GOP Senator Says Iraq Looking Like Vietnam

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GOP Senator Says Iraq Looking Like Vietnam

Post by Ted » Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:09 am

The worm continues to turn
WASHINGTON (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.
President Bush was preparing for separate speeches this week to reaffirm his plan to help Iraq train its security forces while its leaders build a democratic government. In his weekly Saturday radio address, Bush said the fighting there protected Americans at home.
Polls show the public growing more skeptical about Bush's handling of the war.
In Iraq, officials continued to craft a new constitution in the face of a Monday night deadline for parliamentary approval. They missed the initial deadline last week.
Other Republican senators appearing on Sunday news shows advocated remaining in Iraq until the mission set by Bush is completed, but they also noted that the public is becoming more and more concerned and needs to be reassured.
Sen. George Allen, R-Va., another possible candidate for president in 2008, disagreed that the U.S. is losing in Iraq. He said a constitution guaranteeing basic freedoms would provide a rallying point for Iraqis.
"I think this is a very crucial time for the future of Iraq," said Allen, also on ABC. "The terrorists don't have anything to win the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq. All they care to do is disrupt."
Hagel, who was among those who advocated sending two to three times as many troops to Iraq when the war began in March 2003, said a stronger military presence by the U.S. is not the solution today.
"We're past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam," Hagel said. "The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have."
Allen said that unlike the communist-guided North Vietnamese who fought the U.S., the insurgents in Iraq have no guiding political philosophy or organization. Still, Hagel argued, the similarities are growing.
"What I think the White House does not yet understand - and some of my colleagues - the dam has broke on this policy," Hagel said. "The longer we stay there, the more similarities (to Vietnam) are going to come together."
The Army's top general, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press that the Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq - well over 100,000 - for four more years as part of preparations for a worst-case scenario.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said U.S. security is tied to success in Iraq, and he counseled people to be patient.
"The worst-case scenario is not staying four years. The worst-case scenario is leaving a dysfunctional, repressive government behind that becomes part of the problem in the war on terror and not the solution," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday.
Allen said the military would be strained at such levels in four years yet could handle that difficult assignment. Hagel described the Army contingency plan as "complete folly."
"I don't know where he's going to get these troops," Hagel said. "There won't be any National Guard left ... no Army Reserve left ... there is no way America is going to have 100,000 troops in Iraq, nor should it, in four years."
Hagel added: "It would bog us down, it would further destabilize the Middle East, it would give Iran more influence, it would hurt Israel, it would put our allies over there in Saudi Arabia and Jordan in a terrible position. It won't be four years. We need to be out."
Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said the U.S. is winning in Iraq but has "a way to go" before it meets its goals there. Meanwhile, more needs to be done to lay out the strategy, Lott said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"I do think we, the president, all of us need to do a better job, do more," Lott said, by telling people "why we have made this commitment, what is being done now, what we do expect in the process and, yes, why it's going to take more time."

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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:05 pm

Like I said to Lilith,

Chuck Hagel= 08 Presidential candidate. Hagel's comments would be news if he hadn't been saying this for 2 years now. Last year Foreign Affairs, the prestigious journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, gave him a platform to lecture Bush under the guise of a "Republican foreign policy." The comments of the heirs don't count except among those of us that fear they don't get it any more than the Democratic leadership do.
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Post by Werner » Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:22 pm

Corlyss, I think it's time for you to see the light - and maybe come home to the Demmicrats at last!

While the world watched us go into a poorly reconnoitered situation without proper personnel, equipment, or intelligence, our dogma-deluded presdent sticks to his missionary position, telling the VFW that we're going to "finish the job." How can you finish a job you never figured out properly?

And I see an acute parallel with that other Texan who thought he could fight a war without paying for it. That's a different subject, but just as relevant.
Werner Isler

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:47 pm

Just wondering if the Brits think of it as "the new Falklands". Oh, wait, they won that one, didn't they? My bad - no way the media would use that analogy.

Most of the similarities seem to me to be about warfare in an information/technological age of opinion-poll policy-making rather than any great parallels between the two conflicts on military (both strategy and tactics of desert vs jungle warfare as well as the more obvious civil occupation that is also vastly different due to culture, plus the fact of Vietnam's nominal allies and the context of the Cold War) or ideological grounds.

The enemy is just plain different, if nothing else. Just IMO, of course.

Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:42 am

Hagel's comments would be news
CD
You can squirm, wiggle rationalize and equivocate all you want,
(after all you are the board’s champion at doing so) :roll:

All I know is that Dan Bartlett wishes that Hagel would keep his mouth shut and Matt Drudge puts Hagel’s comments as his “Bold Lead-In Headline”
It’s just a drop in the bucket, but it makes the administration look weak and fallible, if just for the moment

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Post by Ralph » Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:15 am

There's plenty of fallibility to go around. Bush clearly has a division in his own party's ranks and it isn't about subjects as non-controversial as stem cell research or gay rights. How this will play out in the next major election is questionable.
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