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thedrifter
11-20-06, 09:57 AM
November 20, 2006
Go big, go strong or go home?
Pentagon study reveals three options for Iraq as politicians push

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The postelection debate over Iraq is intensifying as members of Congress from both parties pose remedies and the Bush administration hunts for answers.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said more troops should be sent in and that the soldiers there now are “fighting and dying for a failed policy.”

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said troop withdrawals must begin within four to six months.

And a Pentagon review of Iraq has come up with three options — injecting more troops into Iraq, shrinking the force but staying longer, or pulling out, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The newspaper quoted senior defense officials as dubbing the three alternatives “Go big, go long and go home.”

The secret military study was commissioned by Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and comes as political and military leaders struggle with how to conduct a war that is increasingly unpopular, both in the U.S. and in occupied Iraq.

“I believe the consequences of failure are catastrophic,” McCain said. “It will spread to the region. You will see Iran more emboldened. Eventually, you could see Iran pose a greater threat to the state of Israel.”

Taking the opposite tack, newly empowered Democrats pressed their case for a phased withdrawal of American forces.

They hope a blue-ribbon advisory panel led by Bush family friend and former Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, would propose a way ahead for Iraq, while making clear the U.S. military mission shouldn’t last indefinitely.

“We must tell the Iraqis that we would begin, starting in four to six months, a phased reduction of our troops,” said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he’d like to see the commission assert that U.S. troop commitments are not open-ended; propose a clear political road map for Iraq; and recommend engaging Iraq’s neighbors in a political and diplomatic solution.

Sen.-elect Jim Webb, D-Va., said countries with long-term cultural and historical ties with Iraq, including Iran and Syria, need to come together to take some sort of diplomatic ownership in solving Iraq’s problems.

“And from that umbrella, then we can address the issue of moving our combat troops out and still affecting the war against international terrorism,” Webb said. “I think that’s doable. It’s a leadership question rather than simply an issues question.”

McCain, a front-running GOP presidential hopeful for 2008, said the U.S. must send an overwhelming number of troops to stabilize Iraq or face more attacks — in the region and possibly on American soil.

“The consequences of failure are so severe that I will exhaust every possibility to try to fix this situation. Because it’s not the end when American troops leave. The battleground shifts, and we’ll be fighting them again,” McCain said. “You read Zarqawi, and you read bin Laden. ... It’s not just Iraq that they’re interested in. It’s the region, and then us.”

McCain appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” Levin on CNN’s “Late Edition,” Webb on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Biden wrote in Sunday’s Washington Post.

Ellie

thedrifter
11-21-06, 09:26 AM
Go Big, Go Long, or Go Home <br />
By Jed Babbin <br />
Published 11/21/2006 12:09:19 AM <br />
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With all the politicians and diplomats stirring their ideas into the pot -- the Fabulous...