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. Sleepywoe, Royal Oak, MI

    I can't believe that so many people don't get it...no one is blaming the troops. They have performed amazingly...I know. I was there. What people are saying is the people who are making the policy and telling the troops what to do are making the mistakes. Those who think otherwise are incredibly short-sighted. If you threw 100 troops at an enemy of 1000 troops, would you blame the soldiers you sent in when they are defeated? No, you would blame the idiot who sent them in. Wake up.

    June 26, 2007 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  2. sonofmulligan, Norfolk, VA

    doc75 of Fairfax misses the mark the same way so many others do. The troops are a means to an end, specifically pursuit of U.S. foreign policy. When honest debate is shouted down as disloyalty to the troops, they become the end and foreign policy the means. While I understand that this angle has become an accepted part of our national conversation on Iraq, I continue to believe it has no merit. On the off chance that I'm the one who has it backward, however, I will also note that I recall having heard none of the the loyalty-to-the-troops discussion prior to the decision to invade Iraq.

    June 26, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    It must be those liberal democrats or the liberal media conspriarcy at CNN again! Who knew now Republicans are calling for troop withdraws.

    June 26, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  4. AF, Cleveland, OH

    They have not failed. The senators have not said that. The *policy* is failing. How about, we understand they are working their tails off, and we are not going to leave them hanging. How about, we recognize and respect the difficulty of the situation, and want to work to improve it. Tell me, what good does your sarcasm do? and, Why can't people recognize the difference between the troops themselves and the administration responsible for the policy that put them over there? There can be disagreement with one and *not* the other.

    June 26, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  5. John, Memphis TN

    pretending that talk of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq is some how disparaging to the troops is ludicrous.

    our armed forces are doing their best in a horribly planned police action.

    bringing them home is the greatest show of support for them possibly.

    June 27, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. David, La Jolla California

    The lives of our troops and their familes are precious and invaluable. The Iraqi government has not, is not and might never be able to function. These Republican Senators finally have stood up and spoke the truth. George Bush has used his best judgement and created this situation. It is sad.

    June 27, 2007 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  7. Anonymous

    finally a rupublican who can see that using the unemployed young men of the generation as canon fodder should not continue....

    June 27, 2007 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  8. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    OK doc ... let's just keep paying AMERICAN lives into a yet ANOTHER failed policy decision and babysit Iraqis with MORE blank checks rather than TELL THE TRUTH. Be patriotic ... pretend everything's OK. Be Patriotic ... LIE! Be patriotic ... substitute blind allegiance for critical thinking and common sense! How dare people on the ground here the truth about their commander in chief's stubborn idiocy!

    June 27, 2007 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  9. Allen Carr , Seattle, WA

    Let our troops do the job. Presently they are defending themselves. Let them attack – bomb every section of Iraq to ashes where they are attacked. Once the people of Iraq recognize that we mean business they will stop supporting insurgents and other enemies of the US. I recognize there will be deaths of civilians but that always happens during a conflict. Did not thosands of Japanese die during the war when we bombed Hisoshima and Nagasaki? It sure ended the war. We should go on the offensive against sections of Iraq that are not friendly to us. Give them a warning and then folow with it. In the final analysis there will be less US and Iraqi casualties and our troops will come back home sooner.

    June 27, 2007 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  10. Rob

    The Iraq war is costing lives for American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. They have their freedom after the so called "war is over" after the defeat of Saddam. He is now dead and his other government ministers. There are many options like transferring the peace restoration to UN peacekeepers and Iraqi governement or form a multi etnic government. Iraq is rich in oil and use its revenues to help Iraqis themselves and not for terrorist. The withdrawal of American soldiers is not a defeat , only giving back the sovereignty and independence to Iraqis so they can live in peace and freedom.Mr. Bush , please consider the options. Military option is not always solution to bring peace .

    June 27, 2007 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  11. KMB, Baton Rouge, LA

    Yep, senator, get them out of there before more die for a cause that 2/3 of america disagrees with. We need to support our troops by bringing them home, and providing them with adequate health care.

    June 27, 2007 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  12. Brian Bridges, Wiesbaden, Germany

    Our troops have been "working their tails off," fighting, killing and dying that is, for over four years now. Maybe you missed the point...? Are you suggesting we "admit" our operations aren't working later after more people are dead?

    June 27, 2007 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  13. Mike, Gilbert, AZ

    These two senators just came out and said something that anybody with common sense already know, that the war in Iraq is a disaster, is no longer winnable, and it's time to draft a exit plan. The administration has failed to plan to win the war, now they must plan to end the war.

    June 27, 2007 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  14. Max, Seattle, WA

    Republicans are the true flip-floppers. The mess into which Iraq has slid was completely foreseeable and had been predicted by numerous experts already before the war started. Nonetheless, ignorant GOP adherents have felt arrogant enough to ridicule opponents to the war with impunity for the past years and to label them as "unpatriotic." Only now that the situation has turned more dire than ever and that it has become politically opportune even for Republicans to distance themselves from Bush, these politicians (and the Republican voters) "suddenly" change their publicly expressed views (see the poll results reported by CNN today). Why did they not speak out long ago against this terribly misguided, dishonest, and immoral war that the Bush Administration is responsible for?

    June 27, 2007 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  15. Melvin Culp, Honolulu, Hawaii

    I commend you on your political courage in joining with those already calling for an end to this misguided debacle. More would join you if they weren't pandering to their base. However, your idea of a slow withdrawl would have devastating results for our troops. Only if the Iraq Forces were ready to assume control would our troops be safe in that type of withdrawl. It isn't going to happen. Iraq will futher devolve into chaos and further destablize the entire region, there's nothing we can do about that. President Bush has opened this "Pandora's Box", as though he were a child playing with a toy, just to see what was in there. Well now we know. The only solution always has been and remains to pull our troops out of there as quickly as we can put them on planes and pull them out. I know it may be more polically safe to keep issue unresolved, however, for my money, your polical career, the President's polical legacy and the combined politial future of the whole of Congress isn't worth a life of a single American man or woman and we continue. I've had enough. Haven't you?

    June 27, 2007 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  16. Allen Jones, Dayton Ohio

    Yes President Bush has put our country in the middle of the Middle East Problems from some time now, but we must stay the course other wise the lives that were already lost would have been for nothing, If I were there, I would stay and fight, not for Iraq not for the People of Iraq, but the brave men and women who fought with everything they had to make our world safe again. I would stay in their honor!

    Anyone of you can run if you don't agree.
    God Bless America and Our people in Iraq.

    June 27, 2007 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  17. charles jackson; Clarkstown, NY

    Using the foil of "our troops are in harm's way", administration flacks have derided any effort to question Iraq policy; now Lugar has given cover to those who dare to question King George.
    The best thing that can be done for troops in harm's way is to get them out of there

    June 27, 2007 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  18. Miguel santa rosa ca

    So, friend, do you believe it is better to to allow them to die first instead of working OUR tails off to prevent that occurance which comes as a result of a deadly failed policy?Good job Voinovich and Lugar, you've finally realized what needs to be done, Keep it up...

    June 27, 2007 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  19. Sean - Atlanta, GA


    Can our troops make the Iraqi government take leadership of their own country? Can our troops make Iraqis trust each other after decades of sectarian oppression and violence? Our troops have completed every mission, and have defeated every enemy they have engaged, but the fundamental premise of going into war was so flawed that each time they risk their lives, nothing improves politically in that country towards a lasting stability. Comments like those from Senator Lugar are frequently taken as insults to our troops, but are instead frank acknowledgement that the Iraqi government that our troops are busting hump and dying for is proving itself to have no will to govern and no ability to make their sacrifices worthwhile.

    What Lugar sees is true – Petraeus' strategy might have been effective early in the process (before the Iraqi government calcified into warring camps), but now further increases our casualty rates while the Iraqi government goes on vacation. He can anticipate 3-4 months of growing GOP surge-sponsored US deaths while the Iraqi political front remains a stalemate that squanders their sacrifice.

    Please try to understand that those of us who want the US out of Iraq actually do support our troops, and do believe completely in their ability to win any battle. We just believe that the administration is incapable of solving the political quagmire in Iraq, and is spending US lives without cementing their victory.

    June 27, 2007 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  20. Erik Viker, Selinsgrove, PA

    We HAVE failed. We're an alleged superpower but we're unable to secure a single Mideast city after years of our troop's efforts? The Iraq occupation is an embarrassment and should end immediately, with all U.S. resources there rededicated to protecting Americans here at home.

    June 27, 2007 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  21. Dwong

    This adminstration thinks they are above the law and the will of the people does not matter to them. They need to stop sending our brave solders into a war thats not our war to fight. This is a war for the iraqis to win for themself if they want a truly representative government.

    June 27, 2007 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  22. Abdullatif Ashanti

    Dont blame the Senators, doc75 of Fairfax, Va, blame Bush. If you've been following the war, if this is what you want to call it, it is Bush who has us (the USA), where we are right now, in Iraq. Yes, these two Senators, in the past, have backed Bush's inept leadership in respeats to Iraq, and any place else we'er at in the Middle East, in concerns to 9/11. As A Muslim There is a no win solution for America in Iraq. The reason, for me, is simple. Iraq is by all definitions, an Islamic country, whose people follow Islam, and which are groverned by Islam, meaning the Qur'an and The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed(PBUH), or at least it's supposed to be groverned by these two islamic criterion. One paramount reason the USA will not prevail in Iraq, that reason being Iraq is stuck in sectarianism. Prphet Muhammed (PBUH) has stated in Hadith, which are the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH), that "...this nation...", meaning the Islamic Ummah, which Iraq is a part of, "...will be divided into...sects-All in Hell, except one, and that one is: the one on which I and my Companions are...", which is Islam and the Sunnah (teachings), of The Prophet (PBUH). The second raeson is because Muslims are kiling each other, which is forbidden in Islam. In The Qur'an Allah (SWT) commands that a Muslim's life to another Muslim is scared, or words to that effect. As a Muslim and knowing these things it my reasoning that America is in a no win situation in respeats to Iraq. It's leaders are to steeped in sectarianism and tribalism. Each wanting power over the Iraq and its peoples. It's never going to happen unless a true Islamic leader, who follows Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) emerges, who says I'm neither Sunni, Shia, or with this tribe or that tribe. It's not going to happen, because there is no such man in Iraq who is true to the teachings of Islam and Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). so, as to the two Senators who no longer back Bush's solgan of "staying the course" in Iraq, I say good luck. Bush is too hard headed to heed the advise of mere senators...he's the president of United States. Did he follow the advise of those who said the USA should not go to Iraq...NO! So, dont blame these senators because they want to break-away from Bush's unrealistic mind-set on Iraq.

    June 27, 2007 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  23. Roy Johnson Florida

    They should tar and feather both Bush and Cheney and ride them out of town on a rail. Where do we get such idiots.

    June 27, 2007 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  24. BRogge, Ivanhoe, MN 56142

    No more surges or attacks of any kind. Most of our military personnel know that this "war" is political in nature but being true Americans, and devoted to our Constitution, are there fighting for that reason alone. I would like to see them all come home at the same time, destroy the equipment and all ammunitation left behind and let the religious war bring itself to a close.

    June 27, 2007 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  25. Baruch, Cazadero, CA

    This is about admitting to a failed policy. From what I've seen in the underground media especially (since corporate media is still promoting the prowar agenda) the folks on the ground in Iraq mostly want OUT, back to family, friends, and a chance to heal from what they've had done to them, what they've seen, and what they've done while under orders.

    June 27, 2007 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
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