WASHINGTON – Sen. George Voinovich said Tuesday the U.S. should begin pulling troops out of Iraq, joining Richard Lugar as the second Republican lawmaker in as many days to suggest President Bush’s war strategy is failing.
He said the Iraqi people must become more involved and “I don’t think they’ll get it until they know we’re leaving.”
The Ohio senator’s remarks followed similar comments by Lugar, R-Ind., the previous night.
The two GOP senators previously had expressed concerns about Bush’s decision to send 30,000 extra troops to Iraq in a massive U.S.-led security push in Baghdad and Anbar province. But they had stopped short of saying U.S. troops should leave and declined to back Democratic legislation setting a deadline for troop withdrawals.
“We must not abandon our mission, but we must begin a transition where the Iraqi government and its neighbors play a larger role in stabilizing Iraq,” Voinovich wrote in a letter to Bush.
Lugar and Voinovich said they were still not ready to insist on a timetable for withdrawal. But they both made it clear their patience was gone.
Once Iraq’s neighbors “know we are genuinely leaving, I think all of a sudden the fear of God will descend upon them and say, ‘We’ve got to get involved in this thing,’” Voinovich told reporters.
After the Fourth of July recess, “you’ll be hearing a number of statements from other (Republican) colleagues,” predicted Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a longtime skeptic of the war strategy.
U.S. military deaths
The latest identifications reported by the U.S. military of personnel killed in Iraq:
Army Pfc. Jerimiah Veitch, 21, Dibble, Okla.; killed Thursday in Baghdad when his vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Army Sgt. Alphonso Montenegro II, 22, Far Rockaway, N.Y.; Army Sgt. Ryan Wood, 22, Oklahoma City; Army Pfc. Daniel Agami, 25, Coconut Creek, Fla.; Army Pfc. Anthony Hebert, 19, Lake City, Minn.; and Army Pfc. Thomas Leemhuis, 23, Binger, Okla.; killed Thursday by an explosive in Baghdad; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany.
Army Sgt. Michael Montpetit, 31, Honolulu; died Friday in Baghdad of injuries from a noncombat incident; assigned to the 15th Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Army Spc. Dominic Rodriguez, 23, Klamath Falls, Ore.; died Friday in Baghdad of injuries sustained from a noncombat incident; assigned to the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Army Spc. Joseph Kenny, 20, Veneta, Ore.; died Saturday in Mosul in a noncombat incident; assigned to the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Army Sgt. William Brown, 25, Phil Campbell, Ala.; died Saturday in Taji of wounds from indirect fire; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Army 1st Lt. Daniel Riordan, 24, St. Louis; Army Sgt. Joel House, 22, Lee, Maine; Army Sgt. Jimy Malone, 23, Wills Point, Texas; and Army Spc. Derek Calhoun, 23, Oklahoma City; died Saturday in Taji when an explosive detonated near their vehicle; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Army Staff Sgt. Michael Moody Jr., 31, Richmond, Va.; Army Sgt. Chris Davis, 35, Lubbock, Texas; and Army Pvt. Shane Stinson, 23, Fullerton, Calif.; died Saturday of wounds from an explosive and small-arms fire in Baghdad; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.
Army Spc. Eric Palmer, 21, Maize, Kan.; died Sunday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered from small-arms fire Thursday in Bayji; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.