While Richard Lugar’s position on Iraq is being hailed as a sign that the formerly solid Republican ranks are breaking with the President, I have to wonder what possible impact will it have on the strategic goals of this administration? I say absolutely none. Bush may, for a split second, try to understand why Lugar is breaking ranks. But, ultimately, Bush will disregard Senator Lugar’s speech just as he has done to so many other influential people who have raised legitimate concerns over the course of this war. He will either ignore it completely or downplay the importance of it. He will opt for his own misguided interpretation of success and his destiny to remake the Middle East in a democratic image.
President Bush has shown time and time again that he has no intention of listening to anyone else other than the voices in his own head that keep telling him to “stay the course” because, as Bush himself says, “at the end of the day when I look in the mirror I have made a decision based on principle not politics.” He will simply look at the loss of Lugar’s support as one more stalwart gone. It will not make one whit’s worth of difference in guiding his Iraqi policy.
Senator Lugar’s lengthy speech before the Senate establishes only that he disagrees with the direction in which the President’s Iraqi policy is heading. Lugar says on one hand that:
“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.”
On the other hand he states:
“A total withdrawal from Iraq also fails to meet our security interests.”
What does Lugar want to see? Apparently, a sustainable military posture. Lugar believes that U.S. security interests call for a downsizing and re-deployment of U.S. military forces to more sustainable positions in Iraq or the Middle East. Isn’t this what Democrats have been saying for quite some time? And why on earth wait so long to take the critical step of speaking out?
The Warner-Lugar Amendment #2208 to H.R. 1585 (The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008) does nothing more than provide a recitation in paragraph form of the ongoing struggle in Iraq and suggestions for resolving the quagmire in which we now find ourselves. Warner and Lugar urge the president to adopt the findings of the Iraq Study Group headed by Lee Hamilton and James Baker – something that many others have urged as well.
And, because it now comes from Senator Lugar it somehow takes on a grandiose status? Sorry, I don’t buy it. Bush determined long ago what his policy would be in the Middle East. Senator Lugar may very well be a respected Senator who has now joined the growing ranks of those who have seen the folly of the ongoing war in Iraq, but his stature will have no impact on Bush’s Iraqi policy. Bush rushed headlong into a war for which he had no plan other than to dazzle the world with the “brilliant” shock and awe spectacle. Bush has never listened to the voice of reason during this entire fiasco, why would he begin do so now?Because the voice of reason is now Richard Lugar? I think not.