I missed the Sunday talk shows but this is pretty remarkable. Republican Senators within weeks of the election sharply criticizing Bush.
..."The fact is a crisp, sharp analysis of our policies is required. We didn't do that in Vietnam, and we saw 11 years of casualties mount to the point where we finally lost," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran who is co-chairman of President Bush's re-election committee in Nebraska.
"We can't lose this. It is too important," Hagel, R-Neb., said on CBS' Face the Nation.
A major problem, said leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was incompetence by the administration in reconstructing the country's shattered infrastructure.
The chairman, Sen. Richard Lugar, noted that Congress appropriated $18.4 billion a year ago this week for reconstruction. No more than $1 billion has been spent. "This is the incompetence in the administration," Lugar, R-Ind., said on ABC's This Week.
Sen. John McCain, who has campaigned often with the president, said mistakes in Iraq generally can be attributed to inadequate manpower. McCain, R-Ariz., said problems began arising shortly after the dash through the desert to take Baghdad, the capital, in April 2003.
"We made serious mistakes right after the initial successes by not having enough troops on the ground, by allowing the looting, by not securing the borders," McCain said.
"Airstrikes don't do it; artillery doesn't do it. Boots on the ground do it," McCain told Fox News Sunday.
McCain said Bush was not being "as straight as we would want him to be" about the situation. "The longer we delay with these sanctuaries, the more difficult the challenge is going to be and the more casualties we will incur and the Iraqi people will suffer because they will be able to operate out of these sanctuaries obviously now with somewhat of impunity," McCain said.