Saturday, November 25, 2006

Hagel: The world will continue to require realistic, clear-headed American leadership -- not an American divine mission.

Chuck Hagel in tomorrow's Washington Post:

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.

The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq. The cost of combat in Iraq in terms of American lives, dollars and world standing has been devastating. We've already spent more than $300 billion there to prosecute an almost four-year-old war and are still spending $8 billion per month. The United States has spent more than $500 billion on our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And our effort in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, partly because we took our focus off the real terrorist threat, which was there, and not in Iraq.

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.

Not much to say about this but - yes.

The Prez has already pretty much said he won't change anything, depsite dropping the "stay the course" rhetoric. After all, God told him to do this.

How do you argue with that?
I dunno, nyc, but Hagel has been arguing against for a few years now, never more directly or forcefully than this. He even specifically mentions the messianic complex the preznit suffers from and says what the world needs is "realistic, clear-headed leadership" instead.

And yet, I fear you are right that we will continue on the Stand and Bleed course despite the change in administration rhetoric and Rumsfeld's departure.
It's frustrating to me to see that people like Hagel and Feingold--who seem more sane about foreign affairs than many others--are probably not going to be in the Presidential race yet people such as Duncan Hunter, a high-grade moron, are going to run...
Duncan Hunter was the guy who claimed no torture was happening in Gitmo because prisoners received "two types of fruit" for their meals.

You just can't make that stuff up.

He really is a high-grade moron, elizabeth.
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