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Rep. Pallone on Senator Lugar

Posted on by Jesse Lee

Lugar: Iraq surge not working
Anne Flaherty, Associated Press – June 26, 2007

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

The unusually blunt assessment 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.

Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ-06) responds:

Rep. Pallone:
“Senator Lugar is just the latest to admit that the President’s plan is not working and that a new strategy is needed in Iraq. Last week General Petraeus himself said that we will not meet the target of seeing any positive results from the troop escalation plan by September. Now, Senator Lugar’s realistic assessment of the war in Iraq is commendable. But words are simply not enough. If Lugar is convinced the war in Iraq is no longer in our nation’s best interest, he must join us in finding an alternative that begins to bring our troops home.”

Full transcript:

Rep. Pallone: “Mr. Speaker, yesterday an influential Republican voice on foreign affairs admitted that the War in Iraq is doing more harm than good, and that, I quote, ‘our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond.’ Those are the words of Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana who went to the Senate floor last night to say that changes in strategy need to be made before September.

“Luger’s comments should be listened to very carefully by my Republican colleagues who continue to hold out hope that the President’s troop escalation strategy can work. Senator Lugar is just the latest to admit that the President’s plan is not working and that a new strategy is needed in Iraq. Last week General Petraeus himself said that we will not meet the target of seeing any positive results from the troop escalation plan by September. Now, Senator Lugar’s realistic assessment of the war in Iraq is commendable. But words are simply not enough. If Lugar is convinced the war in Iraq is no longer in our nation’s best interest, he must join us in finding an alternative that begins to bring our troops home.”

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