More Republicans walk away from Bush

Republican support for the Iraq war is slipping by the day. After four years of combat and more than 3,560 U.S. deaths, two Republican senators previously reluctant to challenge President Bush on the war announced they could no longer support the deployment of 157,000 troops and asked the president to begin bringing them home.

“We must not abandon our mission, but we must begin a transition where the Iraqi government and its neighbors play a larger role in stabilizing Iraq,” Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, wrote in a letter to Bush.

Voinovich, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released his letter Tuesday — one day after Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the panel’s top Republican, said in a floor speech that Bush’s strategy was not working.

“The longer we delay the planning for a redeployment, the less likely it is to be successful,” said Lugar, who plans to meet later this week with Stephen Hadley, Bush’s national security adviser.

Lugar and Voinovich are not the first GOP members to call for U.S. troops to leave Iraq. Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Gordon Smith of Oregon made similar remarks earlier this year. But their public break is significant because it raises the possibility that Senate Democrats could muster the 60 votes needed to pass legislation that would call for Bush to bring troops home.

Their remarks also are an early warning shot to a lame duck president that GOP support for the war is thinning. The administration is not expected until September to say whether a recent troop buildup in Iraq is working.

“Everyone should take note, especially the administration,” said Snowe, R-Maine, noting Lugar’s senior position within the GOP. “It certainly indicates the tide is turning.”

Lugar told reporters Tuesday that he does not expect the fall assessment to be conclusive and would only fuel sentiment among lawmakers that Congress should intervene with legislation to end the war.

“The president has an opportunity now to bring about a bipartisan foreign policy,” Lugar said. “I don’t think he’ll have that option very long.”

The White House on Tuesday appealed to members for more patience on the war in Iraq.

“We hope that members of the House and Senate will give the Baghdad security plan a chance to unfold,” said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

Snow also said Lugar was a thoughtful man and that his remarks came as no surprise.

“We’ve known that he’s had reservations about the policy for some time,” he said.

Republican support for the war has declined steadily since last year’s elections, mirroring public poll numbers. In an AP-Ipsos poll earlier this month, 28 percent said they were satisfied with President Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq, down 5 percentage points in a month.

Earlier this year, Voinovich and Lugar said they doubted the troop buildup in Iraq would work. But they declined to back a resolution expressing opposition to the troop increase because they said it would have no practical effect. The two senators also refused Democratic proposals to set a timetable for troop withdrawals.

Other Republicans, including Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Susan Collins of Maine, expressed similar concerns about Iraq but recently have said they will wait until the September assessment before calling for a change in course, including possible troop withdrawals.

Voinovich and Lugar said they still would not support a timetable for troop withdrawals and are unlikely to switch their vote. But softer alternative proposals are in the works that could possibly attract their support.

After the Fourth of July recess, “you’ll be hearing a number of statements from other (Republican) colleagues,” predicted Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a longtime skeptic of the war strategy.

Warner spokesman John Ullyot said the senator is drafting a legislative proposal on the war, but declined to discuss the details. The measure would likely be offered as an amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill on the floor next month.

In the meantime, Democrats say they will try again to set an end date on the war and cut off funding for combat.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called Lugar’s speech “brilliant” and “courageous” and said it would later be noted in the history books as a turning point in the war.

“But that will depend on whether more Republicans take the stand that Sen. Lugar took,” Reid added.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted in favor of confirming Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute as Bush’s personal adviser on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Pete Geren as Army secretary. A full Senate vote on the nominations has not been scheduled.


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  1. gene

    “Republican support for Iraq is slipping”….really and why has it taken years and tens of thousands of deaths to decided this and again, why now? Seems to little to late. Here’s the deal: we have a white house full of criminals a congress who most have had surgery called a labotomy, a public clueless unless it concerns their next purchase or vacation plans. Add to that several generations of me first and the government will take care of us mentality.

    This country is a disaster in the happening. Only a supernatural event can now save this planet. Whatever God you believe in I just hope he or she returns soon.


    Something is wrong. Republicans sit on their hands and tell us it is the best of all possible worlds.

    John Hanks, Laramie, Wyoming

  3. Steve Horn

    I agree with Joe Lawrence –

    the fact that after six years the rubber-stamp Republicans in congress are stepping away from Bush isn’t a sign that their heads have emerged from their rectums – it’s just a sign that they see an election on the horizon – one that they’d like to win – so they’re distancing themselves from Bush and Cheney with typical hollow congressional hot air and flatus.

    Political posturing isn’t going to bring one soldier out of harms way a single day sooner and it’s not going to help to place Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Rice, Snow, Rove or any of the other pack of liars and cheats that together form what is likely the most corrupt and incompetent administration in American history where they belong – in jail.

    So here’s the plan for 2008. For congressional seats vote only for third party candidates – ignore the “major” parties. For the Executive branch, vote in the most qualified candidate (from whatever party) you can find. Next time around – vote for anyone that’s NOT incumbent – keep doing this – keep the politicians on their toes – and never allow the two elected branches of our federal government to be of the same party – and all will be forced to compromise and all will KNOW that the citizens of this great nation are holding them to task. It may not be a great plan – but hey – it’s an idea.



  4. Carl Nemo

    The real tragedy of all this crap is that while these shuffle-butt politicians get some down-home religion concerning what “we the people” want and need, more lives are being uselessly lost on the streets of “Ragsheadville”!

    These people have been slugging it out for 1400 years as to which branch of Islam gets to call the shots. If they didnt’ have “black gold” under their land our leader’s could give a crap less!

    We’ve actually won our encounter and have not lost. Originally it was the quest for WMD’s, none have been found. The second part of our mission was to to roundup the “deck” of 52 top level leaders in Saddam’s regime. Saddam has been hung as well as the rest of his close associates including “Chemical Ali” next to get the rope! So what’s the point?! It’s simply to establish bases and to sink “corporate” fangs into their oil reserves.

    Rest assured we need oil, but not at this price. The 500,000 million that’s been frittered away into the MIC’s pockets could have been spent on establishing alternative fuel outlets in all the gas stations in the U.S.; i.e., pure Ethanol, ethanol/gasoline, or even hydrogen fuel. Bushco has pissed away 500,000 million bucks for absolutely nothing except “cripped-out” vets and a cemetery load of “dead meat”, all for nothing! I’m sure the families of these deceased vets dont’ care for my language, but it’s a fact. You’ve been had, we’ve been had and the people’s of the world have been had! Enough is enough. I highly suggest that citizen patriots get off their dead asses and contact their elected reps and demand our extrication from this region of the world.

    If our leaders need a plan; then I’ll give you plan. Re-establish a no-fly zone. Station a force of about 20-50,000 Special Warfare troops in Kuwait. When munitions or other such contraband incursions are detected being moved into Iraq then take them out surgically and then remove ourselves from the country. We own the night! Oversee this area as if we are on the Starship Enterprise with a firm, minimal intervention directive! Let them evolve/devolve into the nation in which they wish to become. Quit meddling in Islamic, nationalistic affairs. We evidently don’t know what we are doing as demonstrated buy our failed incursions into these regions. America conducts itself as “village idiots’ when we deal with the Islamic paradigm.

    Contact your reps and demand that there’s a “sea-change” with our policies towards Iraq and the region.

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. Joe Lawrence

    Until the Democrats grow a pair and withdraw funding for the Iraq portion of “the war,” little will change, and our troops will keep dying and being maimed while following the orders of a complete fool being overridden by the utterly evil Dick Cheney.

    No amount of too-little-too-late posturing is going to matter to history.

    Joe Lawrence

  6. geyser

    Two more Republican Senators, prominent Senators, will not see their names on Bush’s Christmas list.
    Senators Voinovich and Lugar, joined Three other Senators, saying Bush’s strategy is not working therefore the troops should start coming home. Perhaps this will give the courage to other Republican Senators, having the same thoughts but, were afraid to stand up and say them, to now join the Five. There is always strength in numbers. Should the trend continue, having the Sixty votes to pass the Bill, bringing the troops home, without the fear of a Bush Veto.

    Taking One Day at a Time