Column: Confirm Hagel for defense secretary




The folks who gave you the long agony of Iraq now are leading the charge to derail the man who warned that it was a mistake, an opinion with which millions of Americans would now agree.

Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense to replace Leon Panetta is being opposed by the neoconservatives of the Bush administration, who apparently regard him as too timid when it comes to sending men and women into combat. That has more than a tinge of irony, seeing as they never have been there and he has.

What really upsets them is that as a Republican and twice-wounded veteran of Vietnam, Hagel felt some responsibility for outspokenness when it comes to this nation’s Israeli obligations and their influence on the decision to remove Saddam Hussein. Their resentment clearly lingers despite the fact Hagel ultimately voted for the Iraq resolution and has said he fully supports Israel.

Particularly galling for neocons may be that Hagel’s nomination once again points to the fact that he was right to be cautious — that their entire justification for the Iraq invasion was wrong.

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