Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hagel Deals Straight on War and Dissent

There has not been a lot in the last 20 years or so to make me proud of my home state of Nebraska from a political point of view, but -- much as the Yellow Dog hates to admit it -- I do occasionally find myself cheering on the forthright talk on Iraq from Republican Chuck Hagel.

With thanks to Thomas McCullock, here's Hagel giving his view on the right and responsibility to dissent on matters of war:

"The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform. This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties. The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration’s policies.

"Vietnam was a national tragedy partly because Members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the Administrations in power until it was too late. Some of us who went through that nightmare have an obligation to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam to not let that happen again. To question your government is not unpatriotic – to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices. "

As Thomas points out, Hagel, unlike the Chickenhawk-in-Chief George W. Bush, is a Vietnam veteran with two Purple Hearts. And, by the way, what does it say about Nebraska's other Senator, DINO (Democrat in Name Only) Ben Nelson, that I tend to agree with Hagel more often than with him?