Monday, March 26, 2007

Hagel's rebellion

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From Reuters:

President George W. Bush should stop being dismissive of opposition in Congress to the Iraq war and it is time that lawmakers set boundaries for U.S. involvement, a Republican senator said on Sunday.

"I think Congress is going to play a role now like we've not played before," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a critic of Bush's Iraq policy from his own Republican Party.

"I am opposed to the president's further escalation of American military involvement. We are undermining our interests in the Middle East, we are undermining our military, we're undermining the confidence of people around the world in what we're doing," Hagel said on ABC's "This Week" program.

"We have clearly a situation where the president has lost the confidence of the American people in his war effort," he said. "It is now time, going into the fifth year of that effort, for the Congress to step forward and be part of setting some boundaries and some conditions as to our involvement."

Well, obviously -- to all points. But it's still good to hear from such a credible critic of the war. As I've argued before, he should forget about 2008 -- he no chance of winning anyway -- and remain "a voice of reason in the Senate, a voice of sanity in a party that hardly has any left, a thorn in Bush's side".

If Congress is to stand up to Bush on Iraq and possibly other military action (e.g., Iran), it will need not just a united and aggressive Democratic majority but credible and courageous Republicans like Chuck Hagel.

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