I’ve been reluctant to go along with those who wanted to throw Joe Lieberman out of the party as it is worth putting up with him if this is the cost we must pay to have the Democrats in control of the Senate. Maybe we can arrange a swap. While I disagree with Chuck Hagel on most positions, he has two virtues that Lieberman lacks–an accurate view of the Iraq war and integrity.
Today on Meet the Press Lieberman fell back on 9/11 hysteria to justify the war saying, “we’ve been working in the larger context of the war on terrorism, the war against the Islamic radicals who attacked us on 9/11.” He went on to claim “ultimately, there are two exit strategies. One is called victory; the other is called defeat.” It took Republican Chuck Hagel to set the record straight:
First, as I said before, I am not, nor any member of Congress that I’m aware of, Tim, is advocating defeat. That’s ridiculous, and I’m offended that any responsible member of Congress or anyone else would even suggest such a thing. Senator Lieberman talks about his children and grandchildren. We all have children and grandchildren. He doesn’t have a market on that, nor do any of my colleagues. We’re all concerned about the future of this country. But we have an honest disagreement here, and that’s what democracies are about.
Now, the fact is we can talk all we want, and we can go to all the specialists in the world, the fact is, the Iraqi people will determine the fate of Iraq. The people of the Middle East will determine their fate. Now, when we continue to interject ourselves in a situation that we never have understood, we’ve never comprehended, and I think after four years it’s becoming quite clear of that, that tells us something very, very clearly. And we now have to devise a way to find some political consensus with our allies, especially the people in the Middle East, that is going to require to find a political framework for some progress with the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It’s going to require listening to our allies in the Middle East.
You know, Tim, I hear this talk about generals and military involvement. The two top American generals in Iraq in November and December, the last 60 days, both in open testimony and interviews took exactly the opposite approach of what President Bush was talking about on Wednesday night. Now, someone is, is not listening here. There is a major disconnect. And we talk about the future for our country. The future of the Middle East as a region is in play now at a very, very defining time. That’s what we should be thinking about. We need to get out of the bog of where we are of tactical thinking. Of course 50,000 troops in Baghdad are not going to turn that around. That is a tribal sectarian civil war, and we need to do everything we can with some smart thinking.
Let’s just take one thing. Why not take American troops, put them on the border? I hear a lot from this administration about this border being porous, all the terrorists leaking in there. The terrorist problem isn’t the biggest problem today in, in Iraq. Are terrorists there? Yes. It is Iraqis killing Iraqis, Tim. It’s Shias killing Shias. That’s the biggest problem, that’s not going to be solved by the American military.
Video available at Crooks and Liars.