The Borking of Chuck Hagel
Well it’s no different today. We have the Washington Post editorial board (AKA Fred Hiatt) with a hit piece.
FORMER SENATOR Chuck Hagel, whom President Obama is reportedly considering for defense secretary, is a Republican who would offer a veneer of bipartisanship to the national security team. He would not, however, move it toward the center, which is the usual role of such opposite-party nominees. On the contrary: Mr. Hagel’s stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him.
The current secretary, Leon Panetta, has said the defense “sequester” cuts that Congress mandated to take effect Jan. 1 would have dire consequences for U.S. security. Mr. Hagel took a very different position when asked about Mr. Panetta’s comment during a September 2011 interview with the Financial Times. “The Defense Department, I think in many ways, has been bloated,” he responded. “So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down.”
According to Hiatt Hagel is a bad choice because he opposes many of the really stupid and dangerous things that Fred is or has been in favor of. Of course it is always about Israel and the major opposition to Hagel is his opposition to going to war with Iran.
And of course Bill (never been right about anything) Kristol is involved again today.
The William Kristol-founded conservative Emergency Committee for Israel says it’s launching cable ads starting Thursday slamming Chuck Hagel, the latest in a spate of criticism over the man who’s said to top President Barack Obama’s list for Secretary of Defense.
The spot, which hits Hagel for voting against sanctions on Iran, is an indication of the next phase of attacks on the former lawmaker, whose past stands on Israel have gotten the most attention.
Here is a sample:
It goes on: “And while President Obama says all options are on the table for preventing a nuclear Iran, Hagel says military action is ‘not a viable, feasible, responsible option.’ President Obama: For Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel is not a ‘responsible option.’ “
So, Hagel is not acceptable because he’s not insane.
Dana Milbank in Fred Hiatt’s Washington Post does come to Hagel’s defense.
The Hagel hit is wrong on the merits, but it’s particularly egregious because the former senator from Nebraska is among the best and bravest public servants. He was an enlisted man in Vietnam, earning two Purple Hearts in jungle combat. In his legislative career, he was a powerful voice against the chicken hawks who have recklessly sent American troops to their deaths; he became one of the mostoutspoken critics of George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq war.
Hagel would probably be swiftly confirmed by the Senate, and he should be: A man of unassailable military credentials who regards war as a last resort is exactly the sort of person to head the Pentagon.
The fact that Chuck Hagel is opposed by the Israeli Lobby and the neo-cons is exactly why he is a great choice.