Money, Mouth

by Henry Farrell on August 22, 2005

As Kieran “says”:, Chuck Hagel is now talking bluntly about the Iraq quagmire. But as Matt Yglesias has noted many times, prominent Republican legislators who are unhappy about administration policy have been all talk and no action. What could Republican dissenters in the Senate be doing? Let’s ask “Hagel himself”: :

bq. More than thirty years ago, the former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, J. William Fulbright, held hearings on Vietnam that raised critical questions about U.S. policy. Fulbright received criticism for holding public hearings on Vietnam, especially with a President of his own party in office. Fulbright later wrote that he held those hearings, “in the hope of helping to shape a true consensus in the long run, even at the cost of dispelling the image of a false one in the short run.” Today we must not be party to a false consensus on Iraq or any other foreign policy issue.

Hagel drew this analogy back in January of this year; he hasn’t done much about it since. While he and his colleagues have asked a few sharpish questions of generals and others, they haven’t cared to demand the kind of “concerted examination”: of the conduct of the war (and whether the US should withdraw) that Fulbright instigated. Hagel is an influential member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee; if he demanded proper hearings it could have consequences. Time for him to put up, or shut up.

Update: “Mark Leon Goldberg”: has similar thoughts.

Update 2: modified slightly following comments.