Iraq

Cornhuskers for Peace

|

The Nation's John Nichols asks why it's a Middle American Republican who's "taking the lead on the issue that played such a pivotal role in putting Democrats in charge of the House and Senate":

Right now, [Sen. Chuck] Hagel is sounding more realistic and responsible than most if not all of the Democrats who are positioning themselves for 2008 presidential runs. Indeed, with Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, the first senator to call for an withdrawal timeline, out of the running, Democrats could use a candidate who speaks as directly as does Hagel about the need to get out of Iraq. While it is true that Illinois Senator Barack Obama, who may or may not be running, is a Democrat who has started to make some of the right noises, Obama has not begun to equal the directness of Hagel's declaration that: "The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation—regardless of our noble purpose."

[Via David Beito.]

Advertisement

NEXT: How Soccer Explains the World, Part II

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation — regardless of our noble purpose”

    100,000 – 600,000 Iraqi dead. 3,000 Coalition dead. $400 billion spent. All for something that could have been foreseen at the outset.

    *sigh*

  2. Sen. Hagel is not exactly a shining star in this whole thing. Prior to the invasion, indeed prior to the vote on the Joint Resolution, he stumped against the invasion along with Dick Armey. Of course, when push came to shove he voted lockstep with the rest of the Republican Party to enact the Joint Resolution and the invasion of Iraq. Yet another case of talking the talk but not being able to walk the walk.

  3. John Kerry, who ranks in the top five of contenders for the 2008 Democratic nomination, has been calling for a speedy withdrawal for about a year now. Nichols ignores this because he’s an activist more than a journalist, and his piece is meant to spur the party as a whole into action, rather than describe what Democratic leaders are actually doing.

  4. John Kerry, who ranks in the top five of contenders for the 2008 Democratic nomination…

    …should the Democrats want to lose again.

  5. Any Democrat who supports redployment will beat any Republican who wants to stay the course.

  6. What did Kerry support in 2004? It was either more troops, less troops, a draft, do everything the same only more of it, or do it all different and smarter. All of the above? Really, I can’t remember! Maybe he shouldn’t run in ’08…

  7. Wow, that’s amazing!

    Your recollecation of what Senator Kerry had to say about the Iraq War are exactly the same as the message the Republicans put out about him during the campaign!

    What are the chances?

  8. Anyway, to answer your question, Kerry was saying we need to engage other countries with an interest in (read: might make trouble in) Iraq, and transition to an international force (read: and away from an American force), in order to head off a disaster and allow political life in Iraq to resume.

    I know, crazy stuff. Surrender to terrorism, right? Screw the French! Good thing Bush won.

    Remember how much we used to talk about France? Good times. Serious stuff.

  9. Oh come on, joe, be serious, if the Dems want to lose they can guarantee it by nominating John Kerry.

    He’s disqualified just by his inabilty to deliver a simple gag line, if nothing else. Shit, even W doesn’t blow jokes like that.

    It’s just like in 2000 when all they needed to win was run Bill Clinton. Oh, I know, they couldn’t. But they had a perfect chance to run Al Gore as Bill Clinton, but look what they did instead.

    And even at that he almost won. And would have won if only the Democratic operatives in Palm Beach and Broward Counties hadn’t had their attempt to get enough unmarked ballots made into Gore votes stopped.

    If the Democrats want to win they need to follow the advice of one of their old notables and “Go west, young man”. That’s where they’ll find the candidate to win.

    It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve been indifferent to who might have won in every election since around 1968. They can’t lose my vote. It’s not available to them.

    I am now able to treat politics as free entertainment in my declining years.

  10. “Oh come on, joe, be serious, if the Dems want to lose they can guarantee it by nominating John Kerry.”

    I know what you mean. The skills that make for a good president aren’t the same ones that make for a good candidate.

    Gag lines? That’s what you want out of your president?

    Did you hear the one about 2900 American soldiers in Iraq?

  11. Gag lines? That’s what you want out of your president?

    No, joe, truth be told most of the time I don’t want a president at all.

    However the people who do seem to want one that can more or less deliver a speech. See your second paragraph. Before you guy gets to be prez he has to win. Even if Kerry has the potential to be a good president (which I doubt) he does not have what it takes to win a national election.

  12. Wasn’t this article about Chuck Hagel and timelines of troop withdraw? Oh yeah… it was.

    First – I’m a former Nebraskan and Chuck Hagel represents the majority of my experience with politics over 15 years living there. It’s pretty independent and usually pretty reasonable with a surprising amount of libertarian leanings on a lot if issues… That said…

    Timelines of troop withdraw have been (and probably should be)wildly rejected by the military community. Hagel’s absolutely right – Militaries are designed to fight and win wars, especially ours, but nation building just won’t work. Unfortunately, it’s too late for that. We’re there and telling our enemies exactly when we’ll leave and sticking to that schedule with disregard to the progress being made in our nation-building efforts is a recipe for disaster and renewed attacks on pro-American Iraqis and renewed resentment of America by the people we promised to help. It’s just too late…

    As for the subplot of this thread – Al Gore didn’t even carry his home state in 2000 and THAT is a bigger clue to his failure than any supreme court actions. And John Kerry was an idiot regardless of his ability to make bad jokes which insult the intelligence of an enormous number of citizens who’ve volunteered in military service. Also – a recent study showed him DEAD LAST in desirability among 20 current political figures. So he clearly isn’t in the “Top 5”.

  13. I’m prayin’ for Kerry to run in ’08.

    Just to watch Hillary mash him into a runny red paste.

  14. “We’re there and telling our enemies exactly when we’ll leave and sticking to that schedule with disregard to the progress being made in our nation-building efforts is a recipe for disaster”

    Looks like the disaster is cooking up pretty well right now.

    Setting a time line has two strengths: 1) You can claim it is your schedule, not the enemy’s that is determining the departure date. 2) It forces the Iraqi government to take serious steps to get ready if it wants to survive. [3 – 1 odds the Iraqi government doesn’t last 2 years after the coalition pullout under ANY circumstances.]

  15. [3 – 1 odds the Iraqi government doesn’t last 2 years after the coalition pullout under ANY circumstances.]

    I wouldn’t take that bet at 100 to 1 odds.

  16. R C Dean,

    Why would you think that?

    George W Bush, who is much more charimatic, had a higher approval rating, and was in the incredibly powerful position of an incumbent president during wartime, just barely managed to squeak out a win over Kerry in 2004.

    Anway, I think its sooooooo cute the way people continue to write Kerry off early. Yup, no way he’ll be able to take down Dean -er, Clinton. And the geneneral election? Fuggitaboutit – Bush is going to win in a landslide.

    If I remember correctly, you were proclaiming that the election would be a landslide as late as July or August 2004. Maybe it’s time to put a little less faith in your feelings.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.