The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Gee George, It Gets Worser and Worser

This ain't not pinko liberal terrorist sympathizer, Ann Coulter.

GOP Senator Says Iraq Looking Like Vietnam - Yahoo! News:

"'We should start figuring out how we get out of there,' Hagel said on 'This Week' on ABC. 'But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur.'

Hagel said 'stay the course' is not a policy. 'By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning,' he said."


When Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch start talking like this I think you can say that's all she wrote. It will be interesting to see how the Right Wing Smear machine spins this. Hagel, after all is an aspiring Presidential candidate who could hardly be said to be playing politics on the issue. These comments are unlikely to endear him to the Right (btw, when can we start referring to them as the Wrongs?), but I doubt we will see any postings about how he beats his wife or how his grandma hates him. Hagel is a decorated Vietnam Vet who received the Purple Heart twice. Oh wait, we already had one of those taken down. I can see it now. People start showing up in Nebraska and at Hagel events wearing band aids.

Over the weekend I have done some further thinking and I have come round on the idea of an exit strategy. Most folks equate this with a deadline. 'We will be out by this date.' But I think it's much more. In fact, we can have an exit strategy without a date certain of departure. We can have an exit strategy in which we explain how we will be leaving the country. We can stipulate a handover period in which a Muslim led force is introduced into the country to maintain(?) stability. Most specifically, the administration needs to stipulate a detailed list of outcomes, objectives, or milestones that we want to see met. Heck, I would glad take one objective from this administration. Last I checked, it's still not clear what the goal is (or was).

I now think David Sirota is right that this starts giving Iraqis an incentive to get with the program to get us out of there. And it establishes that we have no designs on the country and we want to leave. If the President were smart, he would charge the UN with creating a stabilization committee comprised of neutral countries that could monitor the situation and announce when each milestone was met. This independent group would signal that we are not going to game the system. I think this kind of policy is the kind of thing that would bring folks like Clinton (H) and Biden, together with Pelosi and Reid and others singing the siren song of exit strategy. I used to be skeptical, but I am coming to see that, properly designed, this is the right thing to do. But staying the course, as Hagel says and pretending that all is hunky dory just isn't going to work. This isn't someone who gets all his news from CNN and is blinded by the Liberal media. He's from Nebraska for Chrissakes. He heads the intelligence committee. The guy can see what is happening on the ground a whole lot better than the self referential echo chamber the President lives in. "I don't read newspapers." Fine. Do you read intelligence reports?

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