It is now time for leading Senate Republicans
such as Senator Warner and Senator Lugar to
join Democratic Leaders and military leaders
and say no to the surge and the escalation it
Giving credit where due: the story was first
reported here, last night, on Huffington Post.
One of the most important developments in
Washington this week is that Joe Biden is
making his move, unequivocally opposing
the troop surge in Iraq, and developing real
and actionable lines of attack.
Congressional Democratic Leaders are ready
to lead and prepared to govern and now speak
with conscience and clarity.
The Democratic Congress is now officially in
Here are some facts about the troops surge:
One. The overwhelming weight of leadership
military opinion is against the surge. In the
Friday Washington Post it is reported that the
Joint Chiefs are still actively trying to persuade
the President that the negatives of the surge
outweigh the positives.
Two. Therefore, it is impossible for Senators
or Members of the House to claim they support
the military leaders, yet also support the surge.
Everyone in official Washington knows that the
overwhelming majority of military leaders in fact
believe the surge is a dreadful idea.
Senators or Members of Congress who want to
support the surge should a) be honest that they
are opposing the military judgment of most of
our military leaders and b) should be directly
challenged if they state they support the surge without honestly
admitting that they oppose the strong majority view of military leaders.
Three. What today is President is doing what
I call "the purge for the surge" This does NOT
change anything. The majority view of military
commanders is opposed to the surge. The
President has NOT stood by the commanders
no matter how many times he has claimed he
Four years later than they should have, EVERY
member of the press corps should DIRECTLY
challenge the President at ALL public media
opportunities about why he has so often been
so disrespectful of high level military judgment.
Four. If the United States Senate took a secret
vote on the troop surge, 85 Senators would
oppose it, including many of the most senior
and respected Senate Republicans.
What is needed, above all, would be for a group
of leading Senate Republicans to visit the
White House, close the door, and tell President
Bush, as Barry Goldwater once told President
Nixon: we must not escalate this war, you must
pull back, Mr. President, not dig deeper.
Fifth. From the very beginning of this war, the
greatest dereliction of duty is that there have
not been high level resignations in protest from
either civilian or uniformed officers who knew
these disastrous policies were disastrous, but
And: that so many senior Republicans who
knew these decisions were wrong, have gone
along with policies they knew were mistaken,
for political convenience. What an indictment
for Senator Dick Lugar to say this week that
the President has egregiously ignored even
the Republican Congress, when Senator Lugar
was the Republican Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. (Why
didn't he say this
when he was Chairman?)
And: that so many Democrats have said things
such as "I might support the surge because
our military leaders know best" (when military
leaders oppose the surge), or "its the job of
the President to offer a policy" (when Congress
is a co-equal branch of government and it is
THEIR responsibility, as well).
Having worked for the Democratic Leadership
in Congress when Tip and Jim Wright were
Speaker, I promise all: first, that having the
majority control requires responsibility and
leadership beyond saying "its the president's
war". Now, the Democratic Leaders have
accepted this responsibility on Iraq, and a
historic battle has been joined in real time,
What Joe Biden has done, is step to the plate
with real leadership and take the position,
without any equivocation, that the surge is
Beyond this, what Joe Biden has done, is begin
circulating hard, actionable proposals that will
have an impact and make a difference. He is
now circulating an important opening bid, a
Congressional Resolution that would flat-out
oppose the surge, and put Democrats and
Republicans on record, yes or no.
What will happen if Senator Biden introduces
this proposal, is: leading Republican Senators
who privately oppose the surge, would be
horrified at the possibility of publicly supporting
it, and would urgently do what they should have
done long ago: tell the President this policy has
got to end, and this war must not be escalated.
Finally for now, Senator Biden has made some
extremely interesting comments, especially his
suggest that both Rumsfeld and Cheney have
concluded "they cant fix it" (Friday Washington
Post). I do not know for certain if the Vice
President definitely believes this, but the
implications are enormous if, in fact, he does.
In the meantime, watch what Senator Biden
says (clearly opposing the surge) but even
more important, what he does (offering impact
proposals that would make a difference).
Giving credit where it is due: Senator Biden is
showing real leadership at a critical moment
and those of us who oppose the surge should
recognize his contribution.
It is now exciting, positive and potential historic
that Senate Majority Leader Reid and House
Speaker Pelosi have weighed in, with flags
flying, on the side of right, truth our military
leaders against this escalation.
Bravo to them all. The battle begins in earnest.