Lugar urges Bush to change course soon in Iraq
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican support for President Bush's Iraq war policy suffered a significant crack Monday evening when Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana urged the president to change course in Iraq "very soon."Sounds good alright but how does he plan to force Bush's hand? "Where's The Beef"? The Bush/Cheney cabal will change nothing on their own while still in office. Neither one of them gives a damned about the Republican Party or the country. If the Republican lawmakers really want to change the course rather than stay the course they will have to do it with the only weapon they have available, the budget. The democrats can't and won't do it on their own - it's up to the Republicans to walk the walk. Will Lugar and others be willing to do that in September? I'm not going to hold my breath.
The well-respected GOP voice on foreign affairs took to the Senate floor to urge Bush to avoid further damage to America's military readiness and long-term national security.
"Our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond. Our continuing absorption with military activities in Iraq is limiting our diplomatic assertiveness there and elsewhere in the world," he said.
Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also sounded a pessimistic note on the prospects for internal political progress in Iraq.
He said he sees "no convincing evidence that Iraqis will make the compromises necessary to solidify a functioning government and society, even if we reduce violence to a point that allows for some political and economic normalcy."
The senator said continuing military operations in Iraq were putting a damaging level of stress on U.S. forces, "taking a toll on recruitment and readiness."
"The window during which we can continue to employ American troops in Iraqi neighborhoods without damaging our military strength, or our ability to respond to other national security priorities, is closing," he said. "The United States military remains the strongest fighting force in the world, but we have to be mindful that it is not indestructible."
Lugar also said he believes the chances for success of Bush's strategy of boosting troop levels in Iraq to try to get the security situation there under control is "very limited within the short period framed by our own domestic political debate."
"The costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved," Lugar said. "Persisting indefinitely with the 'surge' strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests in the long term."
Rick Moran feels vindicated.
It’s just that when everything that I’ve put into building this site up has basically gone for naught because so many of my friends on the right have abandoned reading this blog – mostly because my position on the Iraq War has diverged from GOP and conservative orthodoxy – that I now feel compelled to do a little fist pumping because more and more Republicans are saying exactly the same things I’ve been saying for months; that it’s time to start redeploying our troops so that we can salvage something short of an unmitigated disaster from this military adventure:
Every single conclusion reached by Lugar in the above excerpt was reached by me late last year. The lack of progress by the Iraqi government in dealing with their problems making the surge an exercise in futility; the toll on our military; and the ticking clock of public support for the war were all pointed out by me – for which I received the most vile criticism imaginable from some of my erstwhile friends.