Ever since the idea that Chuck Hagel would be nominated to take over at defense the neoconservatives and Likudniks have been up in arms and every attempt has been made to slime him. See:
- The Borking of Chuck Hagel
- Chuck Hagel and America First (Updated)
- Chuck Hagel - Not Crazy Enough
- Slimeing Hagel
President Obama is expected to nominateChuck Hagel, a former Republican senator and Vietnam veteran, to be Defense secretary, officials said, setting up a confirmation battle with lawmakers and interest groups critical of Hagel's views on Israel and Iran.And yes the character assassination has start already resumed and who better to start it out than little Billy Kristol. So what is Bill's complaint? Hagel tells the truth.
White House officials said Friday that the president hadn't formally offered the job to Hagel, but others familiar with the process said that the announcement could come as soon as Monday.
Hagel, who was elected to the Senate from Nebraska in 1996 and retired in 2008, was awarded two Purple Hearts for wounds he received as a soldier in Vietnam. His experience serving in that war made him wary about using force unless other options had been tried, he said in a recent interview with the history magazine Vietnam.
"I'm not a pacifist. I believe in using force but only after a very careful decision-making process. … I will do everything I can to avoid needless, senseless war," he said.
In a post yesterday waxing enthusiastic about Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, Michael Moore called attention to a statement of Hagel that I don't believe had been previously much noted. Here it is, from September 2007:
"People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are," said the Republican Senator from Nebraska Chuck Hagel to law students of Catholic University last September. "They talk about America's national interest. What the hell do you think they're talking about? We're not there for figs."
This rounds out a Hagelian worldview—but I also wonder if it could be the straw that breaks the back of Hagel's chances. It's true that senators have been notified in the last few days that Hagel is the likely choice. But the latest AP story has the Obama administration keeping the door open for the president to go in a different direction: "White House aides said the president has not made a final decision on either post and won't until he returns from Hawaii, where he is vacationing with his family. Obama is due back in Washington Sunday morning." Now, when Obama returns, he'll have to come to grips with the Hagel war-for-oil statement.Of course it was about oil. Cheney himself was meeting with the major oil companies before 911 to divide up the Iraqi oil fields. Another problem is that Obama has not been inclined to let the Israeli tail wag the US dog and Hagel is not likely to change that.
I think Daniel Larison gets it right:
Yes, McCain and the usual hard-liners will grandstand during the hearings, but they likely would have done that anyway, and I doubt that there most Senate Republicans want to be seen blocking Hagel. Not only would that be an extraordinary thing to do in response to any Cabinet nomination, but it would be unheard of to do it to a former colleague and a member of their own party. Republican hard-liners will do what they can to make the hearings a tiresome and drawn-out process, but in so doing they will simply be reconfirming why the public doesn’t trust them and why Hagel was the right choice.