Rejecting President Bush’s appeal to wait until September before attempting to legislate changes to the war, two senior Republican senators announced Friday they have drafted legislation that would require the White House by mid-October to define a new strategy for narrowing the scope of the US mission and reducing the American military presence in Iraq.
The proposal of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Sen. John Warner (R-VA) states that "American military and diplomatic strategy in Iraq must adjust to the reality that sectarian factionalism is not likely to abate anytime soon and probably cannot be controlled from the top."
Sen. Lugar introduced the Warner-Lugar amendment to Defense Authorization Act on the floor of the Senate Friday, arguing that with little hope for political progress by the Iraqi government in any reasonable frame of time, “continuing with the surge delays policy changes that have a far better chance of protecting our vital interests in the region over a sustained period.”
The Senators do not anticipate any dramatically positive Iraqi political developments anytime soon, and don't want American troops in the middle of a confusing sectarian battle indefinitely. "Given continuing high levels of violence in Iraq and few manifestations of political compromise among Iraq's factions, the optimal outcome in Iraq of a unified, pluralist, democratic government that is able to police itself, protect its borders, and achieve economic development is not likely to be achieved in the near future," the Warner-Lugar proposal said.
Therefore, Warner and Lugar want Bush to draft a plan for U.S. troops that would keep them from "policing the civil strife or sectarian violence in Iraq" and focus instead on securing Iraq's borders, targeting terrorists, and defending core U.S. assets.
Lugar and Warner represent the elder statesmen of the GOP. The expertise and position of leadership earned through Warner’s longtime chairmanship of the Armed Services committee in the days of Republican dominance, and Lugar’s role as ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, adds great weight to their criticism of the President’s policy.
Their amendment also seeks to require Bush renew the 2002 war authorization, which many members argue was specifically limited to the military force needed to overthrow Saddam Hussein and seek out WMDs.
If passed, the proposal would require Bush to present his new strategy to Congress by October 16, and be ready for implementation by the end of the year.