Hey, Maybe We Do Oppose the Surge


I was all set to malign Sen. Chuck Hagel after he chucked months of anti-war bravado and voted against bringing the Senate's anti-Iraq surge resolution to the floor. But look: Hagel is one of seven Republicans threatening to make that vote happen, by hook or by crook.

In a letter distributed yesterday evening to Senate leaders, John W. Warner (Va.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and five other GOP supporters of the resolution threatened to attach their measure to any bill sent to the floor in the coming weeks. Noting that the war is the "most pressing issue of our time," the senators declared: "We will explore all of our options under the Senate procedures and practices to ensure a full and open debate."

The letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was not more specific about the Republican senators' strategy for reviving the war debate. But under the chamber's rules, senators have wide latitude in slowing the progress of legislation and in offering amendments, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the bill.

It's still practically nothing, but it reveals a certain antsiness in the GOP skeptic's corner that wasn't there a year ago.