The Lady Speaks

One Republican Gets It (Finally)

Senator Chuck Hagel, a known conservative Republican, says what many Democrats and most Americans have been saying for the past year.

From Senator Hagel’s column, to be published in tomorrow’s Washington Post:

Leaving Iraq, Honorably

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.


America finds itself in a dangerous and isolated position in the world. We are perceived as a nation at war with Muslims. Unfortunately, that perception is gaining credibility in the Muslim world and for many years will complicate America’s global credibility, purpose and leadership. This debilitating and dangerous perception must be reversed as the world seeks a new geopolitical, trade and economic center that will accommodate the interests of billions of people over the next 25 years. The world will continue to require realistic, clear-headed American leadership — not an American divine mission.


We are destroying our force structure, which took 30 years to build. We’ve been funding this war dishonestly, mainly through supplemental appropriations, which minimizes responsible congressional oversight and allows the administration to duck tough questions in defending its policies. Congress has abdicated its oversight responsibility in the past four years.

It is not too late. The United States can still extricate itself honorably from an impending disaster in Iraq. The Baker-Hamilton commission gives the president a new opportunity to form a bipartisan consensus to get out of Iraq. If the president fails to build a bipartisan foundation for an exit strategy, America will pay a high price for this blunder — one that we will have difficulty recovering from in the years ahead.

To squander this moment would be to squander future possibilities for the Middle East and the world. That is what is at stake over the next few months.

Read the entire column here.


November 25, 2006 - Posted by | Afghanistan, America, Bush, Cheney, Civil War, Congress, Government, Iran, Iraq, Politics, Protest, Republicans, Rumsfeld, Senate, US Military, War, White House


  1. Sounds good. I don’t hear Chuck mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. Maybe this is his opening salvo?

    Comment by J | November 25, 2006 | Reply

  2. […] (Hat-tip to The Lady Speaks) […]

    Pingback by Chuck Hagel on Iraq « Age of BS | November 25, 2006 | Reply

  3. Geez—– Some Republicans get this better than some of our Democratic Friends!

    Comment by Randy Allgaier | November 25, 2006 | Reply

  4. J: Could be. His credentials are pretty conservative, but he’s far more a moderate than McCain.

    Randy: Only some. Those Dems who don’t get it….well, they have time before 2008 to change their minds 🙂

    Comment by PA_Lady | November 26, 2006 | Reply

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