Hagel: ‘The Time For More Troops Is Past,’ McCain’s Plan Is ‘Not Realistic,’ ‘The Wrong Approach’

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a prominent conservative member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said today on MSNBC that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq is “not realistic.”

“The time for more troops is past,” he said. “We don’t want to put more troops in now. Even if we had them, that’s the wrong approach.” Watch it:


Full transcript:

MITCHELL: Let’s talk a bit about some of the plans that the Pentagon is supposedly considering, first of all, sending 20,000 more troops into Iraq, a short-term surge, an effort to try to stabilize Baghdad. Is that realistic? And is that cover for more quickly phasing out and withdrawing?

HAGEL: Andrea, it is not realistic. General Abizaid noted that when he was here last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee. We don’t have the troops. That’s number one.

Number two, even if we did, it’s the wrong approach. The time for more troops is past.

We’ve been in Iraq now almost four years. We went in completely undermanned, under-managed. We didn’t understand what we were getting into. We didn’t have the plans. We should have gone in with three times the troops that we had.

Those days are over. We’re not going to recapture that and go back and unwind those bad decisions.

We don’t want to put more troops in now. Even if we had them, that’s the wrong approach.

There’s not going to be a military resolution that decides the outcome of Iraq. It will be a political solution. It will include the Iraqi people, countries like Iran, Syria, Jordan and other countries around it.

Our options there are very limited right now. I hope that the president will be able to use the Baker-Hamilton commission to build a new bipartisan foundation in order to start moving this country, the United States, out of Iraq.