Skip to comments.The Hagel Case
Posted on 01/17/2013 2:31:09 AM PST by Kaslin
WASHINGTON -- Former senator Chuck Hagel is a suave, energetic, spirited fellow. He is intelligent, and from his early youth apparently patriotic and undoubtedly courageous. He showed that in Vietnam. Hagel has been a Republican senator and an accomplished businessman. Now he is President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of defense. Because he is President Obama's nominee for secretary of defense he is attracting dutiful scrutiny, and that is all to the good. This is not your ordinary presidency. In domestic policy and foreign policy President Obama is showing every indication of attempting to be an epochal president (with four million fewer votes for his second term than for his first).
That is to say, he poses a distinct break from Ronald Reagan's model of government and even from Franklin Roosevelt's. In the economy he seems to be resurrecting the welfare state on the model of France or perhaps Spain. In foreign policy he famously promises to "lead from behind," as illogical as that sounds. In both areas his exemplars are sure losers, but his party and his partisans seem not to have noticed.
He is going to need very cunning cabinet leaders to accomplish his goals, particularly at the State Department and Defense. At state he will have, if all goes well, Senator Jean-Francois Kerry, who, as the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto has perceptively noted, served in Vietnam. Kerry is eminently adept at leading from behind, so no problem. Is Hagel equal to the task? Actually, I think he is. He proved in his memoir, published in 2006, a ready ability to juggle the facts, to mask the truth. Some call it casuistry.
I am in debt to my friend Seth Lipsky at the New York Sun for unearthing the corpus delicti. The quotes are misleading. They are meant to mislead. They leave the reader with the idea they were uttered when many had concluded that the Vietnam War was lost. Truth be known, they were uttered in May of 1964, well before LBJ even began his Vietnam buildup. Their purpose is to defame Lyndon Johnson and to discredit the Vietnam War.
Wrote Hagel in his memoir: "If you listen to the tapes released by the Johnson Library, on which President Lyndon B. Johnson and Senator Richard Russell discuss Vietnam in the mid-1960s, you will hear President Johnson confess that we couldn't win in Vietnam, but we couldn't pull out because he didn't want to be the first president to lose a war." At the time President Johnson spoke those words to Senator Russell he had not begun the Vietnam buildup or even signed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Senator Russell goes on to express his misgivings about Vietnam, but nonetheless he eventually signed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Senator Hagel concludes: "The cold political calculation I heard on those tapes made me vow that I would never -- ever -- remain silent when that kind of thinking put more American lives at risk in any conflict."
Hagel has been unreliable on other matters. He famously said in 2002 that, "Both Israelis and Palestinians are trapped in a war not of their making." Yet when he said that, he overlooked that the Palestinians were indiscriminately slaughtering Israeli civilians. The Israeli Defense Force was defending them and fighting Palestinian militiamen. There was no equivalence.
Since those days Hagel has said many things about the "Jewish lobby" and Israel and the war on terror, but for my money I would look to his memoir first. It reveals a slipperiness of character that suggests our present would-be epochal president has chosen an eminently useful candidate to head his Department of Defense. The question is: Is Hagel useful to America?
Why do so many on the left hate the Jewish people? Nazis, Communists, Progressives, it always bubbles to the surface.
“Why do so many on the left hate the Jewish people? Nazis, Communists, Progressives, it always bubbles to the surface.”
Because GOD favors the Jewish people and because the SON of GOD is Jewish and satan is the leader of all nazis, communists and progressives.
I don’t get it. What is it that makes Hagel a liar, excuse me, casuist? That he represents Johnson’s reasoning as further along in the war than it actually was? Is calling it a war before the Tonkin Gulf incident inaccurate? We hadn’t deployed major combat troops or bombed the hell out of a jungle yet by May of 64, but we weren’t playing paddycakes, either. This was after Diem’s assassination, by the way, and we’d had troops there since WWII.
Does ot really come down to when a war is a war? LBJ’s the one to say he didn’t want to be the first president to lose a war (he wasn’t, that was Madison). So he was wrong about it being a war, if anyone. Apparently enough Americans would have seen cutting and running as forfeiting, or at least that’s what he thought.
Isn’t it worse, by the way, for Johnson to have seen it as a loser earlier? Especially considering he lied to get us all in.
A most compelling argument in Hagel's favor is that the neocons over at the Four Seasons---sipping chilled Cristal and munching on room temperature imported Brie---are whining that THEY dont want Hagel.
You remember the neocons---the ones who duped Bush into invading Iraq? A horrendous foreign policy decision devised by the pukeneos on the backs of the 2300 killed on 9/11.
Iraq's in the Mideast---a place the pukes said was "thirsting" for American-style democracy. Now known as a terrorist hellhole where trillions of US tax dollars and rivers of young blood were shed. Where the blood-thirsty Muslim Brotherhood has a stranglehold. Where the WSJ reported neocon godfather, Richard Perle, is starting an oil company with his war profiteering billions (your tax dollars at work).
It took the US about a decade to get out of Iraq....as the globe erupted into Mideast-centered terrorism.....and hate-filled Muslims set sail for America.
But not to worry---at the serene Four Seasons lounge, where the champagne flows, the Iraq War is still seen as a really, really good idea......and opposition to Chuck Hagel is the strongest.