When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

August 19, 2005

Chuck Hagel's Fretful Vision


My frickin' satellite TV is out, so I'm relying an a backup that has only CNN. Today, on the Wolfe Blitzer Show (or whatever it's called) Chuck Hagel was allowed, or encouraged, to pontificate in an especially headstrong manner. I'm going to have to paraphrase his remarks, because I just don't have access to the transcript yet, but essentially he responded to a question about crafting an "informed opinion" on Iraq with something like:

"Well, all I can do is rely on the same information available to the public, all of which seems to suggest that we're losing, rather than winning, in Iraq." [There were some references suggesting that electricity production is down, etc..]

Well, I beg to differ "Chuck" but you're a Senator who, presumabaly, has access to a great deal more information than we have as a private citizens. Plus you're pulling down the big bucks for your level of authority and responsibility. So just where do you get off making a statement claiming that you're just one of the crowd who sees Cindy Sheehan as credible?

Admittedly the statement is a paraphrase, but the gist of it is accurate. Daily Kos quotes Chuck as saying "Iraq could be worse than Vietnam." And Time Magazine quotes him as saying: "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

Really? Well, what I'd like to know is whether you've determined that nearly all of the milbloggers posting on the internet, as well as other on-the-ground "citizen journalists" like Michael Yon, are misinformed? Because, almost to a man, they're pretty clear that not only are we winning, but that as a factual matter we can't lose, unless we defeat ourselves. And if that's the case, then how can one characterize what you're saying as anything other than spectacularly stupid, or a tantalizing peek at schadenfreude?

Hagel is a conservative Republican, so it's not clear what interest he has in schadenfreude, unless he's in that paleo hot tub with Pat Buchanan. Now, I guess I can understand the idea that "sunny" depictions of the war are unrealistic and irritating, but I just don't see anyone who falls into the category of providing only sunny predictions. Granted, Cheney was off the reservation when he said that the insurgency is "in its last throes," but that could be the case for all we know. However, most people who know something seem to be saying, as one might expect, that Terror is a formidable enemy and that things are likely to get worse before they get better. Yes, they might well get worse. But that simply isn't the same as saying that we're "losing." The Battle of the Bulge in Europe, and Okinawa in the Pacific were both worse than anything that came before. Yet no one with the benefit of hindsight would say we were losing at that point, nor did anyone with sense say that at the time. The only doubts any of us ought to have about the ultimate outcome in Iraq are those resting uncomfortably on the assessments of folks like Chuck Hagel, who, in spite of having better access to information than the rest of us, seems to reap less actual understanding.

For what it's worth I think we're paying a higher price for winning than we ought to be, and part of that responsibility rests with the Bush administration, but I'm certainly not going to support someone whose first impulse is to whine that we're losing.

By the way, this might be a good time to check out Al Qaeda's Easy Seven Stage Master Plan; as long as you recognize that the further they wander from the present the greater the real uncertainty. "Chuck" apparently advocates just handing them Phase II without a fight. (h/t: Protein Wisdom)

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia)

Launched by Demosophist at August 19, 2005 12:31 AM | Missile Tracks

Retaliatiory Launches

This Hagel is really a turncoat. Considerations should be made for a primary challenge.

Posted by: Charlie at August 21, 2005 06:57 PM

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