Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lugar is Starting to Come Around on Iraq

I'm extremely late to this story but I think it needs some discussion nonetheless. From Sylvia Smith's JG piece:
"Unless we recalibrate our strategy in Iraq to fit our domestic political conditions and the broader needs of U.S. national security,” he said, “we risk foreign policy failures that could greatly diminish our influence in the region and the world.”

Failure in Iraq is not inevitable, Lugar said, but success requires Bush to downsize the U.S. military role and “place much more emphasis on diplomatic and economic options.”
“In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved,” he said. “Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.”
It's about time Senator, welcome to reality - it's nice here, you'll like it. Instead of dishing up more snarky commentarty I'll point the reader to Blue Indiana where Thomas explains the situation:
To me, the speech itself is not nearly as important as its symbolic value. Senator Lugar is more or less giving the Bush administration a shot over the bow, and the message is clear: "Stay the course" is no longer acceptable to Congress, and it is time to move on.

Now, there are certainly Republicans that have been more proactive than Sen. Lugar in terms of helping to bring this conflict to an end, and there are undoubtedly some who are so wedded to this war that they will never abandon the sinking ship, but there is no denying the significance of a widely-respected voice on foreign policy choosing to make a very public gesture of discontent. Lugar didn't need to do this politically, and so I can only assume this was a move on his part -- and on behalf of others – with the intent of jumpstarting a dialogue between the White House and Congress on alternatives to the current "strategy" being used in Iraq.
Of course Congressman Souder has made similar remarks but continues to support the Bush administration lock, stock and barrel. But Souder's fence-sitting it's purely political while Lugar's certainly isn't considering he was the only Senator that went unchallenged by a Democratic opponent in 2006. So for now, I'll give Senator Lugar his due and hope that his emergence as a voice of reason within the Republican party can start to change our disastrous policies in Iraq...

1 comment:

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

I am glad to see that Lugar finally took a step in the direction of breaking with the president; however, his speech really didn't say anything that outstanding.

The value of the speech is simply that Lugar took the initiative to give it openly on the floor of the Senate. He didn't say anything that others haven't been saying all along. The only impact this speech will have is to show Bush that Lugar's seemingly steadfast support is waning.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am really tired of all the statements and resolutions (similar to the Mayor's conference resolution that you addressed and which I read at their website). I am fed up with both parties at this point. It reminds me of the old saying that "Nero fiddled while Rome burned."