Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hagel-ian Nonsense

It is, of course the right of every citizen, to express his opinion on political matters. It is further, the duty of our elected officials to publicly discuss their ideas and misgivings about current policy. Still one has to wonder what Sen. Chuck Hagel hopes to gain from his latest dissent. The president has begun a new public campaign to remind the public of the importance of the war in Iraq. But Sen. Hagel has publicly compared the war to Vietnam. He has done so in an essentially dishonest way.
Last Thursday Hagel said: “The longer U.S. forces remain in Iraq, the more it begins to resemble the Vietnam War.” While this kind of thinking has become dogma to the left, it is unusual and unhelpful coming from a Republican senator. According to Hegel, increased casualties means we can’t be winning, we must be losing. By that definition, every war becomes a losing proposition on day one.
Hagel’s one good point is that the longer this goes on, the greater the risk that casualties will erode public support. This is of course particularly true when American politicians choose to become the propagandists of enemy forces. While the war is certainly not won, it is far from lost.
What is required to win is that we sustain our will. The will to defeat the hardcore former regime Baathists who fight to restore a state modeled on Saddam’s, Baathists who would resume oppression of Shiites and Kurds. The will to defeat foreign fighters, also called terrorists pouring into Iraq to face off with our forces.
Hagel not only voted in October 2003 to authorize military force, but as a member of the Senate Foreign Relation’s committee, helped pass the bill. He acknowledges the need for Iraqis to step into the security role in their own nation. He also said, on Thursday, that it is un-wise to set a timetable for withdrawal, allowing that: “You must always have flexibility in these things, and a judgment call by the president.”
Is that the same president he is calling disconnected from reality?
Hagel has also criticized the president for not meeting with Mrs. Cindy Sheehan saying that: “He should give her some consideration!” Why because she is pathetically begging for a chance to criticize him face to face? Didn’t he give her some consideration the first time he met her?

You can’t have it both ways Senator. If this is another Vietnam, you voted to put us there. If the president is out of touch, why are you allowing him judgment calls? What are you really after?
Are you just making noise? Seeking publicity? Are you ginning up publicity for a 2008 presidential run. Or are you just thinking out loud? Whichever it is I wish you could remember a few things. With rights comes responsibility, and the duty of a Senator is not only to weigh in, but to weigh the facts first.
If you truly think that this war is a lost cause. That it has become a second Vietnam, remember this. We didn’t lose Vietnam on the battlefield. We lost it here. Because we couldn’t sustain the will to fight. Because too many voices at home wanted to quit.
Maybe Vietnam wasn’t worth fighting for. That has become the accepted doctrine of the entire left. But we allowed a vicious communist government to dominate Southeast Asia when we cut and ran. Will we do the same today? Allow a rabid anti-American minority to take over Iraq?
Make no mistake Senato,r Iraq is no Vietnam. It is a strategically located, oil producing state, on the Persian Gulf. It has millions of citizens who turned out to vote in January. It has a dedicated but small insurgency that would enslave those voters if we let them. Do we want it back in the hands of Saddam’s loyalists? We gave the Vietnamese almost twenty years. I think we can give the Iraqis another one or two.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Nebraska; I'm a retired military member; I'm tired of Chuck Hagel.

Hagel can't think in any terms other than his own experience in Veet-nam. He likes to sound off on foreign policy, but his foreign policy is about thirty years out of date.

On other issues, e.g., Social Security, he actually was ahead of his time -- or at least he took a cue from some who were. When Bob Kerrey took up the torch from Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the precarious nature of our current Social Security system, Hagel signed on. I recall at least twice that they came to the UNL campus to say ten years ago what George W. Bush is saying now. Of course, it appeared to me that Hagel was only the warm-up man for Kerrey. He either didn't believe in or understand the message that Kerrey was delivering -- including the notion of private accounts.

Hagel simply is full of himself. I doubt that it ever crossed his mind that being a Senator was anything other than a stepping stone for his own ambitions. No concern about representation of his constituents.

Sun Aug 21, 02:31:00 PM 2005  

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