Hagel is "obsessed" with the war in Iraq, says his brother Tom, who served with him in Vietnam. "You can't have a conversation with him without this coming up." During Christmas, Hagel looked "markedly older and grayer than when I saw him this summer down at the beach," says Tom. In an interview with NEWSWEEK last week, Hagel teared up when he began talking about a Purple Heart ceremony he had attended in August in Lincoln, Neb. "You're sitting there thinking, Was this a waste?" said Hagel, who voted for the original congressional resolution backing the war despite raising serious doubts about whether the invasion made sense. He added, somewhat uncomfortably, that at times he wonders whether he has done enough to try to stop the war.
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Hagel is not pushing for "Out Now." But he is almost angrily dismissive of the idea of sending an additional 10,000 to 20,000 troops to Iraq. "Are we going to pacify Baghdad?" he asks. "Are we going to break the militia's stronghold? Are we going to use these troops to propel or force a settlement between the Shias and the Sunnis? What's the objective of it? I will guarantee that there's going to be a lot more American casualties. And there's going to be a lot more animosity by the Iraqis." The idea that the Iraqis will respond only to more troops, he says, is "complete folly, unless you're going to kill all the Iraqis."
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