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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:15 AM

Juan Cole - Top Ten Reasons Chuck Hagel Should be Secretary of Defense


Top Ten Reasons Chuck Hagel Should be Secretary of Defense

Posted on 01/07/2013 by Juan

I doubt Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator from Nebraska, and I would agree about almost anything with regard to domestic US politics. Unless his views have changed, we certainly would not agree on gay rights. ( He says, at least, that his views have in fact changed and has apologized for remarks in the 1990s, and I think he should get the benefit of the doubt here). But he isn’t being nominated for secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He is being nominated as Secretary of Defense. And on defense and foreign policy issues, Hagel’s views have much to recommend them. I testified in April, 2004, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which Hagel served, about the then Mahdi Army uprising in Iraq. The chairman, Richard Lugar, and Hagel both struck me as informed and concerned about the situation. Others, like Sam Brownback, seemed almost robotic in throwing softballs to my fellow panelist, the neoconservative Richard Perle, who denied that there was any uprising. Hagel had voted for the Iraq War authorization, but raised questions even then about US ignorance of what it was getting into, and he later in the Bush years joined Democrats in voting to get out.

Here are some positive things about the Hagel nomination:

1. Chuck Hagel is a decorated war hero, having won two Purple Hearts as infantry squad leader in Vietnam. He knows what war is, unlike the usual gaggle of chickenhawks who have emerged to accuse him of not being warlike enough. The very notion of William Kristol in a uniform is enough to provoke mirth, but here is an influential man (why?) who never met a war he didn’t love. Hagel not only knows war but knows it from the point of view of the infantry and NCOs, not just the officer corps. Hagel is cautious about wars and what they can achieve, and has become more cautious over time, as his hands got burned by the Iraq resolution. This caution is admirable in a Secretary of Defense.

2. Hagel has been an advocate for veterans. He introduced legislation to limit deployments in Iraq, which failed. (Many Iraq vets served multiple 18-month tours, and many of their problems have to do with frequent, long deployments.) He was a principal co-sponsor of Sen. Jim Webb’s bill on GIs, which expanded educational opportunities for those who served after September 11 (the bill became law). Unlike many inside-the-Beltway hawks who use the troops for political purposes but cut veterans’ benefits when the war is over, Hagel cares.

3. Hagel has long opposed the use of sanctions instead of diplomacy in the Middle East, having argued on June 27, 2001 at a conference of the American Iranian Council that sanctions on Libya and Iran “isolate us” (Washington Times, March 29, 2002).


(much more at link)

http://www.juancole.com/2013/01/reasons-secretary-defense.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+juancole%2Fymbn+%28Informed+Comment%29&utm_content=FaceBook


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Reply Juan Cole - Top Ten Reasons Chuck Hagel Should be Secretary of Defense (Original post)
Voice for Peace Jan 2013 OP
Botany Jan 2013 #1
lobodons Jan 2013 #2
Kolesar Jan 2013 #3

Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:46 AM

1. Chuck spoke the truth

4. Hagel opposed George W. Bush’s and the Neoconservatives’ ‘muscular Wilsonianism,” the idea that the US should invade countries like Iraq and impose democracy on them: Hagel said in 2006, “You cannot in my opinion just impose a democratic form of government on a country with no history and no culture and no tradition of democracy… We have not always connected those fundamentals to our efforts.” (- International Herald Tribune, March 17, 2006) Chuck spoke the truth about the iraq war and the right wingers will not forgive him.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:09 AM

2. #11 Because he pisses of TPGOP

Actually, this should be #1 reason since it encompasses everything else.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:19 AM

3. 7. Hagel supports withdrawal from Afghanistan

We need to find the way out

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