GOP Senator says Bush’s war is failing

Sen. Richard Lugar, a senior Republican and a reliable vote for President Bush on the war, said that Bush’s Iraq strategy was not working and that the U.S. should downsize the military’s role.

The unusually blunt assessment Monday deals a political blow to Bush, who has relied heavily on GOP support to stave off anti-war legislation.

It also comes as a surprise. Most Republicans have said they were willing to wait until September to see if Bush’s recently ordered troop buildup in Iraq was working.

“In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved,” Lugar, R-Ind., said in a Senate floor speech. “Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.”

Only a few Republicans have broken ranks and called for a change in course or embraced Democratic proposals ordering troops home by a certain date. As the top Republican and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar’s critique could provide political cover for more Republicans wanting to challenge Bush on the war.

Lugar’s spokesman Andy Fisher said the senator wanted to express his concerns publicly before Bush reviews his Iraq strategy in September.

“They’ve known his position on this for quite a while,” Fisher said of the White House.

However, Fisher said the speech does not mean Lugar would switch his vote on the war or embrace Democratic measures setting a deadline for troop withdrawals.

In January, Lugar voted against a resolution opposing the troop buildup, contending that the nonbinding measure would have no practical effect. In spring, he voted against a Democratic bill that would have triggered troop withdrawals by Oct. 1 with the goal of completing the pull out in six months.

Next month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to force votes on several anti-war proposals as amendments to a 2008 defense policy bill. Members will decide whether to cut off money for combat, demand troop withdrawals start in four months, restrict the length of combat tours and rescind Congress’ 2002 authorization of Iraqi invasion.

Expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass controversial legislation, the proposals are intended to increase pressure on Bush and play up to voters frustrated with the war.


  1. mary cali


    What took these GOP enablers so long to see what ordinary folks saw long ago? More importantly, how many died or were brutally wounded before they saw the light? Oh, I know the enablers bought into “the liberal media is not telling us the good things that are happening in Iraq.”
    Ignorance and arrogance what a deadly combination.

  2. Sandra Price

    Why is it that when a Republican takes another road when it comes to the Iraqi war, it is called backing the Democrats? Both aisles of congress backed Bush when he invaded Iraq and both gave him the unlimited position of acting like a dictator.

    We are now witnessing “integrity” in our government and it should stand alone not bending to one party or another.

    In 2006, the American people showed integrity when they voted against the war. The voters still run America! We should never forget this! We are now seeing more legislators getting the message and we should encourage them to look President Bush in the eye and tell him he is dead wrong! It will take the same kind of pressure that has held back the Amnesty bill; voices of the people!

    We don’t all have to agree with the war and Amnesty but we should make our voices heard in D.C.

  3. Rick Fuller

    Because Sandy, as a Republican, either you’re with the president, or you’re against him. If you’re against him, you’re a traitor to the country – and a Democrat.

    Haven’t you received your Fox News Talking Points? Email Sean Hannity, he’ll send them to you.

  4. BeeJay

    From BeeJay

    I beg to differ. I am a registered Republican and have been for 56 years. However, I am not, and never was, a George W. Bush fan. After 911, I supported him through Afghanistan. However, it seems to me that, when he couldn’t find Bin Laden, he attacked Iraq. Didn’t Bush declare victory there about a year into that campaign? Why are we still fighting? I also seem to remember that Iraq was supposed to become financially independent by marketing their rich oil supplies. We are still pouring money into Iraq. What a waste of lives, money and time!

  5. Sandra Price

    Rick, I’ve never been “party” driven. When I saw what Bush 41 had planned for the GOP I became a Libertarian. When the LP failed to find an agenda I became an Independent. I do not watch network news and I could care less what FOX says.

  6. prospero

    I wouldn’t take the “backing the Democrats” comment too personally. It sounds like a simple assessment. If you vote for a bill the Democrats like, it’s accurate to say you’re backing them.

    The voters sure didn’t choose the president the last two times out. While it’s true that the Amnesty bill has been stalled by the voice of the people, it’s their actual voices on telephones and emails and fax machines — it’s not their vote.

    I want you to be right, that the voters still have some clout. But when I read about what went on in 2000, 2004, and in the Justice Department, I’m afraid I have my doubts. The vote is badly compromised. It’s going to take some real congressional will to ever even admit it, let alone do something about it.

    But I still want you to be right.

  7. Sandra Price

    Thank you Prospero and welcome to CHB reader rant. I want to be right too! Let’s make it so!

    “How many goodly creatures are there here (CHB)
    How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that has such people in’t”

    Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

  8. SEAL

    Beejay, Bush didn’t have any problem “finding” Bin Laden. That is a common misconception that seems to exist only among those who maintain they are life long republicans. I can give you the facts about Bin laden’s escape from the military personnel that were involved. I talked to them personally. I know and even trained some of these guys during my 32 years of service.

    When we were turned loose on Afghanistan the orders were to find and kill or capture Bin Laden and his al Quida terrorist organization. The military, not Bush, devised the plans to accomplish that. The result was that they had Bin Laden and his primary loyalists cornered very quick and were ready to complete the mission with a final assault that would wipe them out. That was when Bush, through Rumsfeld, intevened and stopped us.

    The reason the gave was that they wanted the Afghans to make the capture. We were to hold position until the Afghan warlords got there. So we followed orders and waited, and waited, and waited while Bin Laden and his core of al Quida escaped out the back door over the mountains to Pakistan. We sent communications informing the Secretary of Defense what was happening but they were either ignored or we were told to continue to hold our positions. By the time the Afghans finally showed up it was too late. Bin Laden was gone.

    One can only assume that Bin Laden was deliberately allowed to escape. Bush had planed to invade Iraq before he ever took office in 2000. If he captured Bin Laden, it would all be over, Mission accomplished, the perp of 9/11 was dead or in custody. There would be no reason for us to remain in Afghanistan and there would be no ready excuse to attack Iraq. With Bin Laden free, they could connect Iraq to al Quida and build their case for invading Iraq from that. Which they did.

    The goal of the neocons in the Bush administration was to wind up with permanent military bases in both Afghanistan and Iraq. and, ofcourse, be in control of the Iraqi oil. That has been accomplished.

    Don’t let party loyalty blind you to the truth. Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney all knew that the Afghan warlords would not come to capture or kill Bin Laden. Too many of them were complicit with al Quida or had other reasons not to be involved. Bush needed the devil of terrorism on the loose to legitimize his war on terroism that would never end. That returned the war profiteering for the MIC and makes them all incredibly wealthy.

    If you can’t see the truth in this and continue to support based on party loyalty, then you are complicit in the crimes of the Bush administration and the republican party.

  9. Ardie

    When even average American credulity won’t accept the president’s rationalizations anymore, it nice to see a few Republicans bravely stepping forward.

  10. kent shaw

    bin Laden has always been a CIA asset. He is most likely living in a Paris penthouse. “Al Qaeda” was also a CIA consruct created during the Soviet/Afghan war. bin Laden was “our guy” back then. Look into the oil pipeline across Afghanistan. Look into the poppy bumper crop. The CIA has been for a long time a major illegal drug importer into the USA, financing “black ops” and “psy ops”. Nothing is as it seems.