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US Senator McCain Defends President Bush’s Iraq Plan January 12, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., defended President George W. Bush’s Iraq plan on Friday as a difficult but necessary move, parting company with lawmakers questioning the wisdom of the military buildup.

“I believe that together these moves will give the Iraqis and Americans the best chance of success,” said McCain, a leading Republican presidential contender for 2008.

McCain also took a shot at Democrats who say the United States must bring some troops home within four to six months. “I believe these individuals have a responsibility to tell us what they believe are the consequences” of such a move, including civil war, he said.

McCain spoke at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spent a second day on Capitol Hill defending the president’s strategy.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the panel’s new chairman, said that deepening the U.S. commitment in Iraq would be a grave mistake. Bush wants to add 21,500 more U.S. troops to the 132,000 already there.

“Increasing the number of U.S. forces in Iraq is flawed strategy because it is based on a flawed premise that there is a military solution to the violence and instability in Iraq, when what is needed is a political solution among the Iraqi leaders and factions,” Levin said.

Repeating an admission that Bush made in his nationally televised address on Wednesday, Gates told the senators, “Mistakes certainly have been made by the United States in Iraq. However we got to this moment, the stakes now are incalculable.”

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