Thursday, July 26, 2007

Staying the course

John McCain:
My friends on the other side of this argument accuse those of us who oppose this amendment with advocating ‘‘staying the course,’’''staying the course,'' which is intended to suggest that we are intent on continuing the mistakes that have put the outcome of the war in doubt. Yet we all know that with the arrival of General Petraeus, we have changed course. We are now fighting with a counterinsurgency strategy, which some of us have argued we should have been following from the beginning and which makes the most effective use of our strength and does not strengthen the tactics of our enemy. The new battle plan is succeeding where our previous tactics have failed, although the outcome remains far from certain.

   The tactics proposed in the amendment offered by my friends, Senators Levin and Reed — a smaller force confined to bases distant from the battlefield, from where they will launch occasional search-and-destroy missions and train the Iraqi military — are precisely the tactics employed for most of the war, which have, by anyone's account, failed miserably. Now, that, Mr. President, is staying the course, and it is a course that inevitably leads to our defeat [..] (Debate in the US Senate, 17-18 July 2007 ( C-span / BBC Parliament, 22 Jul; Congressional Record S9429)
The Republican leader, Mitch McConnell had this:
[Karl Levin] was asked these questions by the press. He said he didn't want to get into a debate as to how many troops will be needed. He said answering that question would be changing the subject. But that is the subject, isn't it? — whether and how many troops we are going to keep in Iraq. (S9432)
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