Thursday, January 18, 2007

What's Up, Chuck?

I wish it were ’08 in Nebraska because we can’t get rid of Chuck Hagel soon enough.

He’s really at it now, trying to make the job in Iraq harder for our troops. His continued stand against this war and pursuit of defeat is exactly the morale boost the enemy in Iraq and abroad needs. It is exactly the propaganda they need to muster their own troops and the element needed for winning an insurgency campaign – don’t defeat the opponent’s military, defeat the will of the opponent’s populace. Thus, Chuck Hagel forces our troops to fight an ever-emboldened enemy who keeps being given reasons to fight.

He loves to liken this war to the war he fought in Vietnam and I’m sure the plan to add troops in Iraq makes his heart leap with joy at the opportunity to make the comparison to an escalation during Vietnam.

What he should be thinking about is why we lost Vietnam. He and the others who spilled their blood did not lose the war in Vietnam. The anti-war movement here lost Vietnam for us. Yet he finds himself in their shoes, repeating their performance, demanding surrender for the U.S. as they did, pursuing defeat as they did. He should be at the top of the list of those who should know better than to let that act be repeated. But instead he leads the charge to repeat the process for defeat.

His co-sponsorship of a resolution to cap the number of troops in Iraq is the latest example. He may try to argue that it does not endorse a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, but every position he has taken to this point leads there, as does the ultimate outcome of this position because it eventually leads to our defeat. If Chuck Hagel believes we shouldn’t pursue victory, then the only course left for him to advocate is defeat.

He continues to offer rhetoric and actions toward that very thing, either directly as he did with his embarrassing comments to Condoleezza Rice, or in a disguised manner, such as with this resolution.

He fails to comprehend and misses the opportunity at hand.

As of today, the two centers of violence in Iraq, Al Anbar and Baghdad, have momentum heading in the right direction. The tribal leaders in Anbar are fighting alongside us in the pursuit of Al Qaeda, the protagonists of the Sunni insurgency, as well as sending their young men to join the police and security forces in the fight against Al Qaeda. Iraqi Prime Minister al Maliki has finally decided to take on Muqtada al Sadr, catalyst for the sectarian violence and has arrested over 400 members of al Sadr’s Mahdi Army and several members of its leadership in the last week.

In a military campaign you reinforce success, you reinforce momentum. It’s called exploiting a “gap.” In this case, the gap is not a physical hole in the enemy lines as in a linear war. It is an opening, an opportunity that has been created by the actions of tribal leaders and the Iraqi Prime Minister. Their actions have opened a hole in the defenses and game plan of the problems in Iraq to be exploited, to surge through.

If the timing wasn’t right for striking by reinforcing those two successes when the President gave his speech for the new strategy, it most certainly is now. It is time to exploit the opening, not run and hide.

But Chuck Hagel has joined the leftist Democrats and disgraced a growing number of Nebraskans by very publicly refusing to reinforce success, support the momentum, to pursue victory.

Chuck's irresponsibility in this war never seems to end. Not only is he irresponsible by providing a weekly morale boost to the enemy in Iraq, but he is also irresponsible for not offering intelligent, detailed solutions to the challenges in Iraq. Nor does he address any of the consequences that we are sure to experience, both at home and abroad, should we lose in Iraq.

It seems ironic to me that someone who touts himself as such a foreign policy guru, a self-proclaimed realist, condemning conservative views and scoffing at liberal ones, lacks a plausible position when or plan when it comes to the consequences of his proposed actions and preferred course (defeat) in Iraq. He fails to provide answers to the turmoil and consequences to other nations in the region that are sure to arise if we fail. He fails to provide answers to a militarily weak perception other countries are sure to have of us if we pursue his course for surrender. He fails to address the potential, if not likely, energy crisis that would arise from mass destabilization of the area. He fails to address the likely open genocide that would occur among different factions there. He fails to address how to deal with Iran which would be catapulted into the power broker’s seat for the area. He fails to address how we could ever look the leader of another country in the eye and have him know that they could count on the U.S. for support in any democratic endeavor or pursuit of freedom.

He is long on criticism and incredibly short on answers. Just what the Jihadists ordered in their pursuit of demoralizing the enemy.

Senator Hagel’s justifications for his actions go beyond puzzling to almost laughable. He was on an Omaha radio station this morning and discredited his very own arguments multiple times. But the worse came with his justification for his stand on the war. It happened when the radio personality pushed him on whether or not he was actually representing Nebraskan's with his view (I gathered from the tone of the radio personality that he himself does not think Chuck Hagel’s stand represents that of most Nebraskan’s). Hagel cited the national polls and the results of the elections at a national level as reasons to send his already leftist/defeatist views even farther to the left. But that’s not how Nebraskan’s voted making his argument intellectually bankrupt because Nebraskan's did not swing left in the elections. Sure some Democratic candidates got more votes than Democrats usually do, but at the end of the day we still had three Conservative Republican Congressmen, a Republican Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, etc, etc, etc. We’re still a pretty conservative state. If using the results of the election as he stated is justification for ones words and actions, then Chuck Hagel is not acting in accordance with the election results of the state he is supposed to represent. His views may represent other states, blue ones, but they don’t represent Nebraska. Ultimately his answer which so willingly dismissed the attitudes and voting record of Nebraskans answered the radio personality’s question…”No, he is not representing most of his constituents.”

Simply ask Nebraskan’s if they want to lose the war in Iraq. I’ve been around enough to know they don’t. But Chuck Hagel refuses to represent that view.

His presence, his place in the Republican party hurts us here and across the nation. Hugh Hewitt, on recently did a fine piece on the baggage and damage Senators like Chuck Hagel bring to the party and more importantly conservative ideas.

The damage was apparent in the last election. Many Nebraskan's didn't vote for Republican Pete Ricketts (running against Ben Nelson) in the election because Hagel endorsed him and Pete accepted. There were other issues for the Ricketts campaign, but Hagel’s endorsement didn’t help the cause. As I’ve learned in visiting with many people over the last week, my fellow Nebraskans are now admitting they did not vote Republican, specifically for Ricketts, because of his association with Hagel. I guess my dad wasn’t the only one. He told me, as soon as Chuck went public with his support for Pete that he could no longer vote for Pete, or anyone else who would associate themselves that closely with Chuck Hagel.

Our hope is that the general distaste in the state for Chuck Hagel’s politics comes to a head when it comes to the ’08 election and that the Nebraska GOP sees fit to push him aside. It’s a tall order given his influence in Omaha, but not impossible. The best hope is that he doesn’t seek re-election and one of our two senior Congressmen, Attorney General, or imminently qualified, yet presently unknown candidate run for the seat.

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