In an unannounced speech on the Senate floor Monday night, Sen. Richard G. Lugar Ind.), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. military escalation begun in the spring has "very limited" prospects for success. He called on Bush to begin reducing U.S. forces. "We don't owe the president our unquestioning agreement," Lugar said.
The harsh judgment from one of the Senate's most respected foreign-policy voices was a blow to White House efforts to boost flagging support for its war policy, and opened the door to defections by other Republicans who have supported the administration despite increasing private doubts.
Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to Bush yesterday urging the president to develop "a comprehensive plan for our country's gradual military disengagement" from Iraq. "I am also concerned that we are running out of time," he wrote.
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, praised Lugar's statement as "an important and sincere contribution" to the Iraq debate.