— From NBC's Ken Strickland
Changing the subject back to Iraq... Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R) today told reporters that if the Iraqi government can't reduce the sectarian violence within the next 90 days, the US should consider a "change of course" there. Warner is a longtime party stalwart who rarely differs with the president on the Iraq war. But today, after returning from his eighth trip there, he created some distance with the Administration by also saying parts of Iraqi government aren't meeting their "fundamental responsibilities" and "better pull their act together."
Warner acknowledged that some progress was being made. But most of his comments were critical of the overall situation in Iraq, specifically about the increased levels of violence and the dramatic shortcomings within the government there. He said, "It seems to me the situation is drifting sideways." And then he said this:
"But I assure you in two or three months, if this thing hasn't come to fruition and this level of violence is not under control and this government able to function, I think it's the responsibility of our government internally to determine 'is there a change of course we should take?' And I won't take off the table any option at this time."