combat involvement in Iraq? Obviously, the bill doesn’t contain any real teeth to it (no cut-off of funding, no firm withdrawal date, etc.). But, it does show a willingness to break with the White House that heretofore had been absent amongst prominent Republicans. Warner and Lugar are smart guys who see that the political progress we had hoped would accompany our troop surge in Iraq just isn’t happening. I think Warner and Lugar are hoping to serve as a “third wheel” that plays a significant role in the coming months as a mediator between the Democratic congress and the White House in regards to a substantive shift in our Iraq policy. One other consideration is that Warner is up for re-election in ’08 and doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of the political fallout over Iraq that will probably continue from ’06.