Eleven moderate House Republicans had a face to face yesterday with President Bush, Secretary Rice, Secretary Gates, among others:
Participants in the Tuesday meeting between Mr. Bush, senior administration officials and 11 members of a moderate bloc of House Republicans said the lawmakers were unusually candid with the president, telling him that public support for the war was crumbling in their swing districts.
One told Mr. Bush that voters back home favored a withdrawal even if it meant the war was judged a loss. Representative Tom Davis told Mr. Bush that the president’s approval rating was at 5 percent in one section of his northern Virginia district.
“It was a tough meeting in terms of people being as frank as they possibly could about their districts and their feelings about where the American people are on the war,” said Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois, who took part in the session, which lasted more than an hour in the residential section of the White House. “It was a no-holds-barred meeting.”
Several of the Republican moderates who visited the White House have already come under political attack at home for their support of Mr. Bush and survived serious Democratic challenges in November.
Representative Charles W. Dent of Pennsylvania, a co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, an alliance of about 30 moderate Republican lawmakers, helped arrange the meeting. He said lawmakers wanted to convey the frustration and impatience with the war they are hearing from voters. “We had a very frank conversation about the situation in Iraq,” he said. Even so, the Republicans who attended the White House session indicated that they would maintain solidarity with Mr. Bush for now by opposing the latest Democratic proposal for two-stage financing of war, which is scheduled for a vote on Thursday in the House.
What alarms me more than anything is that, according to this article, American voters, the same people who experienced the terror of 9/11 at the hands of al Qaeda just a mere 5 1/2 years ago, want to withdraw from Iraq even if it means the rest of the world sees it as our defeat by al Qaeda. They don’t seem to understand or possibly don’t care that the repercussions of our perceived defeat could be catastrophic. Bin Laden was emboldened to hatch and carry out 9/11 because of our withdrawal from Somalia, which was a nothing compared to the Iraq war. Just imagine what the media all over the Middle East will report with immense glee at our withdrawal from Iraq: “The Great Satan was defeated. America can be turned back. Strike at America now when she’s at her weakest.” Bin Laden, Ahmadinejad, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the other extremist Islamic militant groups will gloat and sneer and dance the jig as they tell it to the world that the armies of Allah defeated the most powerful military force this world has ever known.