A rough welcome for Rice

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee lay into the president's new plan for Iraq.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 11, 2007 3:26PM (EST)

Condoleezza Rice is telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning that she knows that "most Americans are skeptical and concerned about the prospects of success" in Iraq.

That would be an understatement, And if Rice doesn't know that, she should listen to what Democratic Sen. Joe Biden and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel have to say to her this morning.

After welcoming Rice to his hearing room, Biden just said that it is now "clear" that the president hasn't listened to the American people. Saddam Hussein is gone. The WMD were never there. Yet American soldiers continue to die in Iraq, and the president has already begun to send more. "The president's strategy is not a solution," Biden said. "It is a tragic mistake."

Hagel is putting his opposition to Bush's plan in even starker terms, saying Bush's new plan will "cost more American lives, cost billions of dollars more, further strain an American military that has already reached its breaking point, further diminish America's standing in the Middle East and contine to allow the Iraqis to walk away from their responsibilities."

The closest Rice is getting to support this morning? The opening statement of Republican Dick Lugar, who said that Bush's speech last night was an "important start" -- and then took the administration to task for refusing to engage in diplomacy with all of Iraq's neighbors in the Middle East.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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