Why Chuck Hagel Will Make a Tremendous Secretary of Defense (Updates).

UPDATE II:

As expected, Republicans — especially the Neocons — are coming out in force to sabotage Chuck Hagel’s nomination for SecDef.

Fred Kaplan at Slate predicts that these people — he calls them the “resisters” — have four main concerns: “They fear that Hagel will cut the military budget. They fear that he’ll roll over if Iran builds a nuclear weapon. They fear that he’s too reluctant to use military force generally. And they fear he doesn’t much like Israel; the extremists on this point claim he’s anti-Semitic.”

And he addresses them, one by one

Then, he addresses the real reasons why Republicans hate Hagel

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UPDATE I:
Here is a statement by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, on the President’s nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to serve as the next SecDef:

Chuck Hagel is uniquely qualified to be Secretary of Defense. He is a decorated war hero who earned two purple hearts for his heroism in Vietnam. He knows the sacrifices that we ask our brave service members to make because he has made them himself. If confirmed, he would be the first enlisted soldier, and first Vietnam veteran, to serve as our nation’s Secretary of Defense.

Senator Hagel also has the judgment and experience to serve. He worked tirelessly for two terms on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence Committee. He helped lead the fight in the Senate to pass the post-9/11 GI Bill, and worked at the VA and as head of the USO, where he dedicated himself to supporting our armed forces. Throughout his career, he has been a champion for our troops, military families and veterans.

President Obama has come to know and trust Senator Hagel over nearly a decade, dating back to their time together in the Senate. Together, they travelled to Afghanistan and Iraq in the summer of 2008, and they share a commitment to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly. Senator Hagel has been a strong supporter of the President’s approach to national security, and as Secretary of Defense, he will support and execute the President’s vision for our military. That includes continuing the President’s historic support for gay and lesbian service members, and overseeing the continued implementation of the full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The President is fully committed to ensuring that all of our service members and military families are treated equally. He is confident that, as Secretary of Defense, Senator Hagel will ensure that all who serve the country we love are treated equally — no matter who they love.

Recently, some in the LGBT community have expressed concerns about Senator Hagel’s past comments. In response, Senator Hagel issued a statement in which he apologized for comments that he made in the 1990s, and affirmed both his commitment to LGBT civil rights as well as his support for open service and the families of gay and lesbian service members.

One of the great successes of the LGBT civil rights movement is that it provides the space and opportunity for people to change their hearts and minds, to right past wrongs, and, over time, to evolve. The President believes Senator Hagel’s statement of apology, and his commitment to ensuring that all service members and their families are treated equally. The President would not have chosen him unless he had every confidence that, working together, they will continue to ensure that our military and DoD civilian workforce are as welcoming, inclusive, and respectful as possible.

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Original Post:

President Obama has just announced that he will nominate Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.

Undoubtedly there will be a flood of commentary pro and con this nomination.

Here is one commentary from VoteVets.Org as to why Chuck Hagel will make “a tremendous Secretary of Defense.”

First, and foremost, as an enlisted soldier, who fought in Vietnam and was awarded the Purple Heart twice, Chuck Hagel’s heart is still with the fighting men and women in uniform. When it comes to military action, Chuck Hagel will ask two questions: Is this good for American security, and is this good for our troops? That is something that is desperately needed.

Second, when it comes to American security, Chuck Hagel bravely broke with his party and his party’s President, to stand up against the war in Iraq, which will go down in history as one of our most misguided military ventures. Chuck Hagel has no fear when it comes to standing up to neoconservatives, and their preemptive war, nation building dreams.

Third, and equally as important, Chuck Hagel is a vociferous advocate for cutting Pentagon waste – from outdated weapons to our over-bloated nuclear arsenal, both of which eat up billions and billions of dollars. In these tough economic times, Chuck Hagel will have no problem identifying waste at the Department of Defense, and cutting it.

By the way, 13,000, including over 8,000 Veterans and Military Families, have signed a petition in support of Chuck Hagel.

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

13 Comments

  1. I would sign on as well…where is the link?

  2. Here it is Robert:

    So, this is a great moment for you, for the nation, and for VoteVets.org. If you have a moment, take to Twitter, and voice your support for Chuck Hagel!

    Thanks for your support!

  3. I find it interesting that some of Hagel’s loudest critics have none of his battlefield experience. That says more about them than it does about Hagel.

  4. One thing you can say about Hagel – he has all the right enemies.

  5. True Ron. The reason the GOP leadership doesn’t like him is that he isn’t a reactionary sky-is-falling ideologue that’s bad at math and he doesn’t have an itchy trigger finger. Hagel’s toolbox includes more than a hammer and that confuses them.

  6. A good bet that Hagel is a strong choice is that the far left is also a source of criticism and concern as well as the far right.

    One could pen an article about the far left’s opposition to Hagel. Perhaps ask why the National Jewish Democratic Council has been hesistant to endorse him. Or why the LGBT has concerns.

    My point, I like him. He has been called a man without a party. Why? Because he has core beliefs and won’t blow smoke up your hoohoo. He will tell you what he thinks. That pretty much ensures the far left and far right will have concerns. It’s refreshing to see a politician have both ends of the spectrum question him.

  7. For all who are interested, there is a website called On The Issues which gives the entire voting record of every political leader on every issue. ( invaluable site)
    As a Nebraskan and a Democrat, Hagel voted straight Republican on almost every issue. He has an A1 rating by the NRA and very low rating for helping seniors and poor. ( typical I suppose) However his voting in the “War and Peace” catagory, as well as his comments are very impressive. Much more of a dove than a hawk yet quite firm on support of our troops and our allies. Seems to be very consistent and has solid direction in this area.

  8. Just to clarify…Hagel is not a Democrat of course…I am, which is why I wanted a larger picture of him.

  9. I would add, sheknows, — as has already been pointed out so frequently — Chuck Hagel is being nominated for Secretary of Defense, not Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, etc.

    Although IMHO he would do well in almost any cabinet position.

  10. Exactly Dorian, thanks. While I wouldn’t want him on the Budget Committee, I think he would make an excellent Sect. of Defense.

  11. “While I wouldn’t want him on the Budget Committee, I think he would make an excellent Sect. of Defense.”

    Excellent posts, sheknows. You highlight why he will draw attention from both ends of the spectrum. Helpful, thanks.

  12. A senior Israeli diplomat has given a positive view of Chuck Hagel’s nomination as U.S. defense secretary, though some commentators in the Jewish state expressed worries that the choice could open a new fissure in bedrock ties with Washington.

    And,

    Moshe Arens, a former Israeli defence minister, played down the impact of Hagel’s nomination on Obama’s strategies.

    “In the United States, policy is made by the president, not by the members of the cabinet,” he told Reuters, noting that Ronald Reagan, a former president considered warm to Israel, had a less sympathetic defence secretary, Caspar Weinberger.

    Read more here

  13. Great post Dorian. Also what slamfu said.

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