Respected Republican Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana may be at the forefront of a shift in Republican strategy. During yesterday’s speech on the Senate floor, Lugar urged President Bush to change course in Iraq. Rather than strengthening our military position throughout the world, he counseled his fellow Senators, our ineffective policy in Iraq is actually doing the opposite:
“‘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,” he said. (Watch Lugar ask President Bush to change course on Iraq )'”
Referring to the idea of giving the surge a chance, Lugar warned:
“‘The costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved,” Lugar said. “Persisting indefinitely with the ‘surge’ strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests in the long term.'”
There comes a point when, no matter what side you’re on, you can see that something just is not working. And will never work. President Bush says we won’t “cut and run” and instead we’ll stay “until the job is done.” But what would “done” look like? As long as we’re there, the fighting will never stop – nor will terrorism.
People like candidate Rudy Giuliani say we have to fight the enemy there so we don’t have to fight them here. It’s a bogus argument. There is no one central core of terrorism any more – thanks in part to our actions. There are enough different growing outposts of terrorism throughout the world to negate that as an effective policy. In fact, to expand on what Lugar says, the longer we stay mired in Iraq, the less resources we have to fight terrorism in a way that better leverages our talents and resources.
While Lugar is not calling for a an all-out pullout, he does warn we have to rethink our strategy. Senator Lugar is so right. We have nothing to gain any more by pretending we can “win” – at least not the way we’re going about things at the moment. And I hope Dick Lugar is the growing voice of the Republican Party, at last unafraid to step forward and say “The Emperor has no plan.”