As pointed out in my previous post, Hagel made quite the radical transition from serious doubts one day - shared with a national audience - to wholesale endorsement the next.
“My concerns have been answered,” Hagel said Tuesday in a telephone interview.
Guard troops will not be used for law enforcement, he said, and will provide support as part of their normal two-week training cycles. “They have to train anyway, and it makes some sense for them to be doing something at that time that we need.”
Hagel said he also was assured by the temporary one-year nature of the mission.
Wow, almost makes you believe in the power of the free press - except Hagel hasn't really answered any questions. For instance, does Hagel no longer believe the National Guard is being over-burdened? Or, for that matter, what assurances does he have that this mission will truly be temporary? If it's all a matter of faith in President Bush, that's not going to cut it with the American people....not anymore, not even in Nebraska.
Meanwhile, some would be surprised to see Hagel's more humble counterpart, Sen. Ben Nelson, emboldened and ready for battle, holding Bush responsible for the years of inaction on border control that have gotten us to this point.
Of course, if I had any faith in President Bush's ability to lead, I would take serious issue with Nelson's eagerness to put aside comprehensive immigration reforms and to focus on securing the border. If Bush had not spent the last six years backing down from any fight with the self-proclaimed king-makers on his party's extreme right-wing, I might be able to take his call for true reform seriously.
Sadly, that's unlikely to prove the case, meaning Nelson could well prove a visionary by long-ago recognizing the Congressional willpower is lacking for anything but the piecemeal compromise he's proposed. That's unfortunate, but - unless a groundswell of public support shakes Republicans in the House from their unthinking and insensitive demands - it may be the best for which we can hope....at least, if you want to see any action taken before November's elections.