I'm not the least surprised over the potential problem with President Obama's pick of Chuck Hagel in becoming our next Defense Secretary. First of all, Hagel is what America has always needed more of: a politician with the courage to break with his party. He is a Vietnam vet who knows about war and the personal and financial cost of waging it.On that one point alone, there is a difference between he others who have held that office. He saw first-hand what reckless invasions into a foreign country can lead to. America has now done this twice (over the past 50 years) including Iraq and both misadventures were simply monumental failures on so many levels. Obama has shown an ability to "get tough" when necessary, and also sees the need to now back away from unnecessary war. America, and the rest of the civilized world will have to deal with Iran, but invading or bombing that country should be an absolute last resort. I've always believed as so many Americans do that most Iranian citizens actually like Americans. They desperately would like to move on from the cleric oversight of their country, but doing so is more than a dicey proposition. We, and they, are moving through treacherous waters right now, and the most crucial of negotiations are needed to navigate our way to a peaceful resolution. One day that country will move beyond the archaic rule that dominates them, and will be welcomed to a more modern and reasonable (I use that word lightly) world.
Being Jewish, I'm more than aware of Hagel's remark about "the Jewish lobby" having intimidated American politicians, but it's basically true. The Jewish or Israeli lobby is quite powerful and well funded in America and rightly so. Israel needs our support, but we do have to look at all sides of what's going on in the Mideast. We will always be there to support Israel, and American Jews shouldn't worry about that. Many surrounding countries in that part of the world have gone to war against Israel, and we have gone to the limit in arming our ally. With the exception of a nuclear bomb, Israel would be a tough nation to beat in any conventional war. Unfortunately for America, we are more than stuck over there because of our need for oil which maybe coming to a climax as we are finally realizing that oil is a finite energy source, and our presence in that part of the world can be costly on many levels. Hagel has a good working relationship with Obama, so I'm not worried about their combined ideas of what is best for us to do with Iran or any other potential threat over there. The odd duo of John McCain and his boy-buddy, Lindsey Graham are out to destroy this nomination because McCain is basically a poor sport with intense anger issues who simply is incapable of getting over his 2008 loss to Obama.While a Republican Senator, Hagel was a maverick who was willing to buck his party's ideas which is what McCain used to be like until he sold his soul to the right in attaining the nomination in 2008. let us also not forget, Hagel supported Barack Obama in that election.Graham is such a fickle hack, he goes along with whatever big bad John tells him to. The Democrats who may come out (at least initially) against Hagel including Chuck Schumer, of New York, have always been at the beck and call of Israel for obvious reasons (he's a Jew and represents New York). Schumer may have to make noises for obligatory reasons against Hagel's nomination. In the end, Hagel should be nominated.
One other reason the Republican Party of 2013 may want to stir up trouble over the Hagel nomination is that it may offer temporary cover during the Obama administration's efforts to pass gun control legislation.Ever since the Republicans have been hijacked by the extreme right, they are more than ever in the bloody pocket of the NRA. There is no way on earth this crazed organization is going to even consider working with anybody-anywhere on gun control legislation. Their only solution to any rampant gun violence and assault weapon availability is to arm more people. It's always that way with the NRA: "if we just arm more people". Like most of the extreme right, it's always about simple solutions to complex problems.The Republican Party is still lucid enough to realize that after the massacre of 20 children, there just may be enough Americans who finally realize any weapon which can mow down dozens of people in a matter of seconds, may not be a good thing: is that basic enough of a concept to understand?
So Chuck Hagel does have a haggle to contend with. In the end, I think he will be our next Secretary of Defense. In the world of terrorism in which we now live, security and defense are more important than ever although Obama's use of the CIA and other "outfits" have almost put the defense department on the back burner. "Special Ops" seems now the likely beneficiary of our war against terrorism, and doing so has produced results. This may be the best lesson in the new world of combat: we don't always have to resort to a full military onslaught of multiple battalions, battleships, and submarines. More than likely, the use of Special Forces may be the way to go. This idea is nothing new as both President Kennedy, his brother Robert, and other people in government have seen the wisdom of using a smaller fighting force in modern day warfare.