Thursday, August 25


Will Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NEB) buck his own party and hold Senate hearings on the Iraq War as did J. William Fulbright (D-AR) during the Vietnam conflict?

As the nation shuns the war, Hagel is becoming the principled face of revulsion from within, to the point of saying Bush should have met with antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan, who lost a son in Iraq. Reminded last month on NBC's ''Meet the Press" that Vice President Dick Cheney called him ''wrong" and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called him ''flat wrong," Hagel said: ''I watched 58,000 Americans get chewed up over a process of 1961 to 1975 . . . during a time when in fact we had a policy that was losing. And the members of Congress were interestingly silent and absent in asking tough questions. As long as I'm a United States senator, I will do everything I can to ensure that we have a policy worthy of these brave young men and women who are sacrificing their lives and doing the things that they do for this country. I don't think that policy is there today."

I'm prone to be wary of "Hagel as hero" because of his connections to black box voting and the questionable circumstances surrounding his two Senate elections. But at this point I'll take help wherever it comes, and it certainly doesn't hurt the public debate to have a war-hero Midwest Republican speaking the truth about the administration's handling of this war.


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