Bush feels pressure over Iraq war
It was not a cheap shot from political opponents, but rather a shockingly frank assessment from a close ally.
“The United States has violated some basic national security precepts during our military engagement in Iraq. We have overestimated what the military can achieve, we have set goals that are unrealistic, and we have inadequately factored in the broader regional consequences of our actions,” said Senator Richard Lugar.
Senator Lugar’s address to Congress sparked a political climate change in Washington and a meltdown in Republican support for the Iraq policy. It caught the White House off-guard.
A National security adviser was sent to the senator as part of a damage-limitation operation.
But the political fall-out is gaining momentum.
“When this war comes to an end, I believe that Senator Lugar's words could be remembered as the turning point in this intractable civil war in Iraq,” Senator Harry Reid says.
Republican Senator George V. Voinovich, also a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, sent a follow-up letter to the President. He called on the Commander-in-Chief to develop a military exit plan from Iraq, and the sooner the better.
Senator Lugar may not be dismissed as a defeatist peacenik. When he talks, the White House listens.
“We take seriously his point of view because he is a serious guy,” explains Tony Snow, White House Spokesperson.
Generally politicians are trusted less than Generals or even second-hand car dealers. Senator Lugar is an exception: his integrity & credibility are sky-high. Lugar is famous for being the only Republican senator to win his sixth re-election bid without any challenge from the Democrats.
The senator’s situation analysis in Iraq absolves General Petraeus from his mission impossible and renders the commander’s September assessment report irrelevant.
The White House has run out of time, troops and funding to sustain a surge that has failed to be a military substitution for a political solution.
It seems the Republican urge for military surge has run out of steam.
“Senator Lugar's comments, and those of the handful of other Republicans who share his view, takes real courage and courage is the only way we will change course in Iraq,” Senator Harry Reid believes.
Welcome back to the diplomatic charm offensive, courtesy of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group!