June 25, 2006

LE_Biden-Hagel.jpg Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel joined Wolf Blitzer on Late Edition yesterday and talked about Dick Cheney and the war. Hagel is taking a hard line against the rhetoric that is being spewed by Cheney and Biden said:

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BIDEN: No, I don't want to respond to him. He's at 20 percent in the polls. No one listens to him. He has no credibility. It's ridiculous…There's guys like me and a lot of others and on the Republican side, Chuck Hagel and Lindsey Graham, John McCain, across the board, who realize that this requires a political solution...

I wish the president -- and maybe he does. I wish the president had a plan, a plan along with the Iraqis how you're going to purge the militia out of the Iraqi military, making up the death squads. Number two, how are you going to get the Sunnis to buy in and give them a piece of the oil revenues in a constitutional amendment that our ambassador was able to carve out last December to get the Sunnis to vote? And how do you keep the neighbors out?

Therein lies the solution. As Chuck said, we're going to have to be leaving there anyway because of the Iraqi -- over time, because of the Iraqi people demanding it, and we can't sustain it. So, what's the political solution here? We should be working on that.

BLITZER: I want Senator Hagel to weigh in as well. Go ahead.

HAGEL: Just a brief comment on the vice president's comments. In a speech I gave on the Senate floor, I specifically targeted that kind of rhetoric. War is a serious business. War should never be held hostage to a political agenda. I think both sides do a great disservice, especially to the men and women doing the fighting and the dying.

Not the people in Washington who are so anxious to send these guys to die and fight, but to them. We do a great disservice, and to our country, when we make this a political issue to say the Democrats did this, the Republicans did this. War is far more serious than that. I complimented Senators Levin and Reid on the floor of the Senate for their amendment. I complimented them, Wolf, because they brought forward a responsible amendment to debate. We didn't do that in Vietnam. And consequently, it was a disastrous ending when, in 1975, and Joe was here and I was here, we just pulled the plug. And we grabbed a hold of a helicopter and got out of Vietnam any way we could. We don't want that kind of ending here. We need to be serious about it. The Congress needs to be part of this. We're not potted plants.

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