McCain’s 12-Year War Against Chuck Hagel


Unseen in the cloud of preemptive dust over the nomination for Secretary of Defense is more than a decade of fallout from a friendship with John McCain that broke apart into bitterness.

Chuck Hagel had supported the fellow Vietnam veteran’s run for president in 2000 but then angered his Senate colleague to the point that McCain, moving to the Neo-Con Right, approvingly posted on his own web site a Los Angeles Times article of March 3, 2001 (months before 9/11) headlined “On Iraq, GOP Split Over Gaining World Respect or Enforcing It.”

It read: “Hagel has repeatedly warned that the United States must disarm Iraq in a way that reinforces international alliances…McCain has become the champion of the hard-line neoconservative thinkers who want to move quickly against Iraq, no matter how many countries agree…

“In all, while Hagel argues that broadening international cooperation is the key to security in this new era, McCain believes ‘credibility’ in delivering military force is the top priority. The one is focused on winning respect, the other believes in enforcing it.”

A year and a half later, as the Bush Administration prepared to invade Iraq, Hagel called Chief of Staff Andy Card to ask why the President would consider going to war “without Congress being with him?” As a result, Hagel later revealed, “a few of us–Joe Biden, Dick Lugar, and I–were invited to discussions with the White House…

“Finally, begrudgingly, they sent over a resolution for Congress to approve. Well, it was astounding. It said they could go anywhere in the region…Sure as hell it was clear they meant the whole Middle East. It was anything they wanted.”

Hagel, Biden and Lugar “had to rewrite it…stripped the language the White House had set up and put our language in it.” That was what Congress approved.

More than a decade later, GOP elephants who never forget are piling on Hagel for his party sin of being a premature opponent of Bush’s war, which later morphed into McCain’s.

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

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3 Comments

  1. To approve of Hagel would be to negate all the later apologia for the mess Iraq turned into. How can you vote for someone who told you you were wrong before you actually did something wrong? When you still think you did no wrong. No one wants to listen to a Cassandra ALL the time. Especially when you have no intention of veering from your course.

    Obama voters chose him in no small part because of his prescience on Iraq and believe that a blunt talking Secty. of Defense can only be helpful to the President and the country, whether we agree with him or not.

  2. “Obama voters chose him in no small part because of his prescience on Iraq”

    That was the very first thing that got me to notice him. It was the first time in awhile there was an elected official who seemed to actually have a clue.

  3. McCain lost his credibility long ago. People who don’t know this yet haven’t been paying attention.

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