RE: National Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Another brain dead Republican touts successes in Iraq. Wait a minute Liberman is a Democrat. And unlike most (or everyone) on this board he has actually been to Iraq.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, just back from Iraq, wants President Bush to give the American people details about the progress being made in that country - from military triumphs to the proliferation of cellphones and satellite dishes.
Bush is scheduled to give the nation a progress report on Iraq Wednesday, his first such address since Congress erupted two weeks ago in bitter debate over the war.
Supporters and critics alike have been urging the president to outline his strategy for some time.
Critics sense a mission adrift. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., visited Iraq last month, and came away saying "we need a major course correction" in American policy - notably "we need to let Iraqis know we're not there forever."
But Lieberman, D-Conn., who spent Wednesday and Thursday in Iraq, saw strong evidence that a workable American plan is in place.
"We do have a strategy," he said. "We do have a plan. I saw a strategy that's being implemented."
Lieberman, who is one of Bush's strongest war supporters in the Senate, cited the remarks of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who last month told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the strategy in Iraq was to "clear, hold and build: to clear areas from insurgent control, to hold them securely and to build durable, national Iraqi institutions."
Lieberman spent his time in Iraq, his fourth trip there in 17 months, conferring with American officials and Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, the country's interior and defense ministers, and senior members of the Supreme Council. He also talked with about 50 Connecticut troops.
Other war backers shared the belief that the strategy would work. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4th District, said he was "pretty optimistic" after his 10th trip to Iraq last month.
"The [Iraqi] troops are moving forward in a very positive way," Shays reported.
Lieberman and others acknowledge that the White House has a huge public relations task convincing the American people that the United States has a clear, winnable mission.
The White House has not released details of the speech Bush is scheduled to deliver at the U.S. Naval Academy Wednesday, but the president's supporters have been urging him to provide specifics about his plans.
John W. Warner, R-Va., the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Sunday told NBC's "Meet the Press" that Bush should consider the kind of "fireside chat" Franklin D. Roosevelt used during his presidency.
"It would bring him closer to the people," Warner said, "[and] dispel some of the concern that, understandably, our people have about the loss of life and limb, the enormous cost of this war to the American public."
One way to calm lawmakers and the public, backers said, is to stress the good news.
"The Iraqi Security Forces are fighting hard. They're fighting well. They are not cracking under pressure, as you see in some armies, and they are making a tremendous contribution," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director, plans and strategy, U.S. Army Central Command, told a Heritage Foundation forum Monday.
Such descriptions, though, are unlikely to satisfy war critics.
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District, said she wanted "a new strategy for Iraq, one that both safely brings our troops home and brings stability and security to the country and throughout the region."
She cited Democratic ideas, including specific exit strategies and timetables, and expressed hope Bush "will use his speech Wednesday to begin this discussion with the American people."
Dodd, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, listed a series of steps he would like the United States to take, including using Arab League nations to cool tensions between rival Iraqi factions, getting the United Nations and NATO more involved and possibly moving "major blocs" of American troops out of the country after the Dec. 15 national elections.