Return of the Rational Republicans

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), in a November 15 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, in Washington, D.C.

“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.”

He also said: “I believe the United States should begin drawing down forces in Iraq next year” — essentially the same position as the bipartisan “Homeward Bound” resolution, which would begin withdrawing U.S. troops “no later than October 1, 2006.”

As antiwar momentum builds, we are beginning to see the reappearance of a species we all thought was extinct: the rational Republicans.