By Cynthia Tucker

Hagel Is Exactly The Right Choice For Defense Secretary

January 12, 2013 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 44 Comments A+ / A-
Hagel Is Exactly The Right Choice For Defense Secretary

Chuck Hagel has committed unpardonable sins. He has violated the GOP commandment — popularized by Ronald Reagan — against criticizing his fellow partisans. Worse yet, in the eyes of those partisans, he has castigated the warmongering imperialists who dragged the nation into a disastrous invasion of Iraq.

Recipient of two Purple Hearts as an enlisted man in Vietnam, Hagel came back from that war a staunch defender of U.S. intervention in Southeast Asia, according to an insightful 2007 profile in The New Republic. And during his years as a Republican senator from Nebraska, he accumulated a conservative voting record. But, in writer John Judis’ account, Hagel’s long-suppressed doubts about Vietnam led him to become a vociferous critic of the invasion of Iraq.

That’s why so many Republicans are vehemently denouncing President Obama’s decision to name Hagel to head the Pentagon. No matter that they have come up with phony charges about his hostility toward Israel or his naivete toward Iran; the GOP’s neoconservatives are really worried that Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense will highlight their recklessness and force them to publicly atone.

It’s about time. In recent years, most reasonable foreign policy experts and regular citizens have concluded that the decision to oust Saddam Hussein was a catastrophe. It cost at least a trillion dollars — ushering in the huge deficits that conservatives now claim to loathe — and thousands of American lives, as well as the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

And though you seldom hear this mentioned, the U.S. invasion of Iraq also strengthened Iran. Think back to that well-publicized photograph of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein in 1983. Back then, Hussein had nominal American support because his Sunni-dominated regime provided a useful counterweight to Iran, which is dominated by Shiites. Now, the Shiite majority controls Iraq, and its members have kissed and made up with their Iranian co-religionists.

But the neoconservatives who brought us this misadventure have suffered no consequences. Heck, they’ve shamelessly moved on to clamoring for war with Iran. Among others, William Kristol, Dan Senor and the Kagans — Yale professor Donald and his sons, Frederick and Robert — remain respected members of the conservative foreign policy elite. That doesn’t even count such long-serving politicians as Sen. John McCain, who continues to insist that the so-called surge “won” Iraq.

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Hagel Is Exactly The Right Choice For Defense Secretary Reviewed by on . Chuck Hagel has committed unpardonable sins. He has violated the GOP commandment -- popularized by Ronald Reagan -- against criticizing his fellow partisans. Wo Chuck Hagel has committed unpardonable sins. He has violated the GOP commandment -- popularized by Ronald Reagan -- against criticizing his fellow partisans. Wo Rating:

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  • ChristoD

    The article summed up the Dubya Presidency to ‘T’. An unmitigated disaster with the Iraq misadventure the poster child of their disasterous 8 years in office. What I don’t get is why Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were not tried for high crimes and misdemeaners for KNOWINGLY lying our way into the war and then conducting a disastrous execution of the war, post invasion and the initial ‘Mission Accomplished’ fraud. Clinton gets impeached for lying about b— j— and these traitors get off with writing memoirs, collecting a pension and criticizing Obama for FINISHING the job in Iraq that should never have been. ‘America, we have a problem’.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

      And it’s just not the war, they deliberately ignored 3 warnings from the CIA/FBI of an imminent al Qaeda attack on Amereican soil and instead ofl putting these agencies on high alert to try and stop the attack; they sent them off to find an excuse for starting the war with Iraq. Because they were distracted with another directive, they missed some clues that could have prevented 9/11 and not only saved 3,000 American lives, but also possibly kept us out of the war in Afganistan. And maybe if 9/11 hadn’t happened, Bush, Cheney and Runsfeld wouldn’t have had enough to lie and distort so that Congress would never have approved going to war with Iraq. Just why aren’t these three guys in jail for 10,000 cases or more of manslaughter and more???

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        I agree. Admittedly, the intelligence warnings lacked specificity and I doubt anything could have been done to prevent 9/11/01, but the GOP cavalier attitude and ambivalence are troubling. If they had done something, anything, even warning of an impending terrorist attack on U.S. soil, I would have been satisfied. Instead, our former President focused on reading primers to schoolchidren and the Republican Congress did what they do best: act pompous, do nothing, and collect their undeserving salaries.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

          Yes, it’s unfortunate that it can’t be said conclusively that Bush’s and Cheney’s inaction resulted in not being able to stop the attack. But it seems that being president and vice-president these two should be at leastl chargeable with an offense of dereliction of duty in their capacity to protect America, in having deliberately done nothing in the face of 7 warnings that an attack on the homeland was imminent. With the latest release of Whitehouse papers, it’s now clear that the CIA had briefed the Whitehouse 7 times from 5/1 to 8/6 (within about a month of the attack) with one briefing stating “Bin Laden determined to strike on US soil” and “estimate attack will come within days”; and despite these warnings – Bush took the entire month of August on vacation at his Texas Ranch – tying Nixon for the longest vacation ever taken by a president – and without having authorized the CIA to spend the money needed for a high alert status and to keep him informed on any leads they might gain related to an attack. And then on returning from vacation ,no meeting was held on terrorist activities until 9/6 and then the meetings had been downgraded to a deputies-only level.

          Two of men ultimately determined to have participated in the preparations had actually been apprehended – one in Florida was deported and one in Minnesota was in jail – the one in jail for suspicious activity at a flight school. And as I understand, the CIA was aware of other suspicious flight school activity in the country, I believe in Arizona, but because they were not focused on an impending attack, no one tied these events together. And in one of the releasted documents, it was discovered that several members of in the CIA counterintelligence unit doing the surveillance, actually considered requesting transfers from their units in early July because they feared being blamed for an attack that was coming with the Whitehouse totally refusing to heed their warnings.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

            One of the 9/11 terrorists attended Embry Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He is suspected to be one of the “pilots” that flew one of the passenger airliners into one of the Twin Towers.
            In defense of our intelligence agencies, it is not easy to determine which foreign students are in the USA for nefarious reasons and which ones are here to improve their skills and return to their homelands to contribute to the betterment of their societies. I go to Daytona Beach fairly often (I live in Central Florida) and see large numbers of foreign students taking classes at Embry Riddle. Short of someone acting suspiciously or making anti-American claims I can’t imagine how the FBI or any other intelligence agency can determine wether or not they are potential terrorists.
            BTW, I agree with everything that has been said on this thread regarding this issue, I simply want to point out the difficulties of separating the good from the bad guys. Let alone obtaining the information that would have been needed to prevent that tragedy. As someone else said, that worst charge that could be made against Bush and Cheney on this specific issue is dereliction of duty, inasmuch as they should have at least warned the nation about an impending terrorist attack on U.S. soild, and asked everyone to be alert and report suspicious activities.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Sehler/100000396279499 John Sehler

        Condi Rice the N.S.A. Chief during the Bush Debacle was warned several times about the planned terrorist attacks by Richard Clark the Terrorist Chief who was summarily sent packing and demoted.

      • nobsartist

        Take into account rumsfield announcing that 2.5 TRILLION was missing from the pentagon on 9/9/2001 and then 2 days later, an “object” crashed into the pentagon right where the audit was being conducted and all of the records and auditors were destroyed and killed.

        Odd.

        What else is odd is that no TITANIUM jet engines were seen in the “wreckage”.

      • one_veteran

        You failed to mention that fat lier Carl Rove.

    • charleo1

      Many, many people were concerned about the precedent set by not investigating how,
      “we,” got it so wrong in Iraq. That not to go back, and see where the failings occurred,
      that caused such a self inflicted injury, is an invitation to repeat those same mistakes.
      Perhaps causing even more harm the next time. Indeed, here we are practically on the
      precipice of yet another preemptive, Middle Eastern War, based on the intelligence of
      the CIA, NSA, and most probably more opaque intergovernmental agencies, of which
      we, the public can neither support, or rule out the necessity of military intervention.
      What Iraq should teach us, is it is possible to mislead Congress, the Press, and most
      of the Public. Be horribly wrong, and still have the Right Wingers of the Country, (Dick Cheney,) asking for his valued opinions on world affairs, concerning war, and peace. I doubt with a thorough investigation that would still be true. At least in Mr. Cheney’s case.
      But A new President Obama said we are looking forward, and not back. Having much
      on his plate, he probably envisioned his Presidency being dragged down in a divisive
      partisan fight, when there was so many urgent issues to be addressed. Well, the Country
      did find out one thing. What the Republican Party did with the olive branch Mr. Obama
      offered them, by not looking back.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fern.woodfork Fern Woodfork

      I Know Cause This Man Seen War Close Up And Will Not Rush Into One Plus He Going To Remove The Fat From The Defense Budget!! They Don’t Like That Not One Little Bit Cause Most Of Them Never Served And Always Ready To Start A War Cause They Make Money From Them!!!

    • nobsartist

      The AWOL coke head was found guilty of war crimes by the Malaysian government and cannot leave the US without the threat of being arrested.

      I hate to say it but nobody heard of Obama 5 years before he was elected and after watching him in action it is sort of hard to determine exactly who he is trying to help.

      I know for a fact, he isnt doing ANYTHING to help the average American and that is exactly how the bush crime family has operated for the last 60 years.

      So who is Obama really?

      Friend or foe?

      • ChristoD

        nobsartist, WHO is the coke head you are referring to ? You are having a hard time understanding the Obama benefits to the counrty ? Is your last name Van Winkle ?

        • nobsartist

          Just crawl out from under a rock? Unfamiliar with bush? I am not seeing any investigations on the banks, wall street, oil companies and illegal invasions. Have you? I havent seen much action on jobs either, just bailouts for the states and large corporations.

          Perhaps you have some success stories you can share with all of us.

          • Sand_Cat

            No real action to reject Bush illegal extensions of executive power, either.

            Obama seems like an intelligent and affable guy, but hasn’t done much of anything to reverse the country’s decline into an anti-democratic corporate kleptocracy. He may have slowed it a bit, but all that does is make it easier to accept for most, like the frog that doesn’t realize it’s being boiled if it’s done gradually.

            Someone on one of the sites I visit called him “Obusha,” and in all too many ways, it fits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    Republicans praised Chuck Hagel’s record and patriotism for years, until Barack Obama nominated for a high Cabinet position. When President Obama nominated Hagel he demonstrated bipartisanship. By nominating a man with excellent military credentials and an exemplary record, President Obama demonstrated that he puts country ahead of politics. By nominating a man who showed uncharacteristic courage when he voice concern over the influence the Jewish lobby exerts in American policy-making, and when he suggested giving diplomacy a chance in dealing with Iran before resorting to lethal force, he alienated two powerful lobbies and interest groups that depend on continuous warfare and international crisis to subsist. In summary, Chuck Hagel committed political sacrilege and, on top of that, he was nominated by the man the Tea Party loves to hate. No wonder they are after his head!

    • latebloomingrandma

      America soundly rejected a Romney administration, who wanted to increase the size of the military. Sure, Sen. Hagel should be grilled by the Senate armed Forces Committee, but the President who soundly won re-election deserves to have his choice of Cabinet officers and put forth his type of foreign policy. Every other president did. The country has war fatigue and would like to have a different policy that does not always involve war.

      • ChristoD

        You folks seem to want to ignore the fact that the Republicans don’t CARE what we think. They didn’t CARE when 65% of the population told them to drop the Impeachment proceedings against Clinton knowing that it was a waste of time and a vendetta against Clinton and they don’t CARE what we think about their obstructionism, etc. The Democrats, to their credit, SHOULD have proceeded with SOMETHING against Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, and would have exposed their lies, heavy handedness, torture decrees, bad judgement and total incompetance but didn’t for the good of the country. THAT sums up the difference between the parties.Republicans have turned into ideological robots because they are getting their butts handed to them legislatively and Democrats just keep trucking along protecting the working folks and ding what they feel is right for the country.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

          Christo, you are preaching to the choir.

          • ChristoD

            I get that Dominick but, I am trying to make people aware of stuff that perhaps they weren’t aware of or haven’t crystalized in their minds for them to use the info when in a ‘discussion’ with their conservative family members or friends (a rare happening for sure since the right seems to only be good at shouting and has no idea what listening means). I also enjoy writing my opinion, it allows me to vent. By te way are you an alto or soprano ? ;-)

      • JSquercia

        Often overlooked is the fact that Hagel was Grunt in Nam and as such has a far different Perspective than most Defense Secretaries not to mention the war loving but non-serving Neocon Chicken Hawks with Chaney being foremost among them.

        On a different note the article pointed out a fact that is all but IGNORED in discussing the Iraq war which is that the result was to remove a counter weight to Iran

    • metrognome3830

      Right you are! The Republicans have no respect for courage. They want malleability. They want people who foll0w the party line no matter what their own feelings might be. John McCain has finally come to understand this which is why he decided to be a mindless wimp instead of a “maverick.” Hagel, I hope, still possesses the courage to do what he thinks is right for the country, not what he needs to do to get the favor of the Tea Party.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    The fact that the NY Post and some of its clearly pro-Israel columnists, like Krauthammer, are enraged at President Obama’s choice of Hagel is a very telling commentary on how much power these people want Israel to have in American politics. Where’s Israel’s reciprocity? Seems to me Netanyahu made a point for the past 4 years to dictate to the US President who tried to take a neutral stance with Israel and Middle East problems. Israel appears to shun neutrality in any form. But when Netanyahu disrespects the president of the US as he has done these last 4 years, are US taxpayers thus merely Israel’s financial safety net ICO (In case of….) ?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOPKDFAUQPIIRAFI3HEXNMSHLQ Ed

    Most americans do not realise that the “Defense Department” is only a small part of our defense budget with many other agencies sharing the wealth and hiring mercenaries to kill for us. Also a whole lot of double dipping generals collecting from the taxpayer after retirement and then as officers of PMC’s.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JMT6C3LHLJDD4RX4NB4KY5ICAE gargray

    The main issue with Iraq was to get the oil companies back in the hands of the American oil barons.

  • jointerjohn

    This former combat veteran and now veteran of the United States Senate has seen the folly of our pointless, stupid and un-winnable military interventions. The military industrial complex despises him because he knows the truth. This makes him the most perfect man for the job yet also the most targeted man. We, the people, need to rally behind him against the forces that are against him and us. Call your Representatives and your Senators today to tell them you support Mr. Hagel for this position. If you don’t, Halliburton wins.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NPJRH4Y3AVX4JE4N3KCIIXCBQQ Newborn

    And I a simple citizen, was able in 2002 to write letters never published to national newspapers predicting the huge disaster of the Iraq invasion. Only for knowing the basics: that Hussein was sunni but Baathist with a long secular tradition and the people benefiting from U.S. will be the Shia, truly fundamentalists and very close to Iran. I was at that time much more concerned about the losing of the secular imprint in Iraq society and the good position of females going massively to higher education (even engineering and physics).

    • Sand_Cat

      Even our local press wouldn’t print my letters on the topic of Iraq, but then maybe some of you might agree with them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    I have always believed that attack on Saddam Hussein and Iraq was about:

    (1) Avenging Iraq for not falling when President George H.W. Bush invaded Iraq.

    (2) Oil.

    (3) And giving a helping hand to the military-industrial complex, and more specifically, Halliburton.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

      My perception has been close to your 1 and 2: I believe George Jr. had a vendetta against Sadaam for trying to kill his Dad at the end of the Gulf war and was determined to “get him” and that Jr. and Cheney made a deal about running for office that they would attack Iraq to satisfy George’s vendetta and so that bothe George & Cheney could get kickbacks from Haliburton for all the monies they could channel its way. I have no idea where oil comes to play in here – even now, how is anyone here (in the U.S.) profitting from Iraq’s re-establsihed national oil sales???

    • Sand_Cat

      I believe a major reason was Bush figured a quick, cheap victory would make him look more presidential instead of the lazy, ignorant (and proud of it) idiot his policies proved him to be. There was also the person who claimed he confessed wanting to do it for “political capital.”

  • blueclouds123

    If you live and rule a country as Bush, Chenney, Rumsfelt and even Rice did, and, you lie to the people, you destroy your own country, you feed your egos and relish in a false power, then, yes, eventually you should learn to be afraid that someone will bring to the light exactly how destructive to the American people and country you really were. Sooner or later people have to pay for their wrong deeds.

  • bchrista

    What really pissess,me off is that these same Republicans that won’ let go of the Bengazi situation calling for the impeachment of President Obama, trying Susan Rice for misinforming the public and other Obama people and they have the biggest cross to bear, let see started two wars got at least 4,000 men and women killed in action, 40,000 wounded or crippled for life, killed several hundred thousand men, women and children killed in Iraqi and Afgahan and last but now least over three thousand people killed on 9/11 and also misappropreating billions of dollars that has never been accounted for and they have the balls to keep bringing up Bengazi because four Americans were killed there don’t get me wrong peopleI feel for the families and the four men that died there but lets be fair these asshole Republicans have been more responsibly culpable tha n the Democrats which they keep alluding to in order to cover up the different fuck ups they have commited and should be held responsible for their acts. I tell you what if the Republicans will fess up and plead guilty to their fuck ups then I’m sure President Obama which has already accepted the blame for Bengazi and then get on with the business of getting the country back on it’s feet but when your goal is to disrupt any thing that Obama tries to do for the country. The Teaparty Baggers swore in 2008 that they would mae Obama a one term president and the fact that he was relected hasn’t changed their mind set they just have to slow down or reject his proposals by pulling shit and constantly calling for a major investigation into Bengazi which they didn’t do when Bush,Cheney and Rumsfeld were in office, lets put these three on trial for treason, misppropreations, and selling our country out to foreign Nationals and if we think hard enough maybe we can come up with a few more charges. What these three bastards did don’t deserve pity they deliberly intended to do what they did.

  • blueclouds123

    The voting residents of the United States have a wonderful and meaningful opportunity in 2014 to change the path of the country and to really experience the ability of obtaining a job, a good job, enjoy the new health plan that Bauchman and others want to take away from you, prosperity, and finally a leader who is smart, not dumb and blindly led like Bush, someone who has some social morals to the residents of the U.S, and someone who cares not just for the rich, but you, the hardworking middle and lower income people. To achieve this all you have to do is NOT vote Republican. Take note of the 67 congress people who voted against helping New York and New Jersey states, Ryan who wants to be the next president, woe to the country if you allow this, voted against helping these people. sample of what Ryan’s presidency would be like and also accepted help for Wisconsin when they had a weather problem, Blackburn who is once again whipping the women’s issues into a frency again, I would also NOT vote for any republican women who support her in her quest to dismantle an available health agency or work to dismantle any other women’s medical agencies, they can get health care due to the very good salaries YOU are paying them, get a list of these republicans who would not help their fellow countrymen or allow women who need medical help receive it. She is lying to you about this agency not giving health care, but only supplying abortions. Best of all, KICK all TEA Party people OUT of office, they do not care about you, only their opinions count, reduce the number of republicans in congress and lets get the U.S rolling again, not for the rich, but for YOU.

  • mjcc1987

    “Hagel Is Exactly The Right Choice For Defense Secretary”

    No, he is not, but he is the President’s choice and that is sufficient

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/C22AJV5GXSF4QE3YJY5IGBTULU TSB

    Could it be Hagle has the goods on Mitch McConnell his and KKK pals?

  • http://www.facebook.com/taalibdin.shabazz Taalibdin Shabazz

    The war mongers are careful not to have their on flesh in the game, and use everybody else as
    Gladiator and fodder. President Bush, and Vice President Cheney, along with Karl Rove, Mitt, and people like Mc caine who is reckless causing accidental deaths because he would not study how to land on a Aircraft Carrier because he thought of himself privilege, because he was the son of the secretary of the Navy. Mc caine really was angry when he lost the Presidency to Barack Obama
    especially sense he looked like one of the slaves that worked on the family plantation they owned since 1843 in Mississippi and he did not hesitate to stomp for Mitt Romney and the Mormons a religion that Mitt was born into open the doors for African Americans to join until the 70′s. The problem now is many but can be summed up with the lowest common denominator; hate.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RFEPMKNCBVGJYV2X7LBNDGRUEY William

    Typical GOP, condemn anyone that has a different opinion, tell lies to cover up their mistakes, and blame the other party for everything that goes wrong.

  • 1bythebrooks2

    I think that Chuck Hagel will work on stopping the bloat in the Pentagon that has been going on too long!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SRF6YP2MHXVY4KTXM3WMOGZ5BA Jose T

    Against All Enemies by Mr. Richard Clake. Read and draw your own conclusions.

    Mr. Paul Wolfowitz, Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, Mr. Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and Former
    President George W. Bush would be good candidates for a FEMA Prison and/or
    Guantanamo,Cuba.

    9/11 could have been prevented!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SRF6YP2MHXVY4KTXM3WMOGZ5BA Jose T

    What was Mr. Cheney doing in the bunker under the White House?

    Why was she allowed to participate in classified discussions?

    Book: Against All Enemies by Mr. Richard Clarke.

  • onedonewong

    Hagle has my vote. He is opposed to gays in the military and will do all he can to minimize there enlistment and prancing around

    • Sand_Cat

      If Hagel has any common decency at all, he wouldn’t want YOUR vote.

      You could try spelling his name right, to start.

      • onedonewong

        sorry we see eye to eye on that issue

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Townsel/100002612877917 James Townsel

    Yes He’s the right choice…

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