Hagel On GOP-Killed Webb Legislation
Here's some of what he said after the vote:
"I don't know of an issue more important to a free society that we pay more attention to than the preciousness of our people. When we ask our men and women to serve this country and particularly those who wear the uniform of this nation to carry all the burden, make all the sacrifices, and then we do not respond in a responsible way to their needs, that's wrong.Hagel usually isn’t right about the issues most of us care about but he's been courageous and correct for two years in his criticism of the corrupt and incompetent way the Bush administration has handled Iraq and it's important that we note that.
"And I was part of the debate on this, listened carefully to all the points of view, and I was struck by the fact that somehow the Congress does not have a role to play on matters of war and peace. Constitutionally, of course, that's incorrect.
"But this was not about policy. This was about the right thing to do in regard to our men and women who we ask to defend this country. And if we can't get that right, then I don't know what we can get right. And if we can't do this in an honest, direct way, then we're going to have to go back and reevaluate everything.
"So I think that not only was this a correct and responsible course of action and I was very pleased that I had a number of my Republican colleagues join me on this, but we will be back and I will be introducing later today, with a number of the people up here and with Republican colleagues, another similar amendment that Jim Webb and I introduced a couple of months ago.
"And the last point I would make, when you have veteran organizations, military institutions like the U.S. Officers Association, strongly in support of this, this tells you something. This is not about politics, ladies and gentlemen. This is about doing the right thing for the men and women that we ask to serve our country."