June 26th, 2007
05:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Voinovich calls for change of Iraq policy

Voinovich called for a change in Iraq policy Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Less than 24 hours after Indiana Republican Sen. Dick Lugar broke ranks with the president and urged a change of course in Iraq, fellow GOP Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio has followed suit.

In a letter to President Bush Tuesday, Voinovich writes, "We must begin to develop a comprehensive plan for our country’s gradual military disengagement from Iraq and a corresponding increase in responsibility to the Iraqi government and its regional neighbors."

"Though it may seem contradictory, I believe we can accomplish more in Iraq by gradually and responsibly reducing our forces and focusing on a robust strategy of international cooperation and coordinated foreign aid," he added.

Both Voinovich and Lugar are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and have, until now, supported the president's policy in Iraq.

In a speech on the Senate floor Monday night, Lugar said, "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 in the long term."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney 

Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. doc75, fairfax, va

    Yep, Senator, let's just admit that our current operations aren't working during the middle of Operation Arrowhead Ripper. Right when our troops are working their tails off to defeat the insurgents, you tell them that they have failed. Good work Voinovich and Lugar. Keep it up.

    June 26, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Robert Gray, Corona, CA

    The tribal wisdoms of the Dakota Indians says that 'when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount'.

    June 26, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. Paul New Jersey

    To doc75 in Fairfax, VA. You're misguided comments about telling troops they have failed in the midst of an operation are only political rhetoric that doesn't unjustify the overall premise of what these senators are saying. Yes, individual operations can see success but the overall condition of the country and the current situation cannot be helped by the military. You are the one doing harm to the troops by misleading them. By the way, although the operation you mentioned is targetting incoming insurgents, most of the destruction that occurs in Iraq today is the result of a home-grown sectarian civil war. You also fail to realize that no one credible, from either party, who serves in congress wants a full troop withdrawal and that they all support the mission of combatting incoming terrorists and other al-Qaeda terrorists who have already arrived in the country.

    June 26, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Tom Z, Deltona, FL

    Another good reason why Congress has an approval rating lower than the Commander-in-Chief.

    June 26, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. DrBud, Grass Valley, CA

    As a vet I agree with Lugar. The present administration has failed since day 1 to realize what is really going on over there. They were told BEFORE going over what to expect. They disregarded this 411 and now come up with the "plan of the day" as support fails. The Bush Kakistocracy is an embarassment.

    June 26, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Eddie, Los Angeles, CA

    "Call for a change of Iraq policy", didn't this issue already arise in Washington?

    The one policy Democrats had to return our brave men and woman home, was shut/voted down by the Republicans.

    June 26, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. Dan Chico/Sacramento CA

    Thank you Senator for finally waking up!
    As a veteran of Viet Nam I researched that war and Archimedes Paddi, Head of OSS in Asia states, Politicians who had not a clue as to what was happening in Asia put America in harms way. Now a similar bunch of politicians who don't have a clue as to why extreme Islam fights us. They don't have a clue as to what self-serving politicians and Presidents did to make this part of the world hate us. Bush is persona-non-grata in most parts of the world unless he is strongly protected by military and other security. He is a pariah. Those who would disparage those who oppose this war ought to start the study and research to find out why America is involved in the Middle East.
    Don't give me that c&$p that its because of terrorism. Terrorism has increased dramatically while bush is in power! Look at the results of American foreign policy in Cuba before Castro, Look at American foreign policy toward Chili before the assassination of Allende. Look at foreign policy that concerns itself with American multinational corporations rather than countries or their citizens. Bolivia kicked out Bectal because it was going to develop a water system that would cost poor citizens money they didn't have and enrich Bectal's pockets.
    Only 30% of Americans support this war and only 28% support Bush as of today. If one is continuing to be injured by a machine it would seem prudent to get away from the machine. This administration continues to blunder, mismanage, violate the Constitution, protect unqualified members of his staff and many other mistakes. When are Americans, through their representitives, going to say ENOUGH and impeach and convict both Chaney and Bush!

    June 26, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. john b ,hillsborough nj

    Senator Voinovich should be lauded for taking a courageous stand. The purpose here is to seek a political solution and that will put an end to the killing of American troups. We have given enough – and our leaders have had more than enough time to make this work. There is a real issue of competency here – and the hopefully the words of Lugar and Voinovich will open up the type of thoughtful discussion – that will set us on a path towards a political solution. This is not our war to fight – and our very presence only makes the situation worse.

    June 26, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. R M Gopal. Storrs, CT

    Hi Doc,

    What are you doing here? Should you not be in Baghdad fighting evil so that our illustrious President can show his dad how a real man leads?

    June 26, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. Mike, Pasadena California

    It is long past time we seek our long-term goals in the middle east by sound political strategies rather than military occupation. It has never worked for more than the short term, as evidenced in Iran and Afghanistan over decades, and in the end inevitably accomplishes the opposite of our goals, which are security and economic stability.

    Dick Lugar and George Voinavitch... can Laura and Barney be too far behind?

    June 26, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. John Alamogordo New Mexico

    finally they start to feel the heat and see the light. the first comment of course with the absurd reasoning that to question the war policy is to hate the troops. as a vet I say quit breaking my precious Army. this draft dodging president and his puppetmaster Cheney should send their own kids to do this war if it is that good an idea.

    June 26, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  12. David Davis, Fullerton, California

    Are you implying that our troops have been sitting on their tail for the past 5 years ? Troops do as their told, it would be more fair to say that policy is the fundamental problem. Our troops would love to come home if given that individual choice.

    June 26, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  13. MikeG


    Your assesment reaks of anti-troop paranoia. Everyone supports the troops, they have not failed. What has failed is the policy of a mental midget President.

    June 26, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  14. USMC- O-4

    Amen, it is about time. More republicans must follow suit. The messy situations in both Iraq and the USA are no longer political situations. They are conditions, which beg for pragmatic common sense and intuitive foresight. It is time to try a different method, Mr. President. You may be the "decider," but WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, must pay for your decisions-both financially and in loss of our beloved Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen. As for those who suggest that candid discussion of the inept leadership dragging this "Iraq Action" along, I say simply sit down and have conversations with those on active duty. Their sentiments are most apt to match those of their fellow Americans.

    Semper Fi

    June 26, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  15. leesan, ltcol usmc ret. raleigh, nc

    Once again, a muddled thought process has concluded that the senators are insulting our troops and their effort. That is not the case. The troops are working their tails off and have been since the first shots were fired. But they were placed in a terrible situation by an unthinking administration that has never thought out its actions and decisions any further than, "Hey this will be quick and make me look tough and we can always throw more money and people at it". But the effort was lacking leadership at the top and when it started falling apart, the leaders pointed at the media as though they were the cause. But the media didn't run the war. This inept administration is responsible. That is what the people are realizing now and its about four years too late.

    June 26, 2007 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  16. Colin Elliott, Eugene, OR

    The increase in opposition on the GOP side can be at least mildly attributed to GOP Presidential Candidate Ron Paul's reasoned arguments against the war from a conservative point of view.

    June 26, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  17. Erem, East Palo Alto, CA

    This turnaround doesn't accuse the troops of failure in execution, but identifies the leadership's failure in strategy. It says "You guys on the ground have aced every job assigned to you, but we think your boss is assigning you the wrong jobs." The men and women on the ground have put their lives on the line; they deserve to know that people who care are holding boss accountable. They deserve that all their tasks be crucial to the country they love, that no task be trivial or a waste of heroes' blood.

    June 26, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  18. barbara goose creek, sc

    our military might is not failing. these brave men and women are doing everything they possibly can to show that democracy and freedom are worth dying for. unfortunately, the iraqi people have never known democracy or freedom and are not sure that they want to change the way things have been done for hundreds and hundreds of years. if we want to change the political ideology there , we must change the religious ideology and that, my friend, isnt going to happen. i have to lay the blame at our administrations feet and remind them that acting impulsively is never a good thing. our soldiers are dying because we were to quick to jump into a war that should never have been. now we are stuck. i agree that we need to pull out but not because our soldiers are failing us but because our government already did.

    June 26, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  19. Horseman Tulsa, Oklahoma

    The "surge" is not succeeding, we're indiscriminatedly droping 500 LB bombs over civilian neighborhoods with the excuse that "reliable sources and intell" say we should.(Probably the same sources and intell that got us in this mess to begin with).Does Vietnam ring the bell?? Anybody..?? And everybody sits on their behinds waiting to see when public opinion finally turns against this so called war, while young american kids continue to get killed daily. The "polls" shouldn't ask who still supports the occupation and who doesn't, instead they should ask "how many more lives will it take" to finally get the courage to say .."ENOUGH". They should take a poll and ask "how many will want to see Mr. Bush wearing again the uniform he wore during the carrier-landing joke, and head to the front lines to get a taste of the mess that has his signature". Bet the numbers would be HUGE. That american patience is running thin...because the Iraquis are not doing enough..?? At this stage I doubt anybody can do enough to fix the mess created by the unilateral and arbitrary US occupation and invasion, with the naive and cowboy believe that going in to the heart of the Islamic world...and transplanting democracy with an army would be a walk on the beach. Close to 3600 american lives have been lost while walking on that sand...pursuing a mad and illconceived policy. It's time to wake up....accept that we screwed up...show some humility and perhaps we'll be able to get the help that we urgently need to repair the damage.

    June 26, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  20. erika morgan black dimond wa

    After so much effort misguided it is difficult to change. But the fatal flaw of the US is to where blinders as to the actual situations faced by other peoples and cultures. We listen to ex-pats, who make poor informants, as they made the decision they could not live with and understand to status in their homelands, that is the reason they leave. The Image of Sadam trying to control rabid raging pit bulls certainly seems to fit well, to bad we can't get him back.

    June 26, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  21. Anthony, Los Angeles, CA

    It takes a stronger man to change his mind and to learn from his mistakes than to be stubborn in the face of failure. Congratulations on not being as arrogant as the president who believes that being 'right'is more important than the lives of our troops.

    June 26, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. Zavaan Johnson, Xenia, Ohio

    I am proud of my senator (Senator Voinovich) for his courageous stance. When will my president see the light?

    June 26, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  23. VMD Marlton, New Jersey

    The senators comments are long overdue. COngratulations for standing up to a failed policy and a failed President. If the Republicans have any chance in 2008, now is the time to make the much needed break.

    June 26, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  24. PhDDude, Mobile, AL

    Politicians should not concern themselves with the feelings of the troops when making foreign policy decisions. Our troops will deal with whatever decisions are made–that's what they do. What we need now is objectivity and rationality. It finally seems that some Republicans (and Democrats) are realizing this.

    June 26, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  25. Tim, El Cerrito CA

    Come on....staying is failing. Allowing more and more people to die is failing. Spending billions more dollars is failing. Facing reality and being able to try something different now that's what I call smart. When you do something that's not working the best thing to do is to try something different until you find something that does.

    June 26, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
1 2 3