Sunday, Mar 25, 2007, 4:41 pm
Hagel Uses the “I” Word
Hope Yen for AP reports:
WASHINGTON - With his go-it-alone approach on Iraq, President Bush is flouting Congress and the public, so angering lawmakers that some consider impeachment an option over his war policy, a senator from Bush's own party said Sunday.
GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of the war, stopped short of calling for Bush's impeachment. But he made clear that some lawmakers viewed that as an option should Bush choose to push ahead despite public sentiment against the war.
"Any president who says, I don't care, or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don't care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed — if a president really believes that, then there are — what I was pointing out, there are ways to deal with that," said Hagel, who is considering a 2008 presidential run.
On Sunday, Hagel said he was bothered by Bush's apparent disregard of congressional sentiment on Iraq, such as his decision to send additional troops. He said lawmakers now stood ready to stand up to the president when necessary.
In the April edition of Esquire magazine, Hagel described Bush as someone who doesn't believe he's accountable to anyone. "He's not accountable anymore, which isn't totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don't know. It depends on how this goes," Hagel told the magazine.
"We have clearly a situation where the president has lost the confidence of the American people in his war effort," Hagel said. "It is now time, going into the fifth year of that effort, for the Congress to step forward and be part of setting some boundaries and some conditions as to our involvement."
"This is not a monarchy," he added, referring to the possibility that some lawmakers may seek impeachment. "There are ways to deal with it. And I would hope the president understands that."