Lugar Wants Bipartisan Effort To Scale Back Iraq War

Sunday, July 1st 2007, 3:31 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP)_ Republican Sen. Richard Lugar on Sunday called for a bipartisan approach to scale back the U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

Lugar was one of two Republican senators who announced last week President Bush's Iraq strategy was not working and that the U.S. should downsize the military's role. He said Sunday that Bush should consult with Democrats and Republicans on a new strategy that includes ongoing talks with all of Iraq's neighbors.

``I believe it's important for the president to get together with a bipartisan group of people in the Congress, which I'm prepared to be a part of that,'' Lugar said on CBS' ``Face The Nation.''

He said those discussions should address, ``How we can form a diplomatic forum in which the Iraqis and the United States bring together all the neighboring countries, and we meet continuously and we talk about our interests in Iraq but also our interests with each other.''

Lugar, of Indiana, is a senior Republican who previously had been a reliable vote for Bush on the war. He was joined last week by Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, in calling for the U.S. to reduce the military's role.

Lugar has resisted Democratic calls for a deadline for withdrawal. He said he hopes for an orderly reduction of troops, leaving a smaller force that would stay indefinitely to support the Iraqi governments.

``What I'm trying to say now is we need to be staying in there with some troops to fortify a diplomatic situation that can go on for quite a while, and we could bring some good out of all this,'' Lugar said.