As predicted two weeks ago, Olympia Snowe becomes the latest GOP senator to oppose the Bush Administration's failed escalation strategy in Iraq. Snowe takes her criticism a step further and agrees to to co-sponsor legislation requiring troop withdrawal by March 2008.
"Frankly, given the fact that the Iraqi government isn't prepared to change its own political direction, we should be prepared to change course with resepect to our strategy," Sen. Snowe tells the Associated Press.
Olympia Snowe is one of the Senate's last remaining moderate Republicans. She and Sen. Susan Collins, another centrist, represent a blue state which is fairly progressive and very anti-war. Collins is particularly vulnerable because she is up for re-election next year and "has publicly stated she opposes Bush’s decision to increase U.S. troop levels in Iraq this year, [but] has stuck with the Administration so far on the most pivotal Senate votes." MoveOn.org is now aggressively running ads against Collins.
In the past several days, numerous GOP senators—Dole, Alexander and Gregg, Bennett, Sununu, etc.—have criticized the escalation strategy but are not willing to support a deadline. Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel (NE) and Gordon Smith (OR) are the only Republicans so far willing to criticize the escalation and support troop withdrawal.