From the floor of the United States Senate on the evening of June 25:

Senator Richard Lugar, (R) Indiana, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

"I rise today to offer observations on the continuing involvement of the United States in Iraq. In my judgment, our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond."

Read the full speech here.


"The prospects that the current surge strategy will succeed in the way originally envisioned by the President are very limited within the short period framed by our own domestic political debate."

"The current debate on Iraq in being driven by partisan calculations...[and does not] addresses our vital interests...."

"[We must all] make adjustments to [our] thinking. Each of us should take a step back from the sloganeering rhetoric and political opportunism that has sometimes characterized this debate."

"[W]e do have viable options that could strengthen our position in the Middle East, and reduce the prospect of terrorism, regional war, and other calamities. But seizing these opportunities will require the President to [change policies, and i]t will also require members of Congress to be receptive to overtures by the President to construct a new policy outside the binary choice of surge versus withdrawal. We donít owe the President our unquestioning agreement, but we do owe him and the American people our constructive engagement."

The Plan? Read the full speech here.

In a nutshell:

1. In terms of the timetables, admit that the Iraqi reality does not conform to the domestic American political reality.

2. Redeploy, refresh and rebuild.

3. Protect American vital interest in four basic areas:

--no safe haven for terrorism

--prevent regional instability

--check the rising influence of Iran

--restore American credibility and influence in the region

The surge is not working.

Key Quote: "Its failure, without a careful transition to a back-up policy would intensify our loss of credibility. It uses tremendous amounts of resources that cannot be employed in other ways to secure our objectives. And it lacks domestic support that is necessary to sustain a policy of this type."

Total withdrawal is a disaster.

--risks a wider regional conflict stimulated by Sunni-Shia tensions
--severe blow to U.S. credibility
--potential for armed conflict between Turkey and Kurds
--exposes our loyal Iraqi friends to retribution
--refugee flows
--economic and development projects currently underway
--Iraqi territory will be used as a terrorist base.

Withdrawal more complicated than the slogans imply.

Key Quote: "An immediate withdrawal aimed at getting out of Iraq as fast as possible would take six months. A carefully planned withdrawal that sought to preserve as much American equipment as possible, protect Iraqis who have worked with us, continue anti-terrorist operations during the withdrawal period, and minimize negative regional consequences would take months longer."

4. Downsize and redeploy (to areas outside of Iraqi urban areas as well as outside of Iraq)

5. Replace the sagging military strategy with a diplomatic offensive

6. Solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and reduce dependence on Persian Gulf oil

In conclusion:

We must change policy. We must come together.

End coverage of speech.

A couple of questions immediately arise in my mind:

1. I suspect the hand of Robert Gates in all this. Is the President behind this monumental speech from the Senate floor? If so, it is a very positive development.

2. If this signals that the President is willing to consider a "thoughtful Plan B," are the Democrats willing to forego political advantage to save the country?

UPDATE: Lugar's current analysis does not ignore the reasons why we are where we are. Here for your review is my previous summary "Restating our Rationale for War."

Also, for extended Bosque Boys conversations on our policy in Iraq click here and scroll down.