Senator Chuck Hagel on The Daily Show: “We Failed the American People”

As is my policy, whenever America’s Greatest Politician, Senator Chuck Hagel the Great (R-NE) is in the news, I do a post on it. Recently, Senator Hagel was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Here’s a video:

Let me highlight some points:

  • “There will not be a military solution in Iraq… The deeper we sink into this bog … not only the more difficult it is to get out, but the more reliant the Iraqis are on us, the more damage we do to our standing in the world, to our army, to our nation, to every component, and … that is a result of not asking the tough questions up front, not trying to associate consequences with actions.”
  • “This administration went headlong into a war that they never understood.”
  • “I think our invasion and occupation in Iraq represents one of the great blunders of American history, and we will pay a high price for this for a long time, and have been.”
  • This administration “continues to justify something that is unjustifiable.”
  • “We are asking these young men and women in uniform to perform feats and accomplish missions that they are doing masterfully and the sacrifice that they are making … is something like I’ve never seen before, and what each of us in elective office have as our most important responsibility is a policy worthy of the sacrifices of these young men and women and their families.”
  • “We [Congress] did not do our job.  We failed the American people in that we didn’t ask the toughest questions and we were all so consumed with fear and terrorism and we really misplaced our focus.  The front on the War on Terrorism is not Iraq.  It’s the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, that mountain range.  That’s the real dangerous area that focuses on our national interests. … Now Iraq is a seething cauldron and we have national interest there and the next President is gonna have to work our way out of this thing and it’s gonna be difficult, but they’re gonna have to do this in a responsible way.”

The quote I liked most of his was where he talked about the Iraqis becoming reliant on American forces.  This is why we need to give the Iraqis an ultimatum: “Start having a desire to defend/govern yourselves, or we’re out,” and it’s unfair to the Iraqis because we’re responsible for the chaos, but at this point, we can’t keep babysitting the Iraqis.  I still advocate Senator Hagel’s plan of moving our troops to the border and letting the Iraqis deal with the civil unrest, the problems that THEY THEMSELVES understand better than ANY American!

I have to say – watching him over and over again makes me feel guilty about how long I defended the war.  I still hold to the belief that there were weapons of mass destruction, and that they were just moved out of the country, but did we honestly think that we were going to find them?  Sure, there were at one point, but that was months before we went in – the fact of the matter is that we went in with a short term plan, and that just ruined both nations.

I will say that a lot of people take McCain’s “100 years” quote out of context.  It doesn’t matter how long we’re there, but how many of us are there.  We’re still in Korea, 50 years later, but the amount of troops is minimal.  If we have to be there for 100 years, but we only have a handful of troops there to assist the Iraqis, I would consider that a success.

I really hope Senator Hagel gets back into public office.

Again, I’ll put in a plug for Senator Hagel’s new book, America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers.  Although I haven’t been able to buy it yet (I need to get out of school for the summer and start work again to make money first), I’ve heard great reviews about it, and I’m really looking forward to read it.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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