Richard Lugar and the Turning Point in the Iraq War

Noting there's little reason to wait until September 1 to re-evaluate the Bush surge strategy for Iraq, two Republican members of the U.S. Senate this week publicly came out for moving U.S. troops out of a direct combat role in Iraq.

Richard Lugar (R-IN): "The longer we delay the planning for a edeployment, the less likely it is to be successful."

George Voinovich R-OH): "We must not abandon our mission, but we must begin a transition where the Iraqi government and its neighbors play a larger role in stabilizing Iraq."
However, it's Lugar's change of mind that is most noteworthy. He's a highly regarded conservative Republican who has supported the Bush war effort from the beginning. His defection makes it much more likely that others will soon follow suit and that the Democrats with Republican defectors will pass troop withdrawal legislation.

How significant is what Lugar said? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), called it "brilliant" and "courageous." Reid went on to say that Lugar's words would be noted in the history books as a turning point in the war.

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