Lugar urges shift in Iraq
Indiana Republican Richard Lugar is one of the true voices of reason and wisdom in the U.S. Senate. All along, he has been a supporter of the Bush administration policy in Iraq, urging patience and determination. This week, however, he has changed his tune, and now is calling for a fundamental reorientation of the U.S. approach to rebuilding Iraq, and doing so urgently:
The longer we delay the planning for a redeployment, the less likely it is to be successful.
The president has an opportunity now to bring about a bipartisan foreign policy. ... I don't think he'll have that option very long. (SOURCE: Washington Post.)
I'm not convinced about the need to make such a major change right away, but I have no doubt that his general recommendation is appropriate. Making strategic decisions based on U.S. domestic political considerations is a little problematic, in my view. I was pleased, at least, that neither Lugar nor Sen. Voinovich (R-OH) will go along with the Democrats' call for a timetable for troop withdrawals. President Bush argues that the "surge" will start to pay off in the foreseeable future, and his adversaries say the surge has failed. Both are wrong. Truth be told, no one can say with any certainty what the consequences of the surge policy will be, because ultimately it all depends on political repercussions in Iraq that are largely beyond our control. This conflict is of a very long-term nature, and we should not worry too much about day-to-day signs of progress or failure.
Indeed, the Pentagon announced making plans earlier this month for a continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq in future years, though at a reduced level. One way or another, we are in Iraq for the long haul. The question is whether we are going to put further strain on our troops in a long-shot bid for some kind of military victory via Bush's surge policy, or scale back our military presence and let the Iraqis pick up more of the slack. Or not -- after all, it's up to them.
Battle in Baqubah
U.S. forces have launched a major offensive to root out insurgents in the Sunni stronghold of Baqubah, where Al Qaeda has established a base. "Operation Arrowhead Ripper" is one of the biggest offensives in recent years, made possible by the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq. Many terrorists have been killed, and a torture chamber was discovered, both encouraging signs of progress; see BBC and independent journalist Michael Yon.
No green card?
Army Specialist Alex R. Jimenez, one of the U.S. soldiers in Iraq who has been missing since May 12, had petitioned for a green card for his wife, Yaderlin, a citizen of the Dominican Republic whom he married in 2004. Because she illegally entered the United States in 2001, however, U.S. officials are holding up the application. Can you imagine the torment this wife of an American hero must be suffering? I'm all in favor of strict enforcment of immigration laws, but this strikes me as sheer bureaucratic stupidity. See CNN.com.