I recently made a public statement that I think we need to change our Iraq policy because the war is going in the wrong direction, and that was tough for me to do, considering where I have been in my support heretofore. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE and Ken Salazar shared my sentiments and had put together a proposal based on the Baker-Hamilton led Report that I endorsed when it was released in December and now consider to be the best solution. I soon found that it now has support from 13 senators -- seven Democrats and six Republicans.

What I’m impressed with now as a legislator is that we’re looking for different ways to solve a lot of issues, calling on the ideas of people who have power to be involved in getting things done. The Iraq Study Group and their report is an example of this. The Baker-Hamilton report’s recommendations would accomplish a number of things that everyone is worried about, and you’d get them done together. And that’s what the Salazar-Alexander amendment sets out to do.

One, you would adopt the policy that we can’t leave Iraq for a long time -- many years. Another policy would be that we’re not going to fight inside of Iraq -- they’re going to have to help fight the war themselves -- but we will stay on the periphery to help for a long time so they won’t be overcome.  But the Iraqis have got to fight, as they promised. The other thing the Salazar-Alexander bill does is ask the president of the United States to adopt the ISG policy and implement it within 90 days. The plan puts together the program for U.S. forces to train and equip the Iraqis to defend themselves. That would be the policy of the United States.

So now the question is what happens to this good approach. How do we get to take it up and who’s going to make that decision? Will the leaders allow us to offer the amendment or make us wait until next time? Is it better for us to wait until next time and address the need for a shift in strategy later?

All those questions and many more have to be answered. But I am supporting something very positive that I see as having a good chance of putting all the players in the right place and moving it ahead. So for me, someone who has been working so long and in such frustration, while I love the president, things don’t seem to be working. And I’m sorry for him, but I had to leave him and say I’m going to try something else. I talked to him soon after it happened, and we had a good discussion. He’s a tough man, and he’s honest and forthright too. He knew what I felt I had to do and wasn’t upset.