The Washington Post reported: “The United States needs to set milestones for progress, not a firm withdrawal date, before it can leave Iraq, Virginia governor and prospective Democratic presidential candidate Mark Warner said on Monday. ‘This Democrat doesn’t think we need to re-fight how we got into (the Iraq war). I think we need to focus more on how to finish it,’ Warner said. ‘To set an arbitrary deadline or specific date is not appropriate...’”
Then at Daily Kos this post reacted to Warner’s remarks: “I like Warner, but this position is untenable and increasingly obsolete. The debate has shifted from whether we should get out of Iraq to when and how we should get out.”
So, Warner or Kos, which one is telling it like it is? Well, at this desk it says they both are doing their jobs just fine.
Devout lefties should forever dog the Bush administration about its twisted tactics in laying the case for war in Iraq, and for its inept prosecution of that war. Senators who feel they were duped by pickled intelligence supplied by the Bush team should demand the truth be told. Cindy Sheehan and other war protestors should carry on, as long as it takes. The list goes on.
Forcing the truth out of Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney promises to not only be sweet entertainment, it will be a civics lesson for all to take in. But if Mark Warner wants to be elected president, and it seems he does, he has to stay above the all-too-familiar blame game and remain a problem-solver of the first order.
That’s Warner's image and it’s a good one because he can back it up. On top of that, as a governor Warner has no ax to grind, or vote to explain, when it comes to Iraq. Many members of congress do, including Democrats who may be his rivals for the 2008 nomination, no matter how they voted in 2002.
Why would Warner be fool enough to wade into that inside-the-beltway pool of quicksand? Beyond that consideration, who knows if Iraq will be the issue it is today in 2008?
Prudently, Warner calls for “milestones.” That’s not only smart campaign strategy for a man who says you have to campaign/win in such a way that you can govern, it also puts steady pressure on Bush to respond: Like, what’s so wrong with setting milestones?
Bush can easily say no, again and again, to demands for an immediate unconditional pullout. He has his talking points memorized. But, assuming someone tells him the difference between millstone and milestone, can Bush really dismiss Warner's call for a realistic way to measure progress, or the lack thereof.