The defense budget should be cut. But when it comes to taking on the defense establishment, President Obama has been timid. He needs someone to take the lead for him, a decorated military veteran with perspective. Chuck Hagel fits the bill to be Obama's hatchet man.
Hagel's opponents are trying to accomplish through these hearings and through their rants against Mr. Hagel what they could not accomplish through the presidential election -- to devalue Mr. Obama and his posture on foreign policy.
All the money spent by the Sheldon Adelsons of the world, to sink this nomination, is a colossal waste. Chuck Hagel will be confirmed, and neoconservative influence over our military policy will finally, and thankfully, be dead.
You can be sure: Hagel's military service in Vietnam will be mentioned -- and praised. You can also be sure of this: no senator will ask Hagel about his presence during the machine-gunning of an orphanage in Vietnam's Mekong Delta or the lessons he might have drawn from that incident.
The fight over his confirmation as defense secretary has obscured the philosophical meaning of his nomination: President Obama's attempt to define a new U.S. world role that reflects America's changed circumstances and more limited resources.
As a gay man who had to live under the oppressive "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy, I'm shocked that Hagel didn't support DADT repeal sooner. I'm also shocked that he didn't even make a public statement of support for DADT repeal. Instead, he wrote a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer.
I have consistently defended Senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for Secretary of Defense, against allegations that he is "anti-Semitic," against attacks for his lack of appetite for "elective" wars, etc.
John Kerry's and Chuck Hagel's service in Vietnam in the late 1960s suggests three common lessons and legacies from that tragic war that are likely to influence their policy recommendations to the president for whom they work.
What this attack on Hagel is really about is an effort to get even with him, a former Republican Senator, for disavowing the war on Iraq and the Republican Party's movement to the far right on a number of issues.