Hagel Says There is Only a Political Solution to the Iraq Problem

WASHINGTON, July 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At a Capitol Hill briefing held today, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) insisted that the United States should change its course of action in Iraq .

"By any measurement, I think we perpetuate, continue to perpetuate, a failed policy in Iraq ," said Hagel when speaking of the war in Iraq .

During the briefing, hosted by the Cato Institute, Senator Hagel refuted the argument from White House supporters that the US troop surge in Iraq still needs time to secure results.

"The surge has been going on with actual increased American troops since the first part of February and as you measure the results so far, they have not been good. And you take any measurement of that you want: casualties, incidents of violence, civilian deaths, humanitarian disaster, displaced Iraqis, refugees."

The two-term senator from Nebraska said the solution to the problem must be political, not military.

"If in fact we are locked in this vicious cycle of violence that we have been locked in for the past five years, then how do we break that?" he said. "How do we get out of it? General Petraeus has said in open hearings and he is exactly right: There will be no military solution in Iraq , cannot be a military solution. And most agree that just like the Israeli-Palestinian problem; there must be a political reconciliation."

In order to achieve political reconciliation in Iraq , Senator Hagel said: "We are going to have to get the American face off the political system in Iraq ."

"We are clearly seen as the occupiers now in Iraq ," he explained. "That means we have undermined our own ability to influence the outcome."

The Senator also urged the administration to talk with Iran . "There will be, cannot be, any security, stability in the Middle East without Iran ," he said. "We may not like that. We may disagree with their actions. We may find their actions in complete disregard for what we believe...But those are realities we must deal with...And it doesn't change the facts...Iran must be dealt with."

SOURCE Cato Institute