On Chuck Hagel’s Courage — With a Small ‘But’ and a Lot of ‘Digressing’

In a rapid-fire, double-down, follow-up to his first hit piece on Chuck Hagel’s alleged “Jewish Problem,” Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens praises Hagel’s honorable and courageous military service in somewhat of a qualified manner.

In “Chuck Hagel’s Courage,” Stephens immediately follows his comments on Hagel’s personal courage with “This fact…will now be trotted out repeatedly as proof of his fitness to serve in high office.”

He further pooh-poohs military service serving as the “standard by which our prospective secretaries of defense should be judged” by saying: “[N]either Edwin Stanton (Lincoln’s secretary of war) nor Henry Stimson (FDR’s) would have passed the test. Robert McNamara and Don Rumsfeld would have. But I digress.”

And digressing Stephens certainly does by recalling Hagel’s criticism of the Iraq War, mocking White House spokesman’s comment that “[Hagel] had the courage to buck his own party on the Iraq War.”

About that war, no mention of how the nation was deceived into invading and occupying another country based on bad intelligence at best; false arguments, at worse.

No mention of the more than 4,000 troops we lost — for what?

No mention of the trillions in treasure we squandered — for what?

But, heck, “The surge turned out to be George W. Bush’s finest hour—a genuine instance of political courage as opposed to Mr. Hagel’s phony ones. It rescued the U.S. from humiliating defeat. It gave Iraq a decent opportunity to stand on its feet. It allowed the U.S. to conduct an orderly withdrawal of its forces.”

And, of course, “it might have led to a long-term security relationship with Baghdad had the Obama administration not fumbled the endgame.”

In more “diressing,” Stephens regurgitates the now-all-too-familiar, desperate cherry-picking of Hagel’s comments — going back “Oh, by the way,” to 1995 — on gay issues, abortion, women’s rights and Hagel’s “evolvement” on these issues. But, above all, let us not forget Hagel’s “mental twitch” about “Israel, its enemies, and the influence of the so-called Jewish lobby…”

I could be wrong, but I do not remember Stephens writing similar columns on the “evolvement” — let’s be more direct and call it flip-flopping — on the very same social issues by his party’s candidates recently running for an even higher office: President of the United States.

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

4 Comments

  1. The neoconservatives and the Likudniks see the sun setting on their foreign policy dominance – that’s what Hagel is a symbol of. The Hagel nomination represents a repudiation of of neoconservative interventionist foreign policy and a smaller US footprint in the world.

  2. A Republican “friend” of mine reads the WSJ daily and believes it to be the only TRUE unbiased news publication out there. ( of course he also watches C-Span speakers who are funded by the Heritage Foundation and thinks they are unbiased too).
    Stephens is close to the Glen Beck of a “legitimate” newspaper. He fakes a fair unbiased but his back-handed compliments are all too transparent. Unfortunately, many who read the WSJ think like my friend.
    I think Hagel will survive this type of journalism and get the appointment anyway.

  3. SK, I also read the WSJ and the leftie NYT which can have some ridiculous editorials as does the WSJ. Between them, I get a semblance of balance when i throw O’Reilly, Greta and Cooper at night.
    All writers including BS and those on TMV need to be taken with a grain of salt but some facts (?) sometimes do come out and are helpful in rounding out discussions.
    Yes, it is sometimes “journalism” and I’m glad we have it the U.S.

  4. The surge may have been W’s finest hour but that’s only because every other hour of his 8 year tenure was filled with unremitting disaster.

    Its sad to see the venerable WSJ turned into just another Murdoch tabloid- I never read it any more just because of opinion pieces like this-that are more demagoguery than enlightened thought

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