The forever war caucus in Congress – Joe Lieberman and a host of his fellow conservative reactionaries – are calling for hearings on the Iraq withdrawal announced last Friday.

A group of mostly Republican senators is asking Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to schedule a full hearing on President Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.

“As you know, the complete withdrawal of our forces from Iraq is likely to be viewed as a strategic victory by our enemies in the Middle East, especially the Iranian regime,” the letter, signed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and David Vitter (R-La.) reads.

“While we share the desire for all of our troops to come home as quickly as possible, every senior military commander we have heard from on repeated visits to Iraq has stated that U.S. national security interests and the enduring needs of Iraq’s military require a continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq beyond 2011 to safeguard the gains that we and our Iraqi partners have made,” the letter continues.

I do think this edges toward dangerous territory for national Republicans, if their perceived message is to extend the Iraq war. To the extent that the public thinks about the war anymore, they think it should end. The Obama Administration may not have wanted to withdraw all the troops, but they certainly saw the public relations benefit in the announcement. It puts them on the side of the public in a 70-30 issue. You can see in the statement from the neocons that they have to hedge and say they want to see “all of our troops to come home as quickly as possible.”

If I were Carl Levin, I would be all too happy to schedule hearings on this. Let the neocons bleat about the need to continue forever war. I don’t think it will be well-received.

David Dayen

David Dayen