"Hagel: ‘We Need To Find A New Strategy, A Way Out Of Iraq’"
Today on CNN’s Late Edition, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) delivered a blistering critique of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.
Hagel said, “The American people are not going to continue to support, sustain a policy that puts American troops in the middle of a civil war.” He added, “So we need to find a new strategy, a way out of Iraq, because the entire Middle East, Wolf, is more combustible than it’s been probably since 1948, and more dangerous, and we’re in the middle of it.” Watch it:
If Hagel is looking for a responsible way out of Iraq, he should take a look at the American Progress plan, Strategic Redeployment.
BLITZER: I don’t know about you, but I was pretty surprised by Senator Warner’s comments, given the fact that from day one he’s been an ardent supporter of the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq.
HAGEL: Well, I agree with Chairman Warner’s assessment. Carl essentially said the same thing. We are going to have to find a new strategy. Let’s start with this very clear understanding, and Carl noted it. The future of Iraq is going to be determined by the Iraqi people. It will not be determined here in Washington.
Now, that is a fact of life as far as I’m concerned, and we are now in a situation where we have very few options. Our options are limited. The American people are not going to continue to support, sustain a policy that puts American troops in the middle of a civil war.
Let’s also examine what the Iraqi parliament did about three days ago, when they voted to go ahead and allow the 18 provinces in Iraq to start thinking about breaking up into autonomous regions. Now, they can’t activate that for 18 months, but these are the kind of political decisions that are going to have to be made by the Iraqis. We do need to change some kind of course here.
Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton’s commission is going to come back in by the end of the year with some new recommendations. That’s a hopeful sign, finally, that we’re getting another point of view. Also, this issue is going to be forced upon us by the U.N. because by the end of this year, coalition forces, the legal mandate to have U.N. forces in there, including the United States, is up.
So we need to find a new strategy, a way out of Iraq, because the entire Middle East, wolf, is more combustible than it’s been probably since 1948, and more dangerous, and we’re in the middle of it.