Hagel Breaks From McCain on "Surge"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hagel Breaks From McCain on "Surge"

Both Chuck Hagel and John McCain are GOP senators. Both have been mentioned over the years as having presidential ambitions. Both have shown a willingness to break with the administration on economic or foreign policy issues. Both are military vets.

But, when it comes to the Iraq war and McCain's call for a so-called "surge" troop deployment, the Hagel and McCain have little in common. According to this Newsweek article:
Hagel is "obsessed" with the war in Iraq, says his brother Tom, who served with him in Vietnam. "You can't have a conversation with him without this coming up."

During Christmas, Hagel looked "markedly older and grayer than when I saw him this summer down at the beach," says Tom.

In an interview with Newsweek last week, Hagel teared up when he began talking about a Purple Heart ceremony he had attended in August in Lincoln, Neb.

"You're sitting there thinking, 'Was this a waste?' " said Hagel, who voted for the original congressional resolution backing the war despite raising serious doubts about whether the invasion made sense.

... Hagel is not pushing for "Out Now." But he is almost angrily dismissive of the idea of sending an additional 10,000 to 20,000 troops to Iraq.

"Are we going to pacify Baghdad?" he asks. "Are we going to break the militia's stronghold? Are we going to use these troops to propel or force a settlement between the Shias and the Sunnis? What's the objective of it? I will guarantee that there's going to be a lot more American casualties.

... The idea that the Iraqis will respond only to more troops, he says, is "complete folly, unless you're going to kill all the Iraqis."

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