Sunday, August 21, 2005

If It Walks Like a Duck...

GOP Senator Hagel Says Iraq War Looking Like Vietnam

WASHINGTON - A leading Republican senator said Sunday the war in Iraq is looking more like the Vietnam conflict from a generation ago.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, who received two Purple Hearts and other military honors for his service in Vietnam, reaffirmed his position that the United States needs to develop a strategy to leave Iraq.

"Stay the course is not a policy," said Hagel, a possible White House contender in 2008. "By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning."

Sen. George Allen, R-Va., another possible candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2008, said the formation of a constitution guaranteeing basic freedoms would provide a rallying point for Iraqis.

Political leaders in Baghdad were working to complete the draft of the new constitution in time for the Monday night deadline for parliamentary approval.

"The terrorists don't have anything to win the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq. All they care to do is disrupt," said Allen, who appeared with Hagel on ABC's "This Week."

Hagel said more U.S. troops is not the solution.

"We're past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam," Hagel said. "The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have."

Allen said that unlike the communist-guided North Vietnamese that the U.S. fought, the insurgents in Iraq have no guiding political philosophy or organization. Still, Hagel argued, the similarities are growing.

"What I think the White House does not yet understand — and some of my colleagues — the dam has broke on this policy," Hagel said. "The longer we stay there, the more similarities (to Vietnam) are going to come together."

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www.newsminute.com

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