March 23, 2008

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Chuck Hagel appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos to inject a rare respite from Republican spin and say that the surge hasn't worked, much to Stephanopoulos's disbelief:

GS: Now as you point out, the surge has not yielded all the political progress that everybody wanted, but clearly there have been fewer American casualties and the massacres have ended. You were wrong about that, weren’t you?

CH: No, I wasn’t wrong about that. We’ve lost over 900 dead Americans since the surge. Now if you want to dismiss that as “success,” that’ll be your interpretation. The fact is, in the end, all that matters is not a military tactical victory. Of course, when you flood the zone with American firepower, which is superior to anything in the world, we have the best soldiers, the best led, the best equipped (Nicole: the best equipped?) ….

GS: But you didn’t think that would work at the time.

CH: That’s not what I said. That’s not what I said. I said what you will do is you will further bog yourselves down in a situation, making the Iraqis more dependent on you, making it more difficult to get out. In the end, you’re not going to be any closer to a political reconciliation. If all this is working so well, George, then why are the Bush administration now talking about keeping brigades in there at 140,000, larger than what we had when the surge started? Why did Gen. Petraeus say last week—Gen. Petraeus—that there has not been commensurate political progress? That in the end is all that’s going to matter anyway. What the surge was all about, George, was trying to buy time for the Iraqis. They’ve not used that time very well. There’s no question, just like taking Saddam Hussein out, we were going to do that, we were going to do that probably dispatch him pretty quickly. That was never the issue. The issue is what happens after he’s gone.

So now George Stephanopoulos is selling the "surge is working" propaganda? *sigh* Note that neither man made mention of the exponentially higher rates of death for Iraqis (and they're not all "insurgents") or the millions displaced. I don't know about you, but I'm struggling to find any measure of "success" that can be claimed.

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