Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hagel again steps up

On Capitol Hill today, Condoleeza Rice got a grilling from Democrats, as expected. Once again, however, I am particularly impressed by Chuck Hagel, former Vietnam grunt:

HAGEL: "Putting in 22,000 more troops is not an escalation?"

RICE: "I think, senator, escalation is not just a matter of how many numbers you put in."

HAGEL: "Would you call it a decrease?"

RICE: "I would call it, senator, an augmentation that allows the Iraqis to deal with this very serious problem that they have in Baghdad."

HAGEL: "Madame Secretary, Iraqis are killing Iraqis. We are in a civil war. This is sectarian violence out of control."

She [RICE] disputed that Iraq was in the throes of a civil war. To that, Hagel said, "To sit there and say that, that's just not true."

So I saw the Bush speech last night. As many others have pointed out, I thought Bush looked scared and stiff. Notably, though, were the talking points about countering Iran's involvment in Iraq by moving a carrier group to the Gulf region. That, along with the reports that we've raided an Iranian consulate seems like Bush is indeed escalating the war no matter how much Rice wants to characterize this as an "augmentation".

You can see the official powerpoint from the White House here.


Urbanpink said...
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Urbanpink said...

Great post, go Hagel (I wonder if he's related to the philospher!). I take heart that Congress may listen to the 70% of Americans against this "policy." The powerpoint looks like a badly designed academic wishlist so departed from reality and a reasonable deal for our troops that it's truly frightening. The part that gets my goat is our President asking our troops to act as security guards for a powerless Iraqi govt. that will have to negotiate with the militias that want our heads. It's a tragic farce (seriously, it's Shakespearean) that I hope will soon be ended with a congressional shut down--with the publically demanded impeachment of P and VP soon to follow.