Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, has not changed his mind about the U.S. mission in Iraq, just because some of his Republican colleagues seem to be looking for a new direction.
Coburn said in an interview that it is premature to make judgments about how well the “surge” in military might is working since the deployment of more troops was just recently completed.
He said he was “aghast” that senators were coming out now to voice opinions that the Iraqi government was making no progress and that the military mission should be reassessed.
Two prominent Republican senators, Sen. Richard Lugar, of Indiana, and Sen. Pete Domenici, of New Mexico, have made public statements in the last few weeks raising questions about the progress being made.
“I think they reflect political considerations rather than military and national security considerations,” Coburn said.
The senator said, “One way for sure to make sure (the Iraqi government) doesn’t make progress is for us to bail.”
The way to ensure the government makes progress, he said, “is for us to continue to put the pressure on them that we have.”
The Senate this week is working on the defense authorization bill, which sets Pentagon policy. Several amendments regarding U.S. operations in Iraq are expected. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, offered an amendment today to ensure longer stays at home for active duty and Guard and Reserve forces.
Returning today from a week back in Oklahoma, Coburn said he believes the majority of the people in the state “are still supportive of the efforts” in Iraq.