Senators Stake Out Positions on Bush Surge
Feb. 4, 2007 — -- President Bush faces an almost certain confrontation this week over the war in Iraq, as Congress takes up his 2008 budget and resolutions condemning his already ongoing troop increase for the war.
Today on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and John McCain, R-Ariz., outlined rival resolutions. Hagel's bill condemns the surge.
"Very simply put, we disagree with escalating our military involvement in Iraq. That is totally different, George, then saying, 'Let's get out, let's cut the funds,'" Hagel told Stephanopoulos.
In fact, none of the resolutions to be considered this week cuts off funding for the war. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News that sends a mixed message.
"I cannot guarantee you success, but I can promise you this: The day you set timelines and deadlines, it's lost in Iraq -- and it becomes a bigger war, not a smaller war," Graham said. "If the Democrats really believe this war is lost and this is just another Vietnam in another form, cut off funding."
McCain, who like Graham hopes to combat a series of anti-"surge" resolutions, supports the increase of 21,000 troops to Baghdad and the Sunni insurgent stronghold of al Anbar province to the west.
The alternative to securing Baghdad, he said, is disaster.
"The consequences of failure are such that you will see a level of violence that far exceeds anything that we have seen," he said. "You'll see a bloodletting in Baghdad that makes Srebrenica look like a Sunday school picnic, and I believe that we may have to come back at some time or another, because the Iranians will be involved, the Sunnis will be involved, Turkey will be -- if the Kurds try to become independent -- involved."
McCain's plan does set tough benchmarks for Iraq's government, but there is no penalty clause in case Iraq fails to meet them.
As lawmakers in both parties consider condemning the president's "surge," Congress will also be critically eyeing his $3 trillion budget for 2008, which he plans to give them Monday.
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