Senator Lindsey Graham (R, SC), who grows increasingly shrill in the face of a possible Tea Party primary challenge in 2014, called Chuck Hagel “one of the most unqualified, radical choices for secretary of defense in a very long time." Senator, get a grip . . .
More radical than Donald Rumsfeld (2001-6), who oversaw the disastrous war in Iraq,who became the first leader of America’s military to justify torture, and who rationalized the condition of U.S. battlefield equipment by telling his own troops that “you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want ” – even though it was America that had decided to go to war?
Or than Jefferson Davis (1853-7), the only secretary of war to be subsequently charged with treason – for leading a war against the U.S. government that resulted in 700,000 American dead?
More unqualified than Dick Cheney (1989-93), who responded to a question about his five Vietnam-era deferments by saying, "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service?”
Or than Simon Cameron (1861-2), who resigned from the war department after less than a year because his corruption was so astounding?
Republican objections to Hagel seem fourfold: He challenged the Israeli lobby; he opposed the Iraq war; he seeks alternatives to bombing Iran; and he crossed party lines to support Obama in 2008. Good for him.
In 1997 Bill Clinton nominated Republican Senator William Cohen to be secretary of defense. The senate confirmed him unanimously. And he went on to do an excellent job. How times have changed.