John Tabin at AmSpec’s blog hits Brownback for his support of Warner’s resolution with its half-a-surge proposal.  Here’s the description from the Lawrence Journal-World:

Instead, Brownback, a Republican senator, said he favored a proposal by U.S. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., that has been described in reports as endorsing a much smaller troop increase in the western Anbar province of Iraq, while also supporting the president’s authority over U.S. forces.  

This is the option that Norm Coleman also seems to like.  Why do Coleman and Brownback like it?  Because it doesn’t send American reinforcements into the middle of a sectarian civil war.  That seems to the major problem that they have with the “surge,” as well they might, but they seem oblivious to the futility and wastefulness of sending more reinforcements to Anbar. 

Sending reinforcements to Anbar means that you support fighting the Sunnis in the west, but that you don’t want to get embroiled in the possibility of having to fight both sides or being forced to take sides in Baghdad.  Not wanting to get embroiled in the civil war in Baghdad is smart, so give them credit for that.  Wanting to increase troop levels in a country whose government is increasingly unreliable and bent on communal revenge, no matter where you put them, strikes me as foolish.  At some point, once you secure other parts of the country and the sectarian government wins its bloody triumph, there will eventually come the absurd situation where their push to punish and marginalise Sunnis will run up against our soldiers’ mandate to provide security in areas where Sunnis live. 

Besides, since the political fate of Iraq hinges on what happens in Baghdad, limiting reinforcements to fighting insurgents in Anbar simply goes back to what the military was doing in 2003 and 2004.  If the fear is one of escalation into even bloodier civil war and a spiraling nightmare of attack and reprisal between rival communities, attacking the roots of the problem in Baghdad would be best if you actually think there is a remote chance of success.  Clearly, supporters of the Warner resolution are not convinced of that.  Indeed, many of the opponents of the Democrats’ resolution are not convinced that this will work. 

The trouble is that the Iraqi government is connected to one of the roots of the problem and has become an essential part of the problem.  That ought to convince these Senators, who are so wary of entering into the middle of a civil war, to support an alternative plan that finds a way for Americans to leave Iraq in short order.  (Yes, that’s right, in short order.)  If they don’t want Americans in the middle of a foreign civil war, they shouldn’t want Americans in Iraq (or at the very least in non-Kurdish Iraq).  That ought to be their position.  Their timid half-measures, aimed at buying themselves some cover back home and creating some distance between themselves and the Democrats to avoid the impression of selling out to the “defeatists,” leave them in the unenviable position of being foreign policy Mugwumps. 

Brownback had achieved some distinction as the only ’08 candidate to oppose the “surge.”  Now he has muddled that message and put himself in the bizarre position of having to say, “I am for escalation in some parts of Iraq, but not in others,” or “We should fight insurgents, but not death squads.”  This will draw hearty chortles from his opponents in the race, and it will tend to damage his credibility with voters as a foreign policy hand.  In other words, Brownback and supporters of the Warner resolution accept that the bloodletting in Baghdad is unavoidable and should be considered the Iraqis’ problem, which is true, but remain convinced that the rest of Iraq remains our problem.