Richard Lugar

Excerpts from a Monitor breakfast on US foreign policy.

Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana is the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr. Lugar is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dennison University. He continued his studies as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. During his Navy service, he was the intelligence briefer for the Chief of Naval Operations. He won election to the US Senate in 1976.

On whether the White House exaggerated intelligence on the threat from Iraq:

"It seems to me very hard for somebody in Congress to argue with a straight face that he or she was deceived. Anyone who was sitting there throughout the last two years heard all of the arguments that are now being made, had an opportunity to read all the intelligence. There has been nothing new in the dredge all of this [up] as somehow a national scandal or people being beguiled or so forth is nonsense unless people are totally naïve."

On the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq:

"I don't know if they will find weapons of mass destruction although my guess is that conventional wisdom is right, eventually we will find some people in Iraq who will tell us what happened...

Dual use technology, if it is sophisticated, means that you can whip up a batch of anthrax one day and do shampoo the next and get rid of what you did the first day. Americans looking for big facilities and cars and tanks and so forth will be disappointed. That is not the nature of the beast."

On prospects for the Bush Middle East peace plan:

"He has been underestimated again and again but should not be by any of the parties at this point. My hope is that we will be able to now try again to engage our NATO allies, Arab countries, whoever also shares the desire for some settlement of the disputes in a more-solid way."

On US reconstruction efforts in Iraq:

"The planning was inadequate. So as a result we have been playing pick up ball since. Having said that, it seems to me Mr. Bremmer [the top US official in Iraq] is getting a number of things right."

On one cause for widespread international resentment of US:

"The Iraq situation demonstrated not only that our weapons are better by a whole lot, that we can move people and are the only country that can do that, but this brought about two feelings. One of which was we were vastly successful, overpoweringly so. And secondly, whether you are a friend of the United States or a foe, you resent that fact, that unilaterally we can do these things. That we are so far superior to everyone else militarily that we can move things around. And that is an uncomfortable feeling for other countries that we ought to recognize. The question is how to be gracious about it. How do you work the diplomacy in a much better way, obviously, than we have."

On why the US appears to behave in a unilateral fashion:

"Unilateralism frequently comes from abdication. The rest of the world understands there are difficult problems but they are not difficult enough to go to war over. ...whether it is preemptive or not, we finally have to make decisions in terms of our own security as to what needs to happen."

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