Hagel: "Iraq could be worse than Vietnam"

Via Daily Kos:

Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska, speaking to veterans back home:

The Bush team sent in too few troops to fight the war leading to today’s chaos and rising deaths of Americans and Iraqis. Terrorists are “pouring in” to Iraq.

Basic living standards are worse than a year ago in Iraq. Civil war is perilously close to erupting there. Allies aren’t helping much. The American public is losing its trust in President Bush’s handling of the conflict.

And Hagel’s deep fear is that it will all plunge into another Vietnam debacle, prompting Congress to force another abrupt pullout as it did in 1975.

“What we don’t want to happen is for this to end up another Vietnam,” Hagel told the legionnaires, “because the consequences would be catastrophic.”

It would be far worse than Vietnam, says Hagel, a twice-wounded veteran of that conflict, which killed 58,000 Americans.

Rumsfield admits it may take as long as 12 years to defeat the insurgents. He said Iraq’s security forces will have to finish the job because American and foreign troops will have left the country by then. … Rumsfeld said he is bracing for even more violence. “We’re not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years.”

Meanwhile, Bush says:

Our nation’s mission in Iraq is difficult, and we can expect more tough fighting in the weeks and months ahead. Yet I am confident in the outcome. The Iraqi people are growing in optimism and hope. They understand that the violence is only a part of the reality in Iraq. Each day, Iraqis are exercising new freedoms that they were denied for decades…

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