Hagel: U.S. Should Start Withdrawing Troops From Iraq Within 6 Months

In June, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) voted against the Levin amendment, a “nonbinding proposal [that] did not set a withdrawal deadline, but urged President Bush to start pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq this year.” At the time, Hagel explained his vote:

We should not limit the Commander in Chief’s options in Iraq. That is why I will vote against the Levin amendment.

Just two months later, Hagel’s views have shifted considerably. His position now appears consistent with the Levin amendment. From the Lincoln Journal Star:

The United States needs to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within the next six months, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday, rather than ratcheting up its military commitment now.

With Iraq exploding in sectarian violence and “moving closer and closer to a straight-out civil war,” Hagel said, the Bush administration’s decision to transfer nearly 5,000 additional U.S. troops into Baghdad is “only going to make it worse for us.”

In the end, he said, “feed(ing) more American troop fodder into the fight” could result in “even a worse defeat.”

A diverse group of 12 Democrats recently sent a letter to President Bush expressing their support for the principles of the Levin amendment. Hagel should think about backing up his words with actions and signing on to this effort.