ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf Reports: Republican Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, made a stunning speech on the Senate floor this evening after most people had gone home. Watch the video HERE.
He said the president and Congress must start planning to redeploy American troops from Iraq now.
Waiting for September 2007, when Army General David Petraeus is set to report about the progress of Bush’s recently ordered troop buildup is not smart, said Lugar.
Doing so would force the Iraq strategy debate into the presidential campaign, which would drag out at least through 2008, Lugar said.
"In 2003, we witnessed the costs that come with insufficient planning for the aftermath of the Iraq invasion," said Lugar.
"It is absolutely essential that we not repeat the same mistake. The longer we delay the planning for redeployment, the less likely it is to be successful."
Lugar continued, "Our focus on Iraq has diverted us from opportunities to change the world in directions that strengthen our national security. Our struggles in Iraq have placed United States foreign policy on a defensive footing and drawn resources from other national security endeavors, including Afghanistan."
Lugar expressed skepticism about the surge last winter, but he never officially opposed it. His call for redeployment now is a big move as most Republicans wait for September.