WASHINGTON, June 26 — Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee and a steadfast supporter of the president, has conspicuously broken ranks with him on the Iraq war, warning that the United States’ standing in the world could be irreparably eroded if the White House does not change strategy soon, the New York Times reports.
“In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved,” Mr. Lugar said Monday during a 50-minute speech on the Senate floor, which was delivered after nearly everyone in the Capitol had retired for the evening. “Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.”
In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Lugar said President Bush had limited time to change the course of the war because of the 2008 presidential campaign. “We’re heading into a very partisan era,” he said. “The president has the opportunity now to bring about a bipartisan foreign policy. I don’t think he’ll have that option very long.”
His remarks reverberated through Capitol Hill on Tuesday, picking up support from other Republican senators, even as the White House, which was not alerted about Mr. Lugar’s speech in advance, tried to minimize their significance.
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