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Warner up in arms

The normally unflappable GOP senator wonders why generals keep insisting Iraqi soldiers need yet more time to be trained.

BY DAVID LERMAN
202-824-8224
January 26, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Virginia Sen. John W. Warner, a key supporter of the 2003 Iraq invasion, publicly questioned the credibility of top military commanders Thursday, saying he felt "misled" by years of assurances that Iraqi troops were being trained to take over for American soldiers.

One day after introducing a resolution opposing President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq, Warner used a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee to suggest that generals had not been candid about their progress in building a new Iraqi army.

In unusually combative language, the Republican senator demanded to know why an Iraqi military of 150,000 troops was still considered too small and ill-equipped to restore security to Baghdad after years of training.

"We've been at this training now for over 21/2 years, and time and time again, people have come before this committee to testify about the progress that's being made," Warner told retired Gen. Jack Keane, the former vice chief of staff of the Army.

Keane, who oversaw the initial months of the war, insisted that progress continued but disputed Warner's contention that Iraqi forces should be able to take the lead in securing Baghdad.

"The overwhelming reality is that those Iraqi security forces cannot take on the lion's share of this mission by themselves to be able to deal with the level of violence that's there," Keane said.

Warner, clearly frustrated, then made a public accusation that was rare for a senator long known for his courtliness and sense of Southern gentility.

"I have to say to you, I think we - this committee and the Congress - have been misled," he told Keane. "Because time and time again, military officers have sat there and said, 'Here's the number of battalions, they're growing, they're training, and the status of their equipment and so forth.' That's been a breakdown in the communication, then, because I had placed a high degree of confidence in the representations that this army was up and standing and ready to work."

The outburst, while civil, underscored the difficulty the president has in selling his new Iraq war plan to a Democratic-controlled Congress. Even Republicans sympathetic to Bush have expressed growing concerns about the rationale for another surge in U.S. troops.

But the criticism is likely to be particularly stinging coming from Warner, the former chairman of the Armed Services Committee and a World War II veteran who helped draft the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq in 2002.

For years, Bush insisted that U.S. troops could be withdrawn as Iraqi troops are trained and equipped to provide for their own country's security. But the president effectively abandoned that argument this month in calling for another surge of U.S. troops.

Breaking with Bush, Warner introduced a nonbinding, bipartisan resolution with at least 10 co-sponsors that would put Congress on record rejecting the plan. The Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed an alternative resolution on a mostly party-line vote, but Warner is expected to play a key role in drafting a compromise version when the measure hits the Senate floor as early as next week.

At Thursday's hearing, Warner appeared incredulous that Iraqi forces would require more time for training and recruitment after several years of U.S. efforts.

Recalling his own military service during World War II and the Korean War, Warner said, "I saw others whipped into shape in six or eight months and sent into the face of battle, and they were brave soldiers. And we've been over two years working with this Iraqi group."

Warner, in a later interview, said he planned to write a letter to Army Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command that oversees the Iraq war, to learn why Iraqi training efforts have floundered. Asked if he had lost confidence in top military commanders, Warner said, "I can't lose confidence because I have to work with them."

But he, like other senators, nonetheless expressed irritation at what he considered conflicting assertions made in recent months by Abizaid and other senior military leaders.

Appearing before Congress in November, Abizaid insisted that more U.S. troops would only lessen the pressure on Iraqi officials to provide for their own security.

"It's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon us to do this work," Abizaid said at the time. "I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future."

But on Tuesday, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who will take over as commander of multinational forces in Iraq, told Congress that Abizaid now supports sending more U.S. troops "as a way of helping the Iraqi government get the time and space that it needs to be able to come to grips with the difficult decisions that they, in fact, identified."

Active-duty military officials were not asked to testify at Thursday's hearing, but Keane - who now argues for a new surge in U.S. troops - said experience shows that relying on Iraqi troops to secure Baghdad is impractical.

"We relied on Iraqi security forces twice before in Baghdad in those previous operations," Keane said. "Both of those operations failed. They failed primarily because we relied too heavily on Iraqi security forces and we did not have enough U.S. forces to be able to deal with it."

While Warner's public criticism of White House policy is rare, the senator has long displayed a maverick streak and has fought the Bush administration on other aspects of Iraq policy in recent years.

In 2004, when reports surfaced of military abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Warner led a public inquiry into the matter - much to the consternation of some of his conservative Republican colleagues. And last year, Warner joined two other GOP senators to push for tougher regulations on the U.S. treatment of military prisoners despite White House resistance.

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I hope that this does not come as any big surprise to any one here. This is just another case of the W. administration cherry picking information. Do you actually think that the W. administration would appoint someone who will buck the party line and tell congress anything other than we can do it? They did it leading up to the war, they ave done it for the last three years, and they will continue to do it. Why do you think W. gave a medal to the head of the CIA? I can assure you that it sure as f*ck was not because he did a thorough job, it was because he told the W. administration what it wanted to hear.

As RF would say..... SSDD.

Oh, and WTF is up with Dick Chaney? Him and his wife are so delusional that they are blaming the failures in the field on the attitude here at home and in the press. BULLSH*T! I hope his f*cking heart fails. Thanks again folks for voting this crowd of fools into office.
 

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Oh, and WTF is up with Dick Chaney? Him and his wife are so delusional that they are blaming the failures in the field on the attitude here at home and in the press. BULLSH*T! I hope his f*cking heart fails. Thanks again folks for voting this crowd of fools into office.
Are you implying that failures in the field have any to do with failures in leadership? You so silly. That dam Doonesbury and Andy Griffith on Youtube are what's causing our guys to fail. Reading Doonesbury has turned their backbones into jelly. Andy Griffith has weakened their resolve and killed their spirit........caused em to fold like a cheap card table.
 

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From my memory which goes back to 1960.Nine weeks of basic training than 9 more weeks of A I T is what I got and by all means I was qualitified to follow basic combat orders.I think the real problem is leadership [officers]training them has to be much harder.Having said that I think I know where Senator Warner is comming from and that is the Iraqi army should be able to follow orders wether it be by the US or the most likely limited supply of Iraqi officers.Sooner or later thats got to happen if they want to secure their country so it might as well start right now.
 

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Or Saddam`s methods"if you FU your entire family,friends,neighbors ,village, will no longer exist".That seemed to work for 30 some odd years.
 

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[
Oh, and WTF is up with Dick Chaney? Him and his wife are so delusional that they are blaming the failures in the field on the attitude here at home and in the press. BULLSH*T! I hope his f*cking heart fails. Thanks again folks for voting this crowd of fools into office.[/quote]
another great parallel with the Vietnam War--they did the same exact thing over and over and over--blame it on the public and teh press.
 

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[
Oh, and WTF is up with Dick Chaney? Him and his wife are so delusional that they are blaming the failures in the field on the attitude here at home and in the press. BULLSH*T! I hope his f*cking heart fails. Thanks again folks for voting this crowd of fools into office.
another great parallel with the Vietnam War--they did the same exact thing over and over and over--blame it on the public and teh press.[/QUOTE]

War is a racket.
 

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Jim I`m sorry to disappoint you,but I`m a registered democrat since 1962.My problem for the last 30 years or so has been finding one to vote for.My twisted logic is during the primary election I try to weed out the worst of the worst with my vote.Having said that I am also having a much harder time finding anyone to vote for.The pubs the was they flushed money down the toilet and W`s position on immigration has really pi$$ed me off.
 

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J. I was until about 97, then I started reading about Bill's adventures, and then the NRA sent me some enlightening information. Then the Dems, media, elites who were in charge did not represent my values so I went first to the Liberatarians, then to the Pubs. Most of the Bush Bashers, and Repub haters here wont even achnowledge that they were ever associated with the Dem party, herein lies a basic difference between Bashers and the Non Bashers.
 

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J. I was until about 97, then I started reading about Bill's adventures, and then the NRA sent me some enlightening information. Then the Dems, media, elites who were in charge did not represent my values so I went first to the Liberatarians, then to the Pubs. Most of the Bush Bashers, and Repub haters here wont even achnowledge that they were ever associated with the Dem party, herein lies a basic difference between Bashers and the Non Bashers.
Proof positive. The dems cut spending to balance a budget. They no longer represented his values... now he's a conservative...

Bawahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Proof positive. The dems cut spending to balance a budget. They no longer represented his values... now he's a conservative...

Bawahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!
What spending did they cut? Maybe I forgot, but I do not remember them cutting much of anything. But, I do remember not passing a stimulus package and social medcine, which had to help balance the budget.
 

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Perhaps Frank could enlighten you to Clintons loathing of the military.... but then again he was a Dummycrat at that point....
 

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Slug your party had the largest tax increase in 93. I agree the repubs have overspent hence a decline of conserve base, the Dems never met a tax, redistribution, or pork project they didnt like. Guess you'll have to wake up in 2009.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Most of the Bush Bashers, and Repub haters here wont even achnowledge that they were ever associated with the Dem party, herein lies a basic difference between Bashers and the Non Bashers.
Frank, I will not acknowledge it because I have never been associated with the democratic party. When I was young I attended a few meetings of the college republicans but was never a dem nor could I ever see myself as such. You seem to think you understand Bush Bashers but you don't have a clue about us. Why don't you ask why we bash Bush. We'll tell you. Here's a hint, for many it has little to do with his party affiliation.

People like RF have accused me of being a know-it-all but I have never claimed to know how you think. In fact I have stated time and time again that I do not understand how the brains work of people like you and RF. However, you seem to have no problem assuming that you know how I have reached the conclusions that I have. Unfortunately, you are consistantly wrong but that seems to do little to reduce your attacks or opinions.

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