Richard Lugar

Excerpts from a Monitor breakfast on reports of Iran's secret nuclear program

Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, is chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Lugar is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Denison University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. While serving in the Navy, he was intelligence briefer for chief of naval operations. After serving two terms as mayor of Indianapolis, Richard Lugar won election to the Senate in 1976 and won a fifth term in 2000.

Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On President Bush's performance in foreign policy:

"He is back on top of his game at this point. When he does come forth decisively, he is humble often in saying 'these are areas in which I have not spent my lifetime. I listen to the very best advice that I can gather.' And then he makes decisions. I think his batting average has been a very good one."

On progress in the war in Iraq:

"We have all come to the conclusion that things have not gone well in Iraq, by and large, and so we have to improve day by day."

On the work of members of Iraq's Governing Council:

"The meetings are spasmodic and don't occur for periods of time.... Conspicuously, the 25 (members) are not doing their job.... This is a time when we have to be insisting they get on with it."

On a UN agency report that Iran had a secret nuclear program:

"I applaud the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) for that report. [Having a secret nuclear program for] 18 years - that's a long stretch of time and it doesn't mean the world was beguiled all the way through that period of time. There have been some suspicions something is going on.... The thoroughness, the completeness of the [alleged nuclear] activity is astonishing. The need for vigilance and scrutiny at this point ... is rather imperative. It does offer from the standpoint of the United Nations now - not the United States - the United Nations, an evaluation that is very important. Nations can now no longer look at the situation passively. My guess is that it will increase, quite correctly, the pressure on Iran to provide for international inspection and clearly attempt to thwart the movement toward weaponization."

On President Bush's call in a speech last week to expand democracy worldwide:

"I suppose now what I would hope for is ... the program to sort of lay out how this occurs.... A full-court press for democracy across the board would imply something at least akin ... to the program the president has suggested for HIV-AIDS."

On greatest threat to safety to his grandchildren:

"The same theme this war is being fought over - the potential intersection of materials or weapons of mass destruction with suicidal terrorists. I think this combination, augmented by the ease of travel, communication, all the technical virtuosity that has come to our world, makes this especially frightening. [After Sept. 11, 2001] our foreign policy changed abruptly because we realized the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans were large oceans but not large enough to protect us. Essentially the ability to fight wars somewhere else, to deploy our troops, was important but at this point irrelevant in the event that the attack was in Washington or New York....

"As opposed to sitting still about it, it seems to me that you do a full-court press to get control of weapons and materials of mass destruction. By that I mean to work with nations to make sure that they [their nuclear weapons are] safe, inventory it so we and they know as best as possible what we do all have in the world, and preferably that we take steps to destroy it or mitigate the supply situation.... It is not going to happen without our participation either in Russia or elsewhere."

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