Speaker Nancy Pelosi has dug in her designer heels and called on the President to justify the so-called ” troop surge” plan supported by Senator John McCain and rumored to be at the top of Dubya’s menu options to turn the situation around in Iraq. All of the major military generals with command responsibility, as well as the Secretary of Defense, have been replaced. The major prognosticators see this as a sign that the all engines are a go for the troop surge plan.
In a further sign of Pelosi’s enormous influence, she and Senate Majority Leader Reid have written a letter to President Bush in which they said “Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed. Like many current and former military leaders, we believe that trying again would be a serious mistake. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution. Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. And it would undermine our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq.”
“Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror. A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement . . In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq and make the Iraqi political leadership aware that our commitment is not open ended, that we cannot resolve their sectarian problems, and that only they can find the political resolution required to stabilize Iraq.”
After watching this interview, I am more confident in Mrs. Pelosi’s ability to wield her influence into bringing this ill-conceived imperial crusade to a close. There will be no vote in this congress to cut off funding now, because it would undoubtedly fail, given the conservatism of her newest brood of freshman. However, she can use her skills of persuasion as a first salvo, rather than legislative power, to apply the needed pressure and assure the American people that she will grant no “blank check” like the previous Republican congress.