Republican Senator: Give Bush Iraq Plan a Chance

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Sen. Jon Kyl

Sen. Jon Kyl says the president's critics have no alternative plans for success in Iraq. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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President Bush's plan to boost U.S. troop levels by 21,500 in Iraq has run into heavy opposition among Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is standing behind the president's revised strategy, saying it must be given a chance.

A member of the Republican leadership in the Senate, Kyl says that the number of U.S. troops in Iraq has fluctuated before, and that the administration and its critics have made too much out of the increase in troops now.

This time will be different, he says, because of the way the Iraqis are responding to the president's plan.

"There is a big change in the Iraqi attitude," Kyl tells Renee Montagne. "They have now resolved that they will be committed to supporting the kinds of actions that they haven't supported in the past."

For example, when insurgents are captured, they will no longer be released as a political favor by the Iraqi government, Kyl says. "Now they've said they're not going to do that anymore; they'll hold these folks."

Kyl says the president's critics "have no alternative plan, except to leave on different kinds of timetables. And that is not a strategy to succeed."

"I also think that most people do agree that if you left Iraq in a failed state, the consequences for the United States, not to mention the Iraqis, would be disastrous."

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group proposed a slow, steady withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

"If your idea is that we can't win or that we already have lost, then there are all kinds of withdrawal plans," Kyl says. "My own favored plan would be [to] get out today. But the president has a different idea, namely that we can still succeed there."

"Obviously, there are no guarantees [that the plan will succeed], and the president has made it clear there are no guarantees," Kyl says.

Kyl reiterates the president's warning that violence would likely increase in Iraq as the U.S. implements its new plan. "We should not come to believe that the increase in violence is a signal that this is not working. In fact, it's probably a signal that it is working...," he says.

"We have to inflict a lot more punishment on the enemy. We have to defeat the enemy there, and that's going to mean more violence... and they're probably going to react very strongly with everything they have."



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