Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, the President’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, had a tough go of things during his confirmation hearing Thursday…
In typical Republican fashion, the Reps choose to
rake one of their own over the coals, while letting Democrat Senator John Kerry cruise to confirmation for Secretary of State. Kerry a man with as many verbal miscues and controversial stands as Mr. Hagel.
From listening to the hearing (I haven’t had a television since 2004 and spend a lot of time monitoring C-SPAN on my phone), I was somewhat taken aback by what appeared to be Hagel’s complete lack of preparation for his grilling by the Senate.
Did he not contemplate that his every word would be parsed, his positions scrutinized?
So why do Republicans hate Mr. Hagel so much?
For starters, according to Republican Senators anyway, he’s committed the heresy of believing that the “surge” in Iraq didn’t work and was a bad idea to begin with. Senator John McCain was practically frothing at the mouth while
haranguing Hagel and inferring that the Iraq War was “won” because of the surge.
Hagel contests that “history will be the judge” of the
Iraq War and it’s judging it harshly thus far.
For all intents and purposes the USA has not “won” a war since WWII.
Hagel gets why the Republican & NeoCons are pulling out all the stops to halt his confirmation.
His opponents can’t stand the thought of giving up the Empire and scaling back our military budget.
Hagel also believes the USA should engage “enemies” like Iran
before we go to war. A stance that both Republican and Democrat Senators took umbrage with. As if the last 10 years spent wasted in Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t warning enough against further Middle East misadventures.
The other red herring Hagel’s being pummeled for is his alleged
opposition to Israel. You would think by the tone of the questioners that he was auditioning to head the Israeli Ministry of Defense!
Full disclosure- I’m Jewish with Zionist leanings and have been accused on many occasions of have deep sympathies with the NeoCons – but I’m in no way offended by Mr. Hagel’s positions towards the Jewish State.
There is nothing wrong with putting the interests of the USA ahead of an ally’s – even one as near and dear to America as Israel.
I believe that Hagel’s stance against invading Iran is actually in
Israel’s best interest. Nasty computer viruses like Stuxnet coupled with the “deletion” of their top nuclear scientists are how you stop the Iranian nuclear program- not conventional warfare.
I do believe that Hagel will squeak through and be confirmed.
There are 55 Democratic Senators and if Obama can keep them in line, he needs only five Republicans to cross party lines and vote for his confirmation.
Hagel’s got to have at least five Republican friends left
in the Senate who realize if his nomination is torpedoed, President Obama will nominate someone much worse.