Today on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said that Iraq is in a “very defined civil war” and that the Middle East is “the most unstable we’ve seen since 1948.” He also reiterated that the United States needs to begin withdrawing troops within the next six months because staying the course just continues to “kill Americans and put Americans in the middle of a civil war that we have less and less control and influence over every day.”
Full transcript below:
HAGEL: We have a very unstable Middle East, the most unstable we’ve seen since 1948. You can measure that any way you want. The fact is the future of Iraq will be determined by the Iraqi people, just like it was in Vietnam. The answer in my opinion is not to just keep feeding more American troops into it. The Iraqi people have already made some decisions here. We, in fact, are in probably a low-grade — maybe a very defined — civil war. You’ve got corruption. Everywhere. As bad as it’s ever been. You’ve got uncontrollables that we can’t control. We can’t deal with. Iran probably has more influence in Iraq than we do at this point.
WALLACE: You have said that you think we should begin pulling troops out within six months.
HAGEL: I do.
WALLACE: How is that going to make things better?
HAGEL: How is it going to make things better for us to continue to kill Americans and put Americans in the middle of a civil war that we have less and less control and influence over every day? How does that stabilize things? This is going to play out, Chris, on its own. I’m not saying pull out of Iraq. That’s not what I’ve said. I’ve said start withdrawing troops. We have to show the Iraqi people — and this obviously cuts right to the great anti-Americanism by any poll, by any measurements there — that we are not there to predetermine their outcome. We’re not there to control or to govern. They are going to have to do that. Now, the fact is, bottom line, Chris, there are very few options here. We don’t have any good options. We got a mess on our hands in the Middle East.