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Security politics

NBC's Ken Strickland notes the significance of Sen. John Warner, a longtime party stalwart, differing with Bush on the war.  Yesterday, after returning from his eighth trip there, Warner put some distance between himself and the Administration by also saying parts of Iraqi government aren't meeting their "fundamental responsibilities" and "better pull their act together."  He acknowledged that some progress is 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." 

Then he said, "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."  US military and government agencies "are doing their very, very best," Warner said, but the Iraqi government is not carrying their weight.  "You do not see them taking the levers of sovereignty and pulling and pushing them and doing what is necessary to bring about a situation in Iraq whereby the people are able to live... and have a sense of confidence in their government that they're going forward," Warner said.

In a new book, "Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell," Powell's wife accuses the Bush Administration of using her husband's prestige to sell the Iraq war to the American people.