“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.” Sen. Chuck Hagel
The United States continues to suffer under the “leadership” (for lack of a better word) of President Obama. One of my chief gripes against the President is that he, like the three presidents before him, is a warmonger. Now at long last the President has put forward an idea with which I can agree- the nomination of former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.
We are a nation in a continual state of warfare. For decades American troops have been in countries all over the globe sticking our nose in other countries’ business. We have been waging a war in Afghanistan for so long that some of the troops serving in the war were third-graders when the war started. Now we have the opportunity to have a Secretary of Defense that believes war should be a last resort and Senate Republicans are already out publicly opposing him. I find this situation a bit odd. Republican Establishment types have always promoted a “Vote Republican no matter what” philosophy. Here they have a chance to vote for a Republican and they seem more than hesitant to do so. When something unusual happens it is reasonable to ask “Why”. The answer is that too many Republicans in Congress are too in love with sending other people’s children to die in war so that their personal political agenda can be exported to other countries. It would be one thing if they opposed Hagel’s nomination simply because they dislike Obama. But some of our highest-ranking Republicans oppose Hagel because Hagel dislikes war.
Sen. Lindsey Graham is just such a Republican. Lindsey Graham is one of the Republican Party’s most devoted warmongers. Therefore he cannot tolerate having a Secretary of Defense who might not share his love of empire-building, death, blood, maiming, and suffering.
Sen. Hagel has a philosophy about war that many Republican Congressional leaders cannot abide: He thinks it should be avoided if at all possible. Sen. Hagel’s “talk first, shoot if you must” attitude is in contravention to those interventionists in the GOP who think it is their duty to impose American-style democracy at the point of a gun. This attitude is one reason why leading Republicans say “I like Ron Paul, except on foreign policy” in the same tone as those who say “Some of my best friends are Black”.
Graham showed an embarrasing lack of understanding of the job description of the US Secretary of Defense when he went on CNN and said Hagel
“would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense toward the state of Israel in our nation’s history”.
Seriously Lindsey Graham? I am all for the US and Israel being allies but the job of the United States Secretary of Defense is the defense of the United States not the appeasement of the Israeli government. How can a US Senator not understand the job description of a job whose description is included in the title?
Let me be clear about one thing. I think that the American/Israeli alliance is a legitimate one. The State of Israel is an ally of the United States and should have all of the assurances of all of our other allies. I can even buy that Israel is an especially close ally. However, no ally of ours, no matter how enthusiastically we support them, ought to be able to dictate to Americans who should serve in our highest offices. Tell a Republican that the United Nations is going to have veto power over who leads our county and they will vehemently reject the notion, and rightfully so. In this case Israel is no different regardless of historic, cultural, or religious ties.
There is no legitimate reason for Senate Republican to deny a decorated war veteran the job of Secretary of Defense. I hope Sen. Hagel does become Secretary of Defense because with him in that position we have a better chance of avoiding at least some war. Maybe. Hopefully.
I am not a huge fan of Hagel’s career in the Senate. His voting record on civil rights is not awful, but not stellar either. He was a Patriot Act cherleader and I could go on ad infinitum about the Patriot Act and how bad it is. I usually agreed with him on immigration. Try to keep families together but build a damn fence. The question for today has nothing to do with civil rights, immigration, or what some other country think we ought to do. Sen. Hagel is not being nominated for a civil rights position. Nor is he being nominated for an immigration position. He is being nominated to run the Armed Forces of the United States. Sen. Hagel is an honorable person who served our nation in the most honorable manner and is certainly qualified to be Secretary of State. When Sen. Graham and the rest of his warmongering buddies are deciding whether or not to vote for him they would do well to remember those points and decline to take the call from Tel Aviv. Perhaps Sen. Graham will get his wish and we will have a Secretary of Defense who is itching for another war. Perhaps Graham will get the war with Iran he so badly wants before he retires.