Chuck Hagel is resigning (read: being forced out). How do I know this? This morning, a person who will remain nameless decided to call me to let me know. Sadly this meant waking me up hours before I had to go to class.
That said, this is a significant enough event that I wasn’t too mad.
In his tenure, his views slowly evolved until he saw the light on a couple of critical issues (this shouldn’t be misconstrued to portray me as a fan of his).
Sadly it took several hundred thousand deaths for Hagel to change his mind, but he did eventually advocate for a more coherent Middle East strategy to deal with Bashar al-Assad and ISIS.
All of this is a far cry from Obama’s assurances that al Qaeda is on the demise that he seems to love saying despite its complete lack of truth.
Hagel’s unwillingness to oppose the massive military cuts in the past two years more forcefully is certainly going to be a part of his legacy, but I give him credit for being less terrible than I was expecting (that said, I was expecting absolutely nothing, so anything short of a total disaster is welcome news).
Everything here is obviously going to be part of Hagel’s legacy, but another aspect has gone overlooked: his fashion sense.
Where will we go from here? I think the best choice to replace him is Joe Lieberman. Ted Cruz thinks this also, so I don’t know if that will go anywhere.
It has to be remarked that Republicans will be happier having Lieberman, who was Al Gore’s Vice Presidential candidate back in the day than a fellow Republican heading the Pentagon.
How opposed to Hagel was I during his confirmation? You be the judge.
I never thought it would actually come to this, but it seems that Chuck Hagel is poised to become our next Secretary of Defense. The former Republican Senator from Nebraska has now locked up virtually all the support he needs for confirmation, and then some. The question remains: is this a good thing? My answer to this question remains no, and my convictions grow stronger by the day.
Hagel’s comments regarding the “Jewish lobby” have drawn criticism, as they should have. However, his objectionable statements that are on the record extend far beyond this, and his record in Congress leaves something to be desired.
Again, the respect I have for Senator Hagel for his service to our country in the Vietnam War cannot be underestimated. However,there is no doubt that his record on Israel is questionable. The concerns I have about other aspects of his record have only grown in the weeks following the official announcement of his selection. I believe the U.S. Senate should vote “no.”
As I have previously written, Hagel currently serves on the board of Deutsche Bank, which is being investigated for violating sanctions against Iran’s regime.
Hagel also serves on the board of the Ploughshares Fund, one of whose stated goals is to slash America’s nuclear arsenal to a mere 292 deployed weapons.
One of the charges against Hagel is that he wants to downsize the Pentagon, and this seems to indicate that no further proof is needed that Hagel is not the right choice.
Hagel’s opposition to the Surge in the Iraq War (which proved to be unfounded) and his desire to slash Pentagon spending have drawn criticism from the Right, and rightly so.
However, Hagel’s disparaging comments regarding former U.S. Ambassador James Hormel, and how Hormel’s “openly, aggressively gay” attitude “inhibit[s]” him from serving as an accurate reflection of American values abroad also present cause for concern, given the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Hagel has said that he supports the repeal of the law banning gays from serving openly in the military, but, once more, I am sensing political motives. Sensing a trend?
Hagel has since apologized, but for some reason I suspect it was insincere. I mean, one of Obama’s key constituent groups, the LGBT community, is highly opposed to the remarks, and the Left as a whole took issue with his statements. Isn’t it convenient that Hagel decided to retract this statement, only when he knew it would affect him politically?
Times, and Hagel’s political fortunes, have changed since my previous oped regarding his potential confirmation.
After meeting with or communicating in some form with key Democratic Senators such as Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hagel seems to have locked up enough support to be confirmed as the next head of the Pentagon.
It was obvious that Schumer, viewed as a potential obstacle to Hagel’s confirmation by those on the Right, would ultimately support Hagel. Hearing the news nevertheless was far from welcome. Groups on the Right are also pressuring red state Democrats such as Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) to vote against Hagel in his confirmation hearings. I doubt their votes, whatever they may be, will play any role in the 2014 elections, given the tendency voters have to downplay foreign affairs.
At this point Hagel’s confirmation is all but certain. Obama cannot afford to back down on two high profile cabinet appointments, and his capitulation over Susan Rice’s appointment will force him to go through with Hagel’s appointment, for better or for worse.
A Defense Department with Chuck Hagel at the helm is in our future; all that remains to be seen is how it will serve America’s best interests.