Chuck Hagel isn’t perfect, but making him Secretary of Defense would go a long way toward showing neoconservatives the door. …
A clip from this week’s column:
As for Chuck Hagel, so deeply opposed by America’s war wing? He isn’t perfect.
I disagree with his stance against abortion, and he rightly apologized for insulting a former U.S. ambassador as “aggressively gay.” A lot has changed since the 90s, in our culture, and in our laws. Hagel will have to reassure the public (and the Senate) that he can fully implement modern military policies like open service.
But I believe Hagel is a fitting leader for a Pentagon still shaking off the vestiges of magical thinking that propelled this country into an unprovoked war much like Vietnam — back when Cheney and many of his fellow war hawks had “better things to do” when their country came calling via the draft.
Hagel, like Obama, embodies our collective rejection of the ideas that brought us into Iraq. The realist strain in American foreign policy is back, full force, with Obama’s quiet power approach to the Arab Spring, and his clear reticence to send American troops into places like Syria or to Tehran. Some of the more troubling aspects of the new realism seem embedded too —like war by drone and indefinite detention. We’re still struggling, after all.
But on balance, Hagel seems to be the right man for this time.
Even his — and let’s face it, Obama’s — sterner stance toward Israel might actually help that country’s peacemakers resist the internal opponents to a two-state solution.
And if Hagel’s presence means an even more diminished influence for his former friend and comrade in arms, John McCain, and McCain’s sidekick Lindsey Graham, so be it. McCain’s personalization of policy does him and his colleagues no good. And his championing of the “war at all costs” zealotry of the remaining neocons cuts against the grain of the current American majority, who are tired of constant intervention abroad. …
Read the whole thing here.
Meanwhile, Perry Bacon Jr. also had a great take on Hagel’s nomination.