Friday, August 19, 2005

Sen Hagel (R-Nebraska) Let's get out of Iraq- NOW!

    Hagel, a Vietnam veteran [and possible 2008 presidential candidate], acknowledged the U.S. military presence was becoming harder and harder to justify. He believes Iraq faces a serious danger of civil war that would threaten Middle East stability, and said there is little Washington can do to avert this.

    "We are seen as occupiers, we are targets. We have got to get out. I don't think we can sustain our current policy, nor do I think we should," he said at one stop.



    ...

    "... there's this steady unsure sense about where is this all leading -- the constant daily reports on Iraq, our people being killed there, the money being spent there," he added.

    Nebraska has been a solid Republican state in presidential elections for decades. Republicans dominate state politics and hold most elective offices.

    But Hagel said even some who had previously backed Bush strongly on Iraq now felt deep unease.

    "The feeling that I get back here, looking in the eyes of real people, where I knew where they were two years ago or a year ago -- they've changed," he said. "These aren't people who ebb and flow on issues. These are rock solid, conservative Republicans who love their country, support the troops and support the president."

    Hagel said Bush faced a growing credibility gap. "The expectations that the president and his administration presented to the American people 2 1/2 years ago is not what the reality is today. That's presented the biggest credibility gap problem he's got," he said.

    "I hope he has some sense that something's going on out in the country, that there's a lack of confidence that has developed in our position."
In U.S. heartland, anxiety over Iraq, oil

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