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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Sen. Shelby’s speech shows frustration with Iraq war

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby’s war speech on the Senate floor last week was interesting for what it didn’t say: Exactly where does the state’s senior senator stand on the war?

He’s not for “cutting and running.” Neither is he going to blindly follow President Bush any more.

He complained that no one is looking for a way to win the war, but only looking to find a way out of the mess.

Then he goes on with a list of questions that ought to fuzzy up his stand for his constituents back here in Alabama.

Don’t blame the senator for ambiguity. Like the other members of Congress, he’s caught up in a first-class mess and doesn’t know how to get out. He’s frustrated. He sees the downward spiral of the war, and he’s watching the opinion polls show support for the war falling even in Alabama.

Sure, victory, total and complete, is the preferable solution, one that the Pentagon can accomplish without killing and maiming thousands more soldiers. He fears that getting out without victory opens the door for Iran to control Iraq’s vast oil reserves and to perpetuate terrorism in the land that the late Saddam Hussein ruled until the war.

The senator opposed a non-binding resolution that says the Senate no longer has confidence in the president’s conduct of the war because he apparently sees the resolution as withdrawing support for the armed forces.

“Ambiguity has no place in our strategy or operations in Iraq,” he said.

If victory is necessary to protect our homeland, Congress should ask the president to commit more than 21,000 additional troops.

But does the nation have enough troops to occupy Iraq and keep obligations in other parts of the world? If not, does Congress need to reinstate the military draft?

Does the nation need to go on a wartime footing and get the war over without losing?

What does the senator suggest we do?

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