While our soldiers fight in the field, they can always depend on the politicians back home to watch their back—and look for an opportunity to stick a knife in it. In an ominous sign, these congressional advocates of defeat and surrender now include a growing number of "centrist" Republicans.
The most influential to join that list is Senator Richard Lugar, who has pronounced the "surge" a failure, even though it has only barely begun. Historically, this is bad news: we did not retreat from Vietnam until Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the war.
"Key GOP Senator Says Iraq Plan Is Not Working," AP via New York Times, June 27 Sen. Richard Lugar, a senior Republican and a reliable vote for President Bush on the war, said that Bush's Iraq strategy was not working and that the US should downsize the military's role.
The unusually blunt assessment Monday 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….
However, [Lugar spokesman Andy] Fisher said the speech does not mean Lugar would switch his vote on the war or embrace Democratic measures setting a deadline for troop withdrawals.