More Republicans in Disarray
Or, just a Republican with his head on straight. Chuck Hagel:
Part of the problem that we have, I think, is because we didn't -- we didn't involve the Congress in this when we should have.
And I'm to blame. Every senator who's been here the last four years has to take some responsibility for that.
But I will not sit here in this Congress of the United States at this important time for our country and in the world and not have something to say about this. And maybe I'll be wrong. And maybe I have no political future. I don't care about that.
But I don't ever want to look back and have the regret that I didn't have the courage and I didn't do what I could to at least project something [...]
I don't know how many United States senators believe we have a coherent strategy in Iraq. I don't think we've ever had a coherent strategy.
In fact, I would even challenge the administration today to show us the plan that the president talked about the other night. There is no plan.
I happen to know Pentagon planners were on their way to the Central Com over the weekend. They haven't even team B'ed this plan.
And my dear friend Dick Lugar talks about coherence of strategy. There is no strategy. This is a ping-pong game with American lives.
These young men and women that we put in Anbar province, in Iraq, in Baghdad are not beans. They're real lives. And we better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder. We better be as sure as you can be.
And I want every one of you, every one of us, 100 senators to look in that camera, and you tell your people back home what you think. Don't hide anymore; none of us.
It figures that the strongest voices over the past few days on Iraq - Webb, Hagel - are veterans.
Hagel also spills the beans today that the White House wanted to wage war on the entire Middle East at the same time in the beginning.
HAGEL: [F]inally, begrudgingly, [the White House] sent over a resolution for Congress to approve. Well, it was astounding. It said they could go anywhere in the region.
GQ: It wasn’t specific to Iraq?
HAGEL: Oh no. It said the whole region! They could go into Greece or anywhere. Is central Asia in the region? I suppose! Sure as hell it was clear they meant the whole Middle East. It was anything. It was literally anything. No boundaries. No restrictions.
GQ: They expected Congress to let them start a war anywhere in the Middle East?
HAGEL: Yes. Yes. Wide open. We had to rewrite it. Joe Biden, Dick Lugar, and I stripped the language that the White House had set up and put our language in it.
By the way, Hagel signed on to the Biden nonbinding resolution, which passed the Foreign Relations Committee today, and which I support as a cog in a "kitchen sink" strategy. It can't be an end but a means to it.