Monday, March 24, 2008



Republican operatives and the 66 lobbyists running the McCain campaign know that the most dangerous message floating around-- one that demolishes the whole slick McCain hype machine-- is that a vote for McCain is a vote for a third term for the hated George Bush and his catastrophic policies and agenda. Every single time that gets talked about, a McCain surrogate is screaming how it isn't true and how Democrats have made it all up.

Interestingly, one of McCain closest colleagues in the U.S. Senate-- not counting the sycophantic office seeking Lieberman and Graham (each of whom wants to get out of the Senate and ride McCain's Double Talk Express into the cabinet)-- is Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Hagel has been telling friends recently that he doesn't think he can endorse McCain. Why not? I mean, not only were they close personally, but their conservative voting records are almost identical. Almost; of late, Hagel has seen the folly of supporting Bush's war agenda and, while McCain saw that agenda as his ticket to the White House, Hagel saw it as a travesty. He says he can't support McCain because... he opposes a third term for George Bush. Molly Peterson reports for Bloomberg today after Hagel went public on ABC-TV yesterday:
Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said long-held disagreements with the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War may prevent him from endorsing fellow Republican Senator John McCain's presidential bid.

"When I endorse someone, or when I work for someone, or commit to someone, I want to be behind that person in every way I can,'' Hagel, who supports a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, said today on ABC's This Week."John and I have some pretty fundamental disagreements over the future of foreign policy.''

The U.S. needs a "clear plan'' for ending the war, said Hagel, who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and plans to retire from the Senate when his second term ends in January.

"We're going to have to start working our way out of this,'' he said. "I think we're in a quagmire.''
McCain said last week that pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq would have "disastrous consequences.'' President George W. Bush's decision last year to send 30,000 more troops to Iraq has proven successful, McCain said March 20 in London after meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Hagel disagreed, saying that strategy, known as the surge, would make it more difficult to withdraw from the region.

"If all of this is working so well, then why is the Bush administration now talking about keeping brigades in there at 140,000, larger than what we had in there when the surge started?'' Hagel said.

Hagel and McCain are both considered war heroes. You don't hear Hagel bragging about it much, but he actually was a hero. McCain never shuts up about it and is the biggest braggart in the Senate and there are probably as many people who have looked at the records who think he was actually more a traitor than a hero or, if not a traitor, just an insubordinate and unstable incompetent who managed to crash up half a dozen planes and eventually-- inevitably-- wound up getting shot down and in a prisoner of war camp. In any case, Hagel fought in the war while McCain was in prison. McCain wants more war and Hagel sees it for what it is on the ground-- he was in the infantry-- not dropping bombs on civilians from 20,000 feet in the air. This mornin's VetVoice marked the 4,000 military death in Iraq by pointing out that the 25 servicemen killed in the last two weeks is even more significant than crossing the arbitrary 4,000 mark. It seems to prove, once again, that McBush's shrill insistence that surge is working, is just propaganda.
American forces have just experienced the most violent two-week period in Iraq since September 2007. Unfortunately, I'm afraid this fact will be lost in the media coverage over the number 4,000 during the next several days.  Of the two significant numbers this week--4,000 killed during war and 25 in the last two weeks--the latter figure is far more significant with regard to the current situation on the ground.

We hear talk of attacks against Americans "ebbing," ceasefires holding, and of the situation in Iraq being "not that fragile," but this is all a bunch of happy-talk nonsense.  Between March 10 and March 23, 25 American soldiers were killed in Iraq.  The last two-week period in which U.S. forces sustained similar losses was between September 14 and September 27, when 26 were killed--a period that capped off the bloodiest summer of the war.

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