Brian Zick

Dead American soldiers and waste in billions of dollars have until now been of little concern to Republicans who've slavishly persisted in supporting Bush's lunatic warlust. But now the GOP is getting election year jitters. Jonathan Weisman and Thomas Ricks for WaPo report: Congressional leaders from both political parties are giving President Bush a matter of months to prove that the Iraq war effort has turned a corner, with September looking increasingly like a decisive deadline. (…) "Many of my Republican colleagues have been promised they will get a straight story on the surge by September," said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). "I won't be the only Republican, or one of two Republicans, demanding a change in our disposition of troops in Iraq at that point. That is very clear to me." (…) House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who has taken a hard line in Bush's favor, said Sunday, "By the time we get to September, October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't, what's Plan B." (…) "There is a sense that by September, you've got to see real action on the part of Iraqis," said Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). "I think everybody knows that, I really do." "I think a lot of us feel that way," agreed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Anne Flaherty for AP reports: Senate Republican Whip Trent Lott said Monday that President Bush's new strategy in Iraq has until about fall before GOP members will need to see results. (…) White House officials have sought to play down the expectations of the September review as merely a progress report, but many Republicans have latched onto the date as a critical juncture. War funding for this fiscal year, while still under negotiation, is expected to run out Sept. 30. update: Atrios has his doubts. And, of course, it ain't exactly the first time we've heard GOP lip service to the idea of policy "change" in Iraq. Seeing will be believeing.

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