Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was one of many conservatives breaking ranks with Bush’s Iraq policy.
“It should be clear to the president that there needs to be a new strategy,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. “Our policy in Iraq is drifting.”
This morning on CNN, Alexander undercut his own stated desire to change course. While announcing his support for an amendment that would adopt the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, Alexander said, “The surge can be within this larger strategy of the Iraq Study Group.”
Alexander appears more interested in maintaining the surge than in embracing a “new strategy.” The bill Alexander supports does not set a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Moreover, the Iraq Study Group report specifically argued against sending more troops to Iraq:
Sustained increases in U.S. troop levels would not solve the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq, which is the absence of national reconciliation. A senior American general told us that adding U.S. troops might temporarily help limit violence in a highly localized area. However, past experience indicates that the violence would simply rekindle as soon as U.S. forces are moved to another area. As another American general told us, if the Iraqi government does not make political progress, “all the troops in the world will not provide security.”
Alexander’s right that our Iraq policy is “drifting.” But his rhetorical tap-dance will do little to correct it.