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Chuck Hagel "Leaving Iraq, Honorably"

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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 06:30 AM
Original message
Chuck Hagel "Leaving Iraq, Honorably"
i also recommend contacting Hagel to support JK's proposals.

<There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there. The future of Iraq was always going to be determined by the Iraqis -- not the Americans.

Iraq is not a prize to be won or lost. It is part of the ongoing global struggle against instability, brutality, intolerance, extremism and terrorism. There will be no military victory or military solution for Iraq. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger made this point last weekend.

The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation -- regardless of our noble purpose.

We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam. Honorable intentions are not policies and plans. Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. They will decide their fate and form of government.

It may take many years before there is a cohesive political center in Iraq. America's options on this point have always been limited. There will be a new center of gravity in the Middle East that will include Iraq. That process began over the past few days with the Syrians and Iraqis restoring diplomatic relations after 20 years of having no formal communication. The next installment would be this weekend's unprecedented meeting in Iran of the presidents of Iran, Syria and Iraq, if it takes place.>


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. Chuck Hagel really needs
to shit or get off the pot! He has done nothing legislatively to effect withdrawal. The merits of two options were debated at length on the Senate floor, he chose neither. The GOP decided to let the Democrats define withdrawal and the plans that emerged are the only options. They can try to pretend (as in the Baker group) that there is something new to add, but there isn't. Iraq is in complete chaos and American troop should be withdrawn. By his editorial, he could easily support Kerry's proposal. If he feels that strongly about it, why doesn't he?
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Why doesn't he?
Damn' good question! Difficult at times to figure out these republicans with a well-functioning brain, which Hagel most certainly has. This article is really powerful. I also remember hearing him speak equally powerfully on the Senate floor a while back, a WOW kind of speech, anyone remember that? When JK's and Levin's resolutions were voted on, he voted against both as far as I remember, right? But still what he writes now and the earlier speech do not sound like posturing to me, I really cannot figure it out. I am really curious how some of these non-kool-aid repubs are going to behave come January....
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I think it's because he realizes that it would kill his political career on the
Edited on Sat Nov-25-06 10:22 AM by karynnj
Republican side. Even here, he says:

"We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam. Honorable intentions are not policies and plans. Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. They will decide their fate and form of government."

This is the root of where he and Kerry split. Kerry is honest enough to admit unpleasant truths. Hagel also voted for the torture bill - where he had to know it allowed torture. Accepting that the US is not on the side of the angels is a crucial first step to demanding a radical change of course. As long as you still credit the administration with honorable (or even noble) aims, it is hard to see how removing or lessening the US presence can be positive. (Kerry was saying even in 2004 that we need to get the US name off the effort to fix Iraq.)

As long as you accept the US as both capable and well intentioned, you can not really accept that scaling back can be positive. Kerry has taken huge risks to speak on this - trying very hard to keep a distinction between the troops and those directing them. (Which is likely why the Republicans were so gleeful to twist Kerry's comment.) It is far easier to speak as Hagel did here - because it avoids the need to draw this line. But, it also leads to the wrong conclusion. (Biden also does this and then assumes an innate prerogative for the US to dictate the borders and form of government for a sovereign country.)
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I read the quote...
...you boldfaced as being almost ironical, since it is followed by "an arrogant self-delusion" and "Honorable intentions are not policies and plans". It's like saying "yeah, big words, but where is the meat?"
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Good point -
I don't see it as irony - I think he is crediting the US with going in for honorable reasons. But I concede, that with saying it is now arrogant self - delusion - he is not as clear as Kerry saying the war is wrong and immoral, but he could be saying the same thing as a description of the current DC minset.
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Well... he IS a republican
give the man some credit :-)! In all seriousness now, I DO give him credit for speaking up, and I wish more respectable republicans would do that, about Iraq and related issues. Hagel did, so did Warner, Specter, and a precious few others, including of course poor little Chaffee (it's wonderful he lost, but I will miss him, and I was quite touched when I read shortly after the election that he said that he thinks that his loss was for the good of the country. But I digress... ).
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I give him credit for
speaking. I do think that it helps to have more people speaking against the war in the media. Still, when it comes to Hagel, so far it's just lip service!
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
3. I am happy to see that Hagel is continuing to speak out on Iraq.
It is not new coming from him, but I am happy to see he is continuing. I wished Democrats would be as clear than he is.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. Here's a critique
from Ezra Klein:

I'm sorry, but since when does Damascus and Tehran extending their control over a failed state in the heart of a vital strategic region constitute "good news"? How badly has America's influence and power in the world fallen when a Republican Senator is hoping the US Army will be rescued by an alliance of Baathists and Mullahs?

Maybe Hagel is simply acknowledging that the Bush Administration has, in fact, been such a disaster that this is the case. But I think this is actually part of something else, because Hagel starts his piece with this:

Snip...

It is understandable that politicians are allergic to even implying that America has, in fact, been defeated in Iraq. Nevertheless, it's difficult to ponder what else you call it when America fails to find WMDs, fails to eliminate a terrorist haven, in fact creates a terrorist haven, is unable to support it's chosen government, is forced to withdraw from Iraq, and leaves a vacuum which Hagel acknowledges America's rivals (if not enemies) will fill.

The common thread through Hagel's bizarrely optimistic view of the Assad-Maliki-Ahmedinejad conference and the words "there will be no victory or defeat" in Iraq is a desire to conceal the magnitude of America's defeat. If any country expends billions of dollars and thousands of lives and fails to achieve any meaningful objective, and ends up in a weaker position than when it began, that's a defeat. Hagel is unwilling or unable to state that plainly, and this is dangerous.

I'm not simply trying to be churlish, here. It's important for American policymakers to acknowledge the facts of what has actually occurred if they're going to learn any meaningful lessons from this debacle. Hagel, to his credit, already seems to realize what the lessons are. But Hagel is speaking to a public audience, and as any addict knows, the first step is admitting you have a problem. By couching his overall sound counsel in a way that fails to acknowledge the magnitude of America's failure, I worry that he's making it easy for opportunists in the future to say "we could have won, if only."


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