Memo to Mitch McConnell: It's already broken

The GOP's Senate leader says Democrats will own the war if they push a plan for "failure."

Published May 1, 2007 7:27PM (EDT)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned today that "anybody" who tries to "micromanage" the war in Iraq from Washington "not only will ... lose the war, but it will be their war; they will own it."

He was referring to war critics, not to George W. Bush, but his words did sound an awful lot like those Colin Powell used with the president before he invaded Iraq in the first place.

"It's [the] old Pottery Barn rule: If you break it, you buy it," McConnell explained. "If they pass -- if we pass legislation that loses the war, then the people who vote to pass the legislation that ends the war are going to own it. That failure will be their failure."

Amid the bluster and blame shifting, McConnell suggested that there is a "possibility" that Senate Democrats and Republicans could reach a compromise on the war-funding bill by including "benchmarks" for the Iraqi government to meet and consequences if they don't. Unfortunately, the White House already seems to have ruled out that very possibility; as we noted Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested over the weekend that Bush wouldn't accept a war-funding bill that attaches "so-called consequences" to the benchmarks the Iraqis are supposed to be meeting.

By Tim Grieve

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

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