Warner joins Lugar to oppose Bush’s war

Two top Republicans cast aside President Bush’s pleas for patience on Iraq Friday and proposed legislation demanding a new strategy by mid-October to restrict the mission of U.S. troops.

The proposal, by veteran GOP Sens. John Warner of Virginia and Richard Lugar of Indiana, came as the Pentagon conceded that a decreasing number of Iraqi battalions are able to operate on their own.

“American military and diplomatic strategy in Iraq must adjust to the reality that sectarian factionalism is not likely to abate anytime soon and probably cannot be controlled from the top,” the Warner-Lugar proposal states.

Democrats and the White House were dismissive of the proposal. However, it could attract significant support from GOP colleagues who are frustrated by Iraq but reluctant to break ranks with their party or force the hand of a wartime president.

The two senators are considered the GOP’s foremost national security experts. Warner was the longtime chairman of the Armed Services Committee until stepping down last year, while Lugar is the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

The legislation also draws heavily from existing GOP-backed proposals, increasing the chances of attracting support.

It would require Bush to submit by Oct. 16 a plan to “transition U.S. combat forces from policing the civil strife or sectarian violence in Iraq” to a narrow set of missions: protecting Iraqi borders, targeting terrorists, protecting U.S. assets and training Iraqi forces.

The bill suggests the plan be ready for implementation by next year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid balked at the proposal because it would not require Bush to implement the strategy. He said he prefers legislation the Senate will vote on next week that would order combat troops to be out of Iraq by next spring.

Warner and Lugar “put a lot of faith in the president — that he will voluntarily change course and voluntarily begin to reduce the large U.S. combat footprint in Iraq,” said Reid spokesman Jim Manley in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, Reid dismissed as too soft a separate proposal supported by several Republicans and Democrats that would require Bush to adopt the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, intended to pave the way for a 2008 withdrawal.

“If you give this president a choice, he will stay hunkered down in Iraq for years to come,” Reid, D-Nev., said.

Bush spokesman Tony Fratto said the White House would review the Warner-Lugar measure. “But we believe the new way forward strategy — which became fully operational less than a month ago — deserves the time to succeed,” he said.

In addition to requiring a new military strategy, the legislation calls on Bush to seek renewed authorization for the war, which Congress gave him in 2002. Many members contend that the authorization — which led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 — was limited to approval of deposing Saddam Hussein and searching for weapons of mass destruction.

Through top aides and in private meetings and phone calls, Bush has repeatedly asked Congress to hold off on demanding a change in the course of the war until September, when the top U.S. commander, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, deliver a fresh assessment of progress.

But many Republicans, most of whom will face voters next year, say they are tired of the war, which is in its fifth year and has killed more than 3,600 troops.

In a report to Congress this week, the White House conceded that not enough progress was being made in training Iraqi security forces — the linchpin in Bush’s exit strategy for U.S. troops.

At a news conference Friday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said the number of battle-ready Iraqi battalions able to fight independently has dropped from 10 to six in recent months despite an increase in U.S. training efforts.

Pace said the readiness of the Iraqi fighting units was not an issue to be “overly concerned” about because the problem was partly attributable to losses in the field.

“As units operate in the field, they have casualties, they consume vehicles and equipment,” Pace said.

In another development Friday, Bush’s top spokesman appeared resigned to the fact that the Iraqi parliament is going to take August off, even though it has just eight weeks to show progress on military, political and other benchmarks designated by the United States.

However, Tony Snow said, “Let’s also see what happens because quite often when parliaments do not meet, they are also continuing meetings on the side. And there will be progress, I’m sure on a number of fronts.”

The Warner-Lugar proposal is the first major legislative challenge to Bush’s Iraq policy endorsed by the two senators. Lugar and Warner have previously expressed grave doubts about Bush’s decision to send 30,000 extra troops to Iraq. But both remain reluctant to back binding legislation that would manage deployments.

“I have great respect for the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches and the authorities granted to each in that document,” Warner said in a statement Friday.


Associated Press Writers Pauline Jelinek, Lolita C. Baldor and Jennifer Loven contributed to this report.


  1. bryan mcclellan

    How can these fools justify putting a band aid on a gangrenous wound,and when will they recognize that smirkush the wanna be king is going to squat where he’s at until they blast him off the toilet he has turned his presidency into? The last two paragraphs illustrate that they’ve never gotten out of bed with the W.H. and have taken to using rovian tactics to deflect criticism.Grave doubts,remain reluctant, I have great respect for the separation of powers,major legislative challenge, what a pile of crap.And when did fixed(fox)news plant, snowjob become an expert on anything other than playing fast and loose with the facts? He appeared resigned to the fact it’s vacation time for the Iraqi parliament,are we really expected to swallow the idea that the world moves when he parrots der smirken furhrers line of poo doo? I just lost twenty pounds from both ends. Oh how I wish I could shovel it back onto the press room podium…….

  2. SEAL

    The proposed plan should be no problem for the turks because the kurds, sunnis, and shiites would be Iraqi states, not independent governments. They would establish the laws and provide security within their own borders but all be tied to the central Iraq government that would be equally representative, represent the nation to the rest of the world, be a neutral zone in Bagdad for commerce, snd control the distribution of the oil wealth among the states based on population. Each state would elect its own representatives for the central government. That’s where all the arguments will take place.

    The kurds would not be able to expand their borders and, therefore, be no threat to Turkey. However, they would have to accept that there would be some defections to the new Kurdish state.

    I doubt it could be established at this late date, however. It should have been done in the beginning. Bush would never go for it anyway. He is going down in flames, only by force when enough repugnat senators desert him, defiant to the bitter end. But he won’t actually lose because we are going to keep a large force in Iraq forever regardless of who is in charge. We have invested too much. We want those permanent bases and that super embassy in the middle of the terroist world. And, of course, there is the Iraqi government and the oil deal to protect. That we will probably lose. All we will do is reduce our forces, stop attacking the insurgents, and let them work it out for themselves. I expect the winners will form a new government. Hostile to us, of course. So there we will sit, a constant irritant to the muslim world to feed the terrorist factions.

  3. SEAL

    The most ridiculous thing to me is the goals they set can’t be met. There is no way in hell there will be an Iraqi army or police force that is bipartisan. The religious and ideological divde that exists will continue forever and the shiites and kurds are going to get even with the sunnis for decades of murderous abuse. THERE CAN BE NO BIPARTISAN GOVERNMENT IN IRAQ. Give it up and divide the country into three separate states linked to a limited central government just as Biden has proposed. That is the only way to reduce the violence to something manageable where a person would have to cross a border to get someone they wanted to kill. And the al Queda foreigners would stick out like a sore thumb to be eradicated. That eliminates the crap they spew about Iraq being a terrorist training ground if we pull out.

    This is the only solution that will work.

  4. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Turkey has stated it will not tolerate a Kurdish Government in northern Iraq if Iraq is divided into three partitions, so no matter what happens it will be problematic.

    The idea that is coming from both Dems & Republikans that there can be a limited presence by American troops to protect the McSuper Embassy and permanent US military bases is also a fantasy when there will be no stable Iraqi security force to maintain order. This proposed reduced number of US forces remaining in Iraq would put them in precipitous danger from an Iraqi government in total anarchy.

    I just hope the American public does not fall for Bush’s ‘If we don’t stop them here, they’ll follow us over here’ gag. The US public has got to believe getting our troops out of Iraq would deny targets by Iran in its proxy war against our troops.

  5. gene

    “President’s Bush pleas for patience” the article above says. I’ve been begging my wife for the same thing for 30 years to no avail. But hell, at least my request has been reasonable.

    Never and I mean NEVER!!! could someone have described what is happening before our very eyes and expect me to believe it could or would happen in my life time. Kind of like me asking my wife to be patient with (me)… just want happen as long as I’m alive.

    This nation/world has change so drastically over the past several decades and much of it is so destructive that (for me at least) seeing a future for young individuals is becoming extremely hard, at least a future where honesty, values, morals, and yes (love) exsist. Lies, greed, self-interest and no concern (at all) for others are now the prevalent culture attitudes of many (to dam many).

    Sounds much like the last days described in a particular book.

  6. Sandra Price

    Carl, I feel you might be correct with your distrust of the GOP. Their agenda includes the whole world. In my opinion, it started after WW2 and Goldwater saw it and worked to separate the federal government from the individual states. He was unable to limit the federal government and strengthen the 10th Amendment and all of us are now under the thumb of D.C. He was the right way for the GOP to go but the one world order Republicans refused to understand.

    My fear is that the Democrats will join this concept and our individual freedoms will need to be legislated instead of being natural rights and therefore can be denied at the whim of the government.

    We seem to be standing in line waiting for Big Daddy. Can we actually trust the Democrats at this time?

  7. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Sandra Price for your input concerning my commentary. The Republicans are the flagship party for big businessmen; i.e, the MIC, the “oil patch”, banking, retailing, gaming, the service sector etc.

    The Democrats in long times past were construed to be the workingman’s party, but that’s long since changed. With the emergence of Blue Dog democrats that are basically partyless pols with a personal agenda who play both sides of the aisle for their personal gain to Yellow Dog Dems who are most easily bought off by the Republican party controllers;i.e, “the money people”, we have no chance.

    I can unequivocally state with full confidence that there is no two-party system in the U.S. at this time. They are “republicrats” plain and simple marching to the drumbeat of the same corporatist, MIC/NWO/AIPAC masters.

    If you study campaign contributions you’ll find out quickly that major and minor corporations etc. will donate “equal” amounts to both parties the message is they don’t care who’s sitting in the White House, but they expect something in return for their patronage.

    Notice too that modern primary and main election outcomes seem to be measured in terms of which candidate has raised the most bucks. These massive amounts of money aren’t coming from “we the people” per se, but very wealthy patrons who own and control most of these aforementioned business sectors.

    America now AmeriKa for the most part has turned into an evil caricature of what the founding fathers had intended for “we the people”.

    “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

    Abraham Lincoln 1809 – 1865
    Amen Abe…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. Carl Nemo

    It’s possibly a “bait and switch” routine on Warner and Lugar’s part?! I simply don’t trust Republicans, plain and simple. Their 60 year track record post WWII is abysmal to say the least. Warner is a right-wing hawk, and Lugar is supposedly a centrist, but again they’ve supported this offensive incursion based on “cooked intelligence” courtesy of the Wolfowitz-Feith-Cheney rogue intelligence pipeline for a long time. You’d think most responsible pols would have said “ouch” once they realized they’d been had by “cooked” intelligence concerning WMD’s etc. Instead they morphed their committment to please the Bushista, NWO/AIPAC agenda. Key Senators and Congressmen probably knew from the beginning what was to unfold.

    We accomplished our mission! No WMD’s were discovered. The top 52 Iraqi badguys and one gal were rounded up with the top perps being executed. Guess what most of the others have been released back to their Middle East “tank”…?!

    After that point we should have exited their country regardless of how smooth things were running or not; but no, the intention is to steal their oil for the benefit of the planetary “oil oligarchs” and to implace expansionist MIC bases in their country in order to establish a solid military presence in the region post our exit from Saudi Arabia. In other words “we the people” will have to pay the freight for a very expensive buffer zone between Israel and Iran. Israel is sitting on at least 100 state-of-the art thermonuclear hydrogen weapons and they are afraid of Iran may develop one crude fission device in 3-5 years…?! In truth they have no fear of Iran, but there’s alot of money to made out of this ongoing “fear-based” debacle.

    In summation I simply don’t trust Republicans at this point. If they start talking about a summary withdrawal with a minimal military involvement in Iraq, other than to “win the peace” and to help them rebuild then I still say they are nothing but “running dogs” for the MIC/AIPAC cabal and have plans to continue to bleed the American people white as they are doing so now…!

    Carl Nemo **==