"Surge" Talk Going Over Capitol Hill Like a Lead IED


From the Hartford Courant–the oldest continuously published newspaper in America–comes news of Congress' (or at least some senators') reactions to President Bush's surge talk.

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), mustering all the gravitas of a man whose greatest legacy is introducing the concept of a waitress sandwich into public discourse, called Bush's Iraq policy "a fool's paradise." Coming from a leading member of the Democrats, that's predictable–though not necessarily inaccurate.

More interesting are the reactions from various Republicans. Longtime war critic (and potential presidential hopeful) Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska told Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, "I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out." Come on, Chuck, tell us what you really think.

And Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio–as perfect a nonentity as the world's greatest deliberative body blah blah blah has ever created and thus a great weather vane on which way even moderate Republicans are blowing these days–had this to say: ""I've gone along with the president on this, and I've bought into his dream, and at this stage of the game I just don't think it's going to happen."

The referent in that sentence isn't particularly clear: Exactly what isn't going to happen? Bush's surge? Victory in Iraq? The particulars don't matter. What comes across loud and clear is that Bush has lost precisely the sort of deferential nobodys in Congress he couldn't afford to alienate.

More here.

In a related story, newly minted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gets this morning's bad timing award for announcing

that he wants President Bush to increase overall US ground forces by nearly 100,000 over the next five years, the largest military build up since the end of the Cold War.

The implicit repudiation of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vision of a leaner military machine may make all the sense in the world from a practical, strategic point of view, but boy is the timing off. More on that here.