Republican senator: GOP will be ready by September to start looking at troop withdrawal
Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said this morning on CBS' Face the Nation that "unless something extraordinary happens," most members of Congress believe that troop withdrawal should be on the table in September.
"We have to be realistic," he said. "We have to know that we can't achieve everything we'd like to achieve. We have a limited number of men and women we can send to Iraq, and we can't overburden them."
Sessions, who has been a staunch supporter of President Bush, and was ranked the 5th most conservative US senator by the political magazine the National Journal in March 2007, said that simply removing troops would "really embolden the enemy."
The senator argued that the best solution for Iraq is one in which the Iraqi government steps up its efforts to secure Iraq without US assistance.
However, he continued, "I don't think we need to be any occupying power. This is a fine line we've walked, and this surge has got to be temporary."
When asked if Bush felt as he did, that the surge must be temporary, Sessions said he was "coming around."
Speaking about a report in yesterday's New York Times, that said the Defense Department is considering drawing down troops by up to 50% in 2008, Sessions said, "I certainly hope that's what will occur. We cannot sustain this level, in my opinion, in Iraq and Afghanistan much longer."
Appearing on the program with Sessions, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) wondered why the US couldn't change course now. Levin argued that because Bush has not set firm dates for the Iraqi government to achieve certain goals, they lack the motivation necessary to get anything done.
"There must be no ambiguity. This president is totally ambiguous, and he doesn't get it. He talks about the Iraq political leaders needing to do something, but he won't say what they must do or what the consequences are going to be," he said.