Will Hagel's position benefit Bush?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sen. Chuck Hagel is right about one thing he said about his decision to offer a resolution opposing President Bush's plan to "surge" an additional 21,500 troops into Iraq.

"Any elected leader who is worthy of anyone's vote has a responsibility to something greater than yesterday's poll," he told the Associated Press.

The Nebraska senator was responding to speculation that the resolution -- offered with Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Joseph Biden of Delaware as well as fellow Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Main -- was a ploy to put him in better position to run for the presidency in 2008.

The senator said his office had received about 3,000 contacts since his announced his opposition to the president's plan, about a third of them from Nebraska and about a third of the total opposed to his position.

It has also put him at odds with the leading Republican presidential contender, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a longtime friend, as noted in a multi-page Newsweek layout last week.

But we have to wonder whether the resolution is more likely to better Hagel's position against the war as the election year approaches, or provide cover for President Bush should his troop-surge plan fail.

If it does, the administration might contend that it did the best it could in the face of opposition by Hagel, et. al.

Whatever the outcome, it will be innocent Iraqis, as well as dead and wounded American and coalition troops who pay the price.

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