Warner (John!) challenges Bush Iraq strategy
Virginia Senator John Warner has broken from the party ranks and challenged President Bush's strategy for continued engagement in Iraq.
Bush's plan for escalation has drawn fire given the long and rather unimpressive story-so-far of the war, which has now drawn on for nearly four years – the equivalent of an entire presidential term, though it straddles Bush's two stints in office – and has now officially ended more American lives than the 9/11 attacks it to which it was supposedly connected.
Warner generally opposes the idea of increasing the number of American troops stationed in Iraq, and is focusing instead on moving existing forces around to focus on conflicts with al-Quaeda which he says are taking place in the Anbar province, a region in western Iraq. He's particularly worried that increased American presence in Baghdad needlessly endangers U.S. soldiers by placing them in the middle of a conflict between opposing Iraqi factions.
Warner addressed Bush by way of reporters: "Look, Mr. President, in Anbar, get whatever allocation [of troops] you think is necessary," he said, "Then we urge you to look at every means possible to reduce the number of troops."
Predictably, Democrats are readying a much harsher legislative smackdown championed by Delaware Democrat and aspiring presidential candidate Joseph Biden, but if successful, either approach will signal a marked disapproval of Bush's tactics.