Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Senator Richard Lugar's Statement

Has this generation's J. William Fulbright finally stood up?

J. William Fulbright was an eclectic and free-thinking southern Democrat. He was a staunch segregationist at the same time he was a multilateralist. He supported the creation of the United Nations, opposed the House Un-American Activities Committee and was an outspoken critic of the organized pro-Israel lobby in the US. He is also remembered for his efforts to establish an international exchange program, which thereafter bore his name, the Fulbright Fellowships. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, he opposed Lyndon Johnson's intervention in the Vietnamese civil war from 1966-1974. As a member of the president's own party, his breaking ranks with LBJ over the Vietnam War was one of the decisive factors in Johnson's retiring as a discouraged wartime president after his first term of office.

Yesterday, the current ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Richard Lugar, became a potentially equally portentious dissenting member of the president's own party, when he addressed the Senate:
I rise today to offer observations on the continuing involvement of the United States in Iraq. In my judgment, 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. The prospects that the current “surge” strategy will succeed in the way originally envisioned by the President are very limited within the short period framed by our own domestic political debate. And the strident, polarized nature of that debate increases the risk that our involvement in Iraq will end in a poorly planned withdrawal that undercuts our vital interests in the Middle East. Unless we recalibrate our strategy in Iraq to fit our domestic political conditions and the broader needs of U.S. national security, we risk foreign policy failures that could greatly diminish our influence in the region and the world.

In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved. Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.

. . . . three factors – the political fragmentation in Iraq, the growing stress on our military, and the constraints of our own domestic political process -- are converging to make it almost impossible for the United States to engineer a stable, multi-sectarian government in Iraq in a reasonable time frame.

. . . . it is very doubtful that the leaders of Iraqi factions are capable of implementing a political settlement in the short run. I see 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 second factor working against our ability to engineer a stable government in Iraq is the fatigue of our military. 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. . . . . American armed forces are incredibly resilient, but Iraq is taking a toll on recruitment and readiness.

. . . . The President and some of his advisors may be tempted to pursue the surge strategy to the end of his administration, but such a course contains extreme risks for U.S. national security.

. . . . In my judgment, the current surge strategy is not an effective means of protecting these interests. Its prospects for success are too dependent on the actions of others who do not share our agenda. It relies on military power to achieve goals that it cannot achieve.

. . . . Our security interests call for a downsizing and re-deployment of U.S. military forces to more sustainable positions in Iraq or the Middle East.

. . . . Our struggles in Iraq have placed U.S. foreign policy on a defensive footing and drawn resources from other national security endeavors, including Afghanistan.
Senator Lugar also said that America owes the President "constructive engagement".

We do not. We have given that in full. It is Bush, by lying and misleading America into this historically unprecedented cluster-blunder in Iraq,
who owes America his apology and resignation.

23 Moderated Comments:

Blogger DB Cooper said...

First Chuck Hagel? Now Richard Lugar? Who's next? John Warner?

6/26/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Trig said...

Vigilante is on a bipartisan kick this week.

6/26/2007 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Vigil,

I applaud Hagel and Lugar, but deplore the fact that they are not calling for Bush's prosecution/resignation (ruthfully, probably too much to be expected of any Republican).

Bush and Cheney have inflicted permanent damage upon our beloved country, all in the name of partisan political gain (attempting to transform our Republic into a theocracy, while piously pronouncing their commitment to the virtues of "Democracy") and simultaneously working to enrich their corporate friends and themselves at the expense of middle-class Americans. Truly, as it has been said, America has been attacked twice on her own soil: first, by the Supreme's selection of this corrupt Republican administration to inhabit the White House, and secondly by the tragic attack of 9-11.

We need more Republicans to speak up against the disastrous policies of Rove, Cheney, and Bush.

6/26/2007 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

Lugar has been a war lover from the start. He may turn out like John Warner on the non binding resolution against the war.

Warner voted against the resolution after saying similar things as Lugar.

Lugar hasn't gotten his call from the White House to tell him how to think.

6/26/2007 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

I dont trust Lugar he used to be on talk shows defending the war

6/26/2007 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

I do think people, even Senators, are allowed to review the facts and change their minds.

More will follow..... by September you'll see the majority of Senators singing in three part harmony. But impeachement and prosecution are not in the cards for this combat weary congress.

the Wizard....

6/26/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/26/2007 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Wizard is right on both counts, more will be following as the situation in Iraq falls apart even more. My only question is how many honestly have changed their minds seeing that this war was a lie from the start and incompletely ran by criminals and how many are just rats leaving a sinking ship with the typhoon of the 2008 election drawing near?

6/26/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

They are not leaving Iraq.
That is not in the plan.
The plan is to control the country with our military.
They want to draw down to 40.000 in a few years.
You people are dreaming.

Iraq is a staging area to make the 'New Jerusalem'
All those bastards believe in that.
The NeoCons and the Born Agains.

Expect chaos.

6/26/2007 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

I agree with Larry. I can't decide whether Vigilante is bending over backwards to be bipartisan, or bending over forwards, which is worse. Either way, he's being prematurely exclamatory as far as these Republicans getting 'religion' in the hour before midnight in the Bush administration. They will revert to their robotic form when summer turns to fall.

6/26/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Indicted Plagiarist said...

Ohio Sen. George Voinovich sent a letter to the president today, stressing the need for a "comprehensive plan for our country's gradual military disengagement from Iraq."

6/26/2007 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Boris, how many of these suddenly 'religious' GOP Senators are up for re-election in 2008?

6/26/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

The Council for a Livable World has the 2008 Senate tournament up. The good news is that twice as many GOP terms are ending as Democratic. Voinovich's and Lugar's seats are not among them. But Chuck Hagel and John Warner will have to run hard to retain their seats. Warner may face popular ex-governor Mark Warner. A long time to wait, perhaps, but revenge is a meal best served cold.

6/26/2007 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

Warner will definitely catch religion before much longer.

6/26/2007 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Blogging4Food said...

Mad Mike, by disclosing that he has a hard time with word verification is also disclosing he is a two-finger typist.

6/26/2007 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

I have to point out that Lugar becoming a second Fulbright is really quite a rhetorical stretch. JWF's shoes are much too substantial to be filled by these sycophants. Hagel's dissent is closer to Fulbright's out-spokenness.

6/26/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Suzie-Q said...

Let's hope more Republicans join the call to end the war.

6/26/2007 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

Okay, so another Senator has made the obligatory face-saving speech.

[Clap. Clap.]

We now return to our regular programming:

War without end.

6/26/2007 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/27/2007 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/27/2007 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

COMMENT MODERATION: Two comments above were scrubbed on account of their redundancy, excessive length and lack of materiality.

6/27/2007 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

COMMENT MODERATION: Two comments above were scrubbed on account of their redundancy, excessive length and lack of materiality.

Go fuck yourself Vigilante.

I am tired of your sponsoring a bunch of Political retards.

6/27/2007 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

The rats are gradually and slowly (agonizingly) leaving Bush's Titantic. Conservative Californian Rep. John Doolittle, called the situation in Iraq a "quagmire" on Thursday.

"We've got to get off the front lines as soon as possible. And in my mind that means something like the end of the year. We just can't continue to tolerate these kinds of losses. . . . I don't want to keep having our people dying on the front lines. I am increasingly convinced that we never are going to succeed in actually ending people dying (in Iraq). I think it's going to be a constant conflict ... and if that is going to happen ... it needs to be the Iraqis dying and not the Americans. . . . . My belief is that the majority of my colleagues on the Republican side have become skeptical of all of this. And that's a big change. . . . is something different than we believed it to be. And we're gravely at risk by constantly having our troops exposed."

Doolittle followed Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) who earlier in the day said, "I am unwilling to continue our current strategy."

Editor & Publisher

7/06/2007 08:03:00 AM  

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