The following is an excerpt from TPM Cafe's article Chuck Hagel's Future: All Options on the Table:
Hagel made an articulate, compelling call for a new American comprehensive strategy in the Middle East that includes robust diplomacy, coordination with moderate Sunni regimes in the Middle East and new forms of economic engagement.
Hagel said that the White House keeps focusing on a "military approach" to Iraq. But he stated quite firmly, "the US military will not determine the future of Iraq."
Reed was impressive too -- until he began to focus on his and Hagel's early call for increasing the overall size of the US army. He probably meant "military forces in total" rather than just the "army". Hagel said nothing about this, but Reid made it sound like the key to solving the problem of an over-extended military apparatus is just making it larger.
I think -- and I believe that Hagel believes at some level -- that the first step in solving the "military over-reach" problem is getting better management and figuring out why despite more dollars and resources being thrown at the Pentagon that perceived "security deliverables" are declining.
Hagel said that he would make a statement about his intentions to run for the presidency or not in a few weeks. He reminded listeners that despite Vice President Cheney's recent criticism of Hagel that Congressionaly Quarterly found in a recent survey of 30 key votes that Hagel votes with the Bush administration more than any other U.S. Senator.
Hagel is a classic conservative -- but apparently not the kind of Republican that Dick Cheney likes.
"Used with permission from TPMCafe.com, a service of TPM Media LLC."