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Friday, June 24, 2005

Republicans Doubts Iraq Invasion

Welcome to!: "Republicans Voice Their Doubts

GOP senators tell Rumsfeld they fear the public is turning against the war in Iraq. 'People are beginning to question,' one says.

By Maura Reynolds / Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — One senator described the public's perception of the war in Iraq as 'more and more like Vietnam.' A second worried that 'our very presence there inspires more insurgents.' A third said the strain on the armed forces 'is getting worse, not better.'

Military brass had heard such comments before when they trooped up Capitol Hill to answer questions from Congress. But this time there was a difference: The comments were coming from Republicans.

'We will lose this war if we leave too soon. And what is likely to make us do that? The public going south,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). 'And that is happening, and that worries me greatly.'

Echoing through the questions posed Thursday to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and top generals for Iraq was a new note of anxiety, and not just from Democrats long skeptical of the war. Recent polls and phone calls from constituents prompted a series of hang-wringing questions from otherwise supportive Republicans.

One of the most direct was Graham, who described himself as a firm backer of the war from the pro-military state of South Carolina.

'I'm here to tell you, sir, in the most patriotic state that I can imagine, people are beginning to question,' Graham said. 'And I don't think it's a blip on the radar screen.'

In his opening remarks, Rumsfeld had compared the struggle in Iraq to World War II and argued that there are always concerns in the aftermath of war about whether the United States is losing the peace.

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