Security

Hagel Says Cheney Criticism Is ‘Complete Nonsense’

Last weekend on Fox News Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney claimed congressional opposition to the administration’s escalation plan undermines the troops. Cheney said “you cannot run a war by committee,” and whatever Congress does “would not affect the president’s ability to carry out his policy.”

Today, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said it “is complete nonsense to say we’re undercutting the support of the troops.” Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, said that as a soldier in 1968, he “would have welcomed the Congress of the United States to pay a little attention as to what was going on.” Hagel added: “What are we about? We’re Article 1 of the Constitution. We are co-equal branch of government. Are we not to participate? Are we not to say anything? Are we not to register our sense of where we’re going in this country on foreign policy?”

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/01/hagel.320.240.flv]

Transcript:

SCHEIFFER: Let me ask you this, Senator. Vice President Cheney says this sort of thing undercuts the troops. What’s your response?

HAGEL: Let me tell you this. I served in Vietnam in 1968. Others did too. Jim Webb, John McCain. John Kerry. Other members in the House. In 1968 when I was there with my brother, worst year, deaths, I would have welcomed the Congress of the United States to pay a little attention as to what was going on. I would have welcomed that. That is complete nonsense to say we’re undercutting the support of the troops. What are we about? We’re Article 1 of the Constitution. We are co-equal branch of government. Are we not to participate? Are we not to say anything? Are we not to register our sense of where we’re going in this country on foreign policy? Bottom line is this: our young men and women and their families, these young men and women who are asked to fight and die deserve a policy worthy of those sacrifices. I don’t think we have one now.