Senator Chuck Hagel is back from an overseas trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. Accompanying Hagel, Senators Barack Obama and Jack Reed. Senator Hagel, who is retiring from the Senate after this term, still is not saying much about the possibility of him becoming a running mate of Obama.”I have been trying to work as hard as I know how to work on behalf of the people I represent in the state of Nebraska in this country in the last year in the Senate. I’ve had a couple of things I’ve been proud of. One is the G-I Bill we’ve gotten done, passed into law. I’m proud of the G-S-E Bill. If we can get that done, the president said he would sign it. That is something I’ve been working on since 2000. There are two or three other things. I want to stay focused on that. I fully expect I will be in the private sector next year and do not expect to be in anyone’s government in any capacity.”
Regarding Senator Hagel’s trip, he says the situation in Afghanistan is still very serious, especially along the Pakistan border. He says this area provides the perfect training ground for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
“Very difficult area. Not only very dangerous but represents the biggest threat to America’s security interest in the world that strip along the Pakistan-Afghan border. We have to understand the progress of Afghanistan will be much affected as to what happens in Pakistan.”
Hagel says the situation is also serious in Iraq but there are many improvements being seen. He says the there are improvements in security but the governments policing needs to improve. He says we must respect Iraq’s wishes.
“That they would like to have American troops out of Iraq by December of 2010. I don’t think we should fight that. If, in fact, the objective has been, which the administration has always said, the objective has been an independent and sovereign Iraq, capable of governing itself, defending itself and supporting itself, then we have to honor that.”
Senator Hagel also said that we need to thank our troops who have and continue to serve our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.