We're on the Way Out
Speaking in the Senate chamber in a fifty minute speech, Lugar, a prominent GOP honcho-establishmentarian-type said: "In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved. Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term."
What are those interests? Lugar lists four: 1) Prevent creation of a safe haven for terrorists. 2) Prevent sectarian war from spilling out into the broader Middle East. 3) Prevent Iran's domination of the region. 4) Limit the loss of U.S. credibility through the region and the world as a result of a failed mission in Iraq.
Again, I ask, wouldn't it really have been better for Lugar to have thought about this is 2003?
More evidence that the war will be winding down can be gleaned from the military strategy being employed on the ground. With the expectation that Congress will soon enough implement timelines and draw down schedules, the "surge" strategy is now focused almost entirely on Al Qaeda rather than Shiite Muslim militias and death squads.
The change in strategy "reflects the belief of some senior officers in Iraq that the militias probably will reduce attacks once it becomes clear that a U.S. pullout is on the horizon. By contrast, they believe Al Qaeda in Iraq could be emboldened by a withdrawal plan and must be confronted before one is in place."