Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, has had enough.
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."
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 [...]
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."
He essentially has endorsed the Murtha plan -- redeploying some forces in Kuwait, while making a laughable call for Bush to change course:
"A course change should happen now, while there is still some possibility of constructing a sustainable bipartisan strategy in Iraq. If the president waits until the presidential election campaign is in full swing, the intensity of confrontation on Iraq is likely to limit [options]," he said.
According to Lugar's spokesperson, this speech was "months in the making, weeks in the writing". Yet Lugar stood with Bush against recent Democratic efforts to force the president to change course in Iraq.
It's good he's found reason, but Lugar made his move after Democratic efforts to force such change ended in defeat. His speech will make waves, but it could've made a more practical difference for our troops suffering in Iraq had he made it a few weeks ago.
Still, I shouldn't complain. This is a good thing.
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