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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Surge

Iraq is a quagmire. By an overwhelming margin, the American public wants to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and they made their feelings crystal clear on election day.

George Bush knows that continuing to "stay the course" is a political loser, but because he has staked his presidency and his legacy on Iraq, the only thing he can do is increase our presence, a tactic which has come to be known as a "surge".

Steve Benen, guest blogging at the Washington Monthly, provides a concise summary of how well folks are receiving this idea:

The troops don't seem to care for the idea. Neither does the public. The Joint Chiefs aren't enthralled with the proposal, and new Defense Secretary Robert Gates apparently has some concerns of his own.

On the Hill, while congressional Democrats are nearly universal in their opposition to escalation, the list of high-profile Republican opponents, or at least skeptics, has grown considerably in just the last three days. Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Chuck Lugar (R-Ind.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) are all expressing doubts, if not outright opposition.

There is good reason to oppose the surge. No one --- I mean, literally no one --- appears to believe that it will move Iraq a single step closer to stability. And a great many people, such as W. Patrick Lang and Ray McGovern of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, believe it will make things much worse, while critically damaging the U.S. military:

Analogies come to mind: Stalingrad, the Bulge, Dien Bien Phu, the Battle of Algiers.

It will be total war with the likelihood of all the excesses and mass casualties that come with total war. To force such a strategy on our armed forces would be nothing short of immoral, in view of predictable troop losses and the huge number of Iraqis who would meet violent injury and death. If adopted, the "surge" strategy will turn out to be something we will spend a generation living down.

Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., spoke for many of us on Sunday when George Stephanopoulos asked him to explain why Smith had said on the Senate floor that U.S. policy on Iraq may be "criminal:"

"You can use any adjective you want, George. But I have long believed in a military context, when you do the same thing over and over again, without a clear strategy for victory, at the expense of your young people in arms, that is dereliction. That is deeply immoral."

The surge is not driven by military considerations, but political ones. Hundreds if not thousands of our troops will die for it, and our military will be critically weakened for at least a generation. It should be opposed, loudly and repeatedly, by anyone with an ounce of concern for our men and women in uniform or the greater good of our country.

From John Kline, a sitting member of Congress who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, we have heard not one word. We know he opposes a surge, because he praised the Iraq Study Group's recommendation against sending additional troops to Iraq.

What are you doing to stop it, congressman? If the ends of your electoral victory are to justify the less-than-honorable means used to obtain it, now is the time to step up and make a bold stand of principle over partisanship.

Leaders lead, congressman.

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