July 5th, 2007
04:37 PM ET
12 years ago

Veteran Republican calls for change in Iraq

Domenici has served in the Senate since 1973.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Mexico GOP Sen. Pete Domenici called for a change of policy in Iraq Thursday, making him the third veteran Republican to break ranks with President Bush over the issue in the last two weeks.

In a news conference in Albuquerque, Domenici said his change of heart stems from the Iraqi government's failure "to make even modest progress to help Iraq itself or to merit the sacrifices being made by our men."

“I have carefully studied the Iraq situation, and believe we cannot continue asking our troops to sacrifice indefinitely while the Iraqi government is not making measurable progress to move its country forward,” the New Mexico Republican said. “I do not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or a reduction in funding for our troops. But I do support a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home.”

Responding to Domenici's comments Thursday afternoon, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said, “We respect him. He’s an important voice. But it’s also important to note that he does not advocate an arbitrary withdrawal date. And he does support funding for our troops.”

“As we’ve said before, the surge by definition is temporary," Stanzel added. "It’s our belief it’s in place to bring relief and security so Baghdad officials can make progress on political matters. We’ll eventually turn over more control to Iraqi forces. People are talking about what happens after the surge. We’ll continue to have those conversations. The president wants to bring the troops home as soon as possible. But he will do so based on the recommendations of commanders on the ground.”

Domenici did not inform the White House or President Bush of his decision to call for a new course in Iraq, Courtney Sanders, Deputy Press Secretary for Domenici, told CNN.

Sanders said Domenici just “felt it was time to announce his decision."

Republican Sens. Dick Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio have also recently called for a change of policy in Iraq.

- CNN's Kathleen Koch, Andrea Koppel and Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    No timetable means no withdraw. These 3 Republicans are just trying to make sure they get re-elected without any serious commitment to ending the war.

    Translation stay the course until the very end of the Bush administration = more taxpayer money to Bush constituents and Cheney's Haliburton.

    July 5, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Ryan, New York, NY

    Of course they respect him and consider him an important vote. That's why they fire people in their own branch if he doesn't like them.

    July 5, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Pete, Tarpon Springs, FL

    Thank you Senator,

    I was stationed in the "Land of Enchantment" years ago and always knew that the politicians of this great state understood the importance of a strong, well supported military. I knew they supported us with more than campaign speeches.


    July 5, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Bush is stubborn and unreasonable person in the world history. Bush will listen only Dick's advise, so you Republicans negotiate with Cheney secretly, because VP likes secret and background controll. "Bad money drives out good money" is for White House.

    July 6, 2007 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  5. G. H.

    Dear Anonymus!

    Lugar was re-elected in 2006, Voinovich will face re-election just in 2010... So what they say now won't impact their reelection race heavily. Domenici sits in the Senate since 1973... I don't think that he would have problems with re-election, he seems to be popular in New Mexico.

    July 6, 2007 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  6. Anonymous

    The 3 Republicans in Congress to break ranks with Bush have not legitimately announced anything yet.

    All they are saying is let's talk about new strategy and reducing the number of troops.

    In reality they are having it both ways...appear to appease the overwhelming number of anti-war critics, while at the same time make no firm commitment to ENDING the war.

    My prediction: the war lasts all the way until the very end of the Bush Administration...which was the plan all along.

    If Republicans win the 2008...no end in sight.

    July 6, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Ann Brunswick ME

    Gutless Wonder, Mr. Domenici! It takes courage to stand alone on the principle of your convictions and you've proven you don't have what it takes. How Shameful!

    July 6, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  8. JT, Fargo, ND

    We invaded that nation (Iraq). Whether it was wrong or whether it was right, we invaded the nation. It would be wrong to leave them hanging now. We need to finish that job and not walk away from it half ass. JT in Fargo

    July 7, 2007 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  9. Ft. Hood Texas

    With the War on Terror nearing its 5th year. I agree with the president when he stated America is war fatigued. As a current U.S Army Soldier I also believe it is time for my fellow brothers in arms to come home. How much longer, and how many more lives do we have to sacrifice as the Iraqi government makes no progress in there bench marks of accomplishments. More of us are dieing every single day, I would like to know what we are fighting and dieing for. The cause, the objective, is a blur. The Bush administraion can't admit a loss and just let us come home. I thank the Republicans that are standing up for us. Because all we are getting from the Bush administration is the run around.

    July 13, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |