By Jim Lobe
"A long-time US critic of the Iraq war, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, has broken ranks once again in a letter to President George W Bush, Pentagon chief Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging the US to hold direct and comprehensive talks with Tehran. Hagel's letter, which urges a "strategic shift" in efforts, comes amid the increasing clamor for war - and propels Iran to the center of the 2008 presidential race.....
His views are also believed to reflect those of Gates and most of the Pentagon's top brass, even including the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen. According to Clemons, the chief of the US Central Command, the top military commander in the Middle East/Gulf region, Admiral William Fallon, also sent Hagel a letter of appreciation after receiving a copy of the senator's letter......"