Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stop-the-War Senate Numbers Almost There

Before the 2002 resolution to invade Iraq, Robert Byrd warned that, when Senators changed their minds, it would take a two-thirds vote to get out. After 3500 lives, billions of dollars and four years of bitter defeat, that number is within reach.

Dick Lugar’s speech Monday night will give colleagues cover for retreat. He was joined yesterday by Sen. George Voinovich with a letter to the President saying that the Iraqis should “know we are indeed disengaging."

Add these two respected defectors to the Republican list of Chuck Hagel, John Warner, Norm Coleman, who has Al Franken nipping at his heels for reelection in Minnesota and Gordon Smith, who has called the war “absurd, even criminal.”

Endangered John Sununu, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are ready to fall in. Sam Brownback can take the opportunity to become the first ’08 hopeful to separate himself from the pack.

That adds up to 60, with pressure on Mitch McConnell, Elizabeth Dole, Lamar Alexander, John Cornyn, Saxby Chamblis, Pat Roberts, Pete Domeneci and Jeff Sessions who will have to face voters with falling approval ratings and/or U.S. Attorney scandals, among various other Bush-induced deficits.

Jockeying for the best surrender terms will begin next month with John Warner’s amendment to the defense authorization bill. There will be other face-saving proposals as well as disputes over timetables and benchmarks, but the numbers for getting out are getting there.

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