Monday, August 22, 2005

Let the Sliming Begin

From the AP:

A leading Republican senator and prospective presidential candidate said Sunday that the war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East and is looking more like the Vietnam conflict from a generation ago.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, who received two Purple Hearts and other military honors for his service in Vietnam, reiterated his position that the United States needs to develop a strategy to leave Iraq. Hagel scoffed at the idea that U.S. troops could be in Iraq four years from now at levels above 100,000, a contingency for which the Pentagon is preparing.

“We should start figuring out how we get out of there,” Hagel said on “This Week” on ABC. “But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur.”

Hagel said “stay the course” is not a policy. “By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq … we’re not winning,” he said.

It’s early yet, but I expect by the middle of the morning to see a lot of True Believers and Kool-Aid Kids dishing Hagel to filth with a lot of irrelevancies (“He’s running for something,” “He’s not a nice guy,” “He’s McCain-Lite,” etc.) and railing against the old saw that just because he’s a combat veteran he somehow has more credibility than other people on how to run a war; funny, that was the same argument the Republicans and the brass used against Clinton in the 1990’s, but then…It’s Okay If You’re A Republican.

I’m not a huge fan of Chuck Hagel, either, and you won’t catch me voting for him in a presidential primary, but you can’t deny that he knows his history and has learned something from it. He also seems to be one of the few people in his party who will even get close to admitting that there might be the possibility that we made some mistakes then and now. That’s enough to invoke the wrath of the slimers, so just stand back, Chuck.