Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hagel: "A Steady, Unsure Sense ..."

Reuters filed this report early this afternoon, highlighting some recent appearances by Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel and some new and important statements from him on Iraq which I think are certainly worth noting. There is little here that he's not said similarly in the past, but coming right now they are particularly powerful.

- "We are seen as occupiers, we are targets. We have got to get out. I don't think we can sustain our current policy, nor do I think we should."

- "The mood is one of a certain sense of unsteadiness. I have sensed that since September 11, 2001. Our people have still not found an equilibrium and when you get these shocks, like gasoline at $2.50 a gallon and projecting natural gas costs doubling and tripling from what they paid last year, that further shakes them. I don't think there's panic, I don't think there's cynicism. I think there's this steady unsure sense about where is this all leading -- the constant daily reports on Iraq, our people being killed there, the money being spent there."

- "The feeling that I get back here, looking in the eyes of real people, where I knew where they were two years ago or a year ago -- they've changed. These aren't people who ebb and flow on issues. These are rock solid, conservative Republicans who love their country, support the troops and support the president."

- "The expectations that the president and his administration presented to the American people 2 1/2 years ago is not what the reality is today. That's presented the biggest credibility gap problem he's got. I hope he has some sense that something's going on out in the country, that there's a lack of confidence that has developed in our position."

I take every statement from Chuck Hagel very seriously. I don't think he's the kind of guy who messes around. These are statements that all of us need to consider carefully right now, but I hope that they are viewed with a particular seriousness by the folks down at the ranch.

5 Comments:

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Phil S said...

Wise, but carefully spoken words from someone who is positioning himself to run for president.
And, no, I don't think anyone at the Crawford ranch will listen to what he said!!

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger pacatrue said...

I agree with Bush on one thing, which is that you cannot leave until the job is done. Or to put it another way, if you choose to bomb a country's infrastructure and destroy all of its civic institutions, you are obligated to try to build them back up. You do NOT leave just because you have bad political ratings. If you get beat up in the polls, you still do the right thing and then get voted out of office. Losing an election isn't a disgrace. Destroying a country and then leaving it in shambles is. Hagel does mention, however, a good reason to leave. Is our presence in Iraq still helping on the whole? If not, get out. It sure would also be nice if the people who decided to go were the ones who lost their sons and daughters, and not the rest of us, who are cleaning up their mess.

An all volunteer army does seem a classic high reward low risk proposition for those who control it. All people take risks in those situations.

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Absolutely, paca. Powell's Pottery Barn rule at work.

 
At 10:05 PM, Blogger Phil S said...

jbd-
As if on cue, Hagel was on CNN this PM, and backed off Feingold's deadline idea. He does say later that the Iraqi's will eventually have to step up as we can't be there forever.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: "Wolf, I have never thought that firm deadlines, any artificial timetable for withdrawal from Iraq or any other area of combat is a wise course of action. I would not support that.

However, I do believe that the United States will be withdrawing troops from Iraq next year. But I don't think we want to set these deadlines for many reasons.

One is I don't think we ever want to tie the commander-in-chief's hands on something like this. There are many uncontrollables, many different factors that will play into this, are playing into it."

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger JBD said...

Thanks Phil - I missed that show but I caught the AP piece on it. He's definitely positioning himself interestingly on this - we'll see where it goes!

 

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