ELEPHANT WALK: Senior GOP Senator John Warner Tells Bush To Begin Iraq Withdrawal In September


WASHINGTON (CNN) — The influential former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has called on President Bush to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq by Christmas.

Republican Sen. John Warner is urging President Bush to begin a troop withdrawal from Iraq in September. Sen. John Warner, a Virginia Republican, said Thursday that a pullout was needed to spurwarner.jpg Iraqi leaders to action. He has recommended that Bush announce the beginning of a U.S. withdrawal in mid-September, after a report is released from the top U.S. officials in Iraq, and that those troops should be back in the U.S. by Christmas.

Warner is one of the most respected voices in the Senate on military and national security issues. Besides being a former Armed Services chairman, Warner was a Secretary of the Navy in the 1970s. He served in the Navy in World War II and in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. He has served in the Senate for five consecutive terms. He and the current Armed Services chairman, Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, recently returned from a visit to Baghdad with harsh words for the al-Maliki government.


warner_john-2.jpgU.S. NAVY MEMORIAL: Sen. John Warner is a member of the select group of U.S. senators who served in the armed forces during the Second World War. He enlisted in the Navy in January 1945, shortly before his 18th birthday. He served until the following year, leaving as a petty officer third class. He then joined the Marine Corps in October 1950, after the outbreak of the Korean War, and served in Korea as a ground officer with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. He continued in the Marine Corps Reserves after the war, eventually reaching the rank of captain. In February 1969, Warner was appointed Undersecretary of the Navy in the Nixon administration. He was elected to the Senate in 1978 and is the second-longest serving senator in Virginia’s history, behind only Harry F. Byrd, Sr., and is by far the longest-serving Republican Senator from that state.

RELATED: The U.S. effort to install a democracy in Iraq within three to five years was a flawed strategy with little chance of succeeding, U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra said Friday. The Holland Republican said the Iraq government needs new leadership, but said it’s up to Iraqis to change it. Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said as the Iraqi government flounders, he?s changed his original support for the Bush administration?s stated goal of molding a democratic Iraq as a means to stabilize the Middle East. [via DETROIT FREE PRESS]


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