American politicians lining up in support of Israel: "Hagel, who is considering a possible 2008 presidential race, deviates from this pattern. ''I'm a supporter and friend of Israel,'' he told me, ''but I'm also for a sane situation in the Middle East. We have to worry about the Muslim states. We are increasingly alone in the world.'' While asserting Iran and Syria bear ''some responsibility,'' he talked about a ''combustible environment'' that could ''engulf the whole world.'' To Hagel, ''this is the most dangerous situation we've been in'' since formation of the state of Israel 58 years ago.
Hagel was one of the first public figures last week to propose sending a prestigious former Republican secretary of state -- either James A. Baker III or Colin Powell -- to the Middle East as a presidential envoy. Implicit in that suggestion was the belief that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was not up to mediating the Israeli-Palestinian struggle and that outside assistance was needed."