Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will survive his rough handling in the Senate Armed Services Committee and be confirmed to be the next Secretary of Defense, despite the efforts of Arizona Senator John McCain, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, and newly minted Texas Senator Ted Cruz, to derail his nomination, more on vindictiveness than anything else. Here was a basically conservative Republican, who like Richard Lugar, had the nerve to be independent, and be willing to cross the aisle and work with Democrats, and even, in the case of Hagel, endorse Barack Obama in 2008.
Hagel is a man of principle, a man of courage and determination, a man of levelheadedness, a man who has served his country well during his years in the military, a man who has been a successful businessman which makes him able to handle the massive bureaucracy of the Pentagon, and a man who is able to deal with adversity as it already has visited him, with his two Purple Hearts while serving in Vietnam, including his bravery in saving his own brother when both were wounded at the same time.
Hagel has a steadiness about him that will make him an outstanding Secretary of Defense, and his criticism of the “surge” in Iraq in 2007, which killed 1200 soldiers and wounded thousands others will stand the test of time, long after John McCain and his hawkishness, which calls for constant military intervention and invasion, is repudiated, as having been the wrong choice for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, two “chicken hawks”, to make.
John McCain will be looked back upon as a man who, fortunately, we did not elect President of the United States, while we will look back upon Chuck Hagel’s service as Secretary of Defense under Barack Obama as one of the best cabinet choices ever made for the Pentagon, if not the best, since the agency was created in 1947!