Four months ago, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) described the conditions in Iraq as a “low grade civil war.” Today, his view is much more bleak. In an interview with the Omaha World Herald, the Vietnam War veteran said that the country had descended into “absolute anarchy” and the war was “an absolute replay of Vietnam.”
Hagel also blasted the Pentagon’s plan to send 5,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, saying the move was opposed by several four-star generals:
[Hagel] said that in the previous 48 hours, he had received three telephone calls from four-star generals who were “beside themselves” over the Pentagon’s reversal of plans to bring tens of thousands of soldiers home this fall.
Instead, top Pentagon officials are suspending military rotations and adding troops in Iraq. The Pentagon has estimated that the buildup will increase the number of U.S. troops from about 130,000 to 135,000.
“That isn’t going to do any good. It’s going to have a worse effect,” Hagel said. “They’re destroying the United States Army.“
Hagel — unlike Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) — understands that “staying the course” in Iraq isn’t an option.