Senator Kerry's decision not only to invoke Senators Lugar and Hagel in criticizing Mr. Bush's conduct of the war in Iraq but to do it twice in the debate Friday invites a look at what these two senators have been advancing." Two Republicans, respected, both on the Foreign Relations Committee," is how Mr. Kerry characterized them. But what is Lugar-Hagelism?
One indicator came on July 24, 2001, when the Senate voted 96 to 2 to renew the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. The act helps deny Iran and Libya money that they would spend on supporting terror or acquiring weapons of mass destruction. The two senators who opposed the measure? Messrs. Lugar and Hagel.
Another indicator came on November 11, 2003, when the Senate, by a vote of 89 to 4, passed the Syria Accountability Act authorizing sanctions on Syria for its support of terrorism and its occupation of Lebanon. Mr. Hagel - along with Mr. Kerry - didn't vote. Mr. Hagel met in Damascus in 1998 with the terror-sponsoring dictator, Hafez Al-Assad, and returned to tell a reporter about the meeting, "Peace comes through dealing with people. Peace doesn't come at the end of a bayonet or the end of a gun."
Feature, as well, the lineup on April 6, 2001, when 87 members of the Senate sent President Bush a letter saying Yasser Arafat should not be invited to meet with high-level officials in Washington. The letter also faulted the Palestinians for using violence against Israel. Messrs. Lugar and Hagel did not sign the letter. When, on May 22, 1998, the Senate, by a vote of 90 to 4, passed the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act, imposing sanctions on foreigners who help Iran's missile program, Mr. Lugar fetched up among the four senators who voted against the measure.
These columns, in a July 10, 2003, editorial headlined "Ayatollah Lugar," have already reported on how Mr. Lugar watered down the Iran Democracy Act that was introduced by Senators Brownback, Schumer, Kyl, Inouye, and others. On April 18, 2002, when the Senate, by 88 to 10, voted to ban the import to America of Iraqi oil until Iraq stopped compensating the families of Palestinian Arab suicide bombers, Messrs. Lugar and Hagel were among the handful who voted to bring in the oil.
Mr. Kerry has a lot in common with Mr. Hagel; Mr.Hagel is also a decorated Vietnam veteran who is now a multimillionaire. Mr. Kerry has a lot in common with Mr. Lugar, too; they are both former Navy officers. Mr. Lugar has been in the Senate for 27 years, while Mr. Kerry has been there, and serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Mr. Lugar now chairs, for 19 years.
The bottom line is that Messrs. Hagel and Lugar (Hagar, is how their names can be contracted) want a weaker stance than most other senators against the terrorists in Iran and Syria and the West Bank and Gaza and against those who help the terrorists. They are more concerned than most other senators about upsetting our erstwhile allies in Europe - the French and Germans - who do business with the terrorists. No wonder Mr. Kerry has taken to citing them as his kind of Republicans.