“This is the neocons’ worst nightmare because you’ve got a combat soldier, successful businessman and senator who actually thinks there may be other ways to resolve some questions other than force,”
-Richard L. Armitage,
Neocons and Republicans Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham can't stand the fact that former Senator Chuck Hagel supported the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Given their vehemence against Hagel you would think that the Secretary of Defense nominee stayed neutral doing World War II.
Nope, Hagel had the good sense to question American soldiers dying in a war based on huge lies and deception. The former Nebraska Senator remembers the lies fed to the Congress and the public about Iraq including about nuclear weapons and the country being a base for terrorism.
A Sunday New York Times Article by Jim Ruthenberg entitled "Hawks on Iraq Prepare For War Again, Against Hagel". The first paragraphs of the story says it all but you should read the entire informative article.
"In the bitter debate that led up to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said that some of his fellow Republicans, in their zest for war, lacked the perspective of veterans like him, who have “sat in jungles or foxholes and watched their friends get their heads blown off.”
Those Republicans in turn called him an “appeaser” whose cautious geopolitical approach dangerously telegraphed weakness in the post-Sept. 11 world.
The campaign now being waged against Mr. Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense is in some ways a relitigation of that decade-old dispute. It is also a dramatic return to the public stage by the neoconservatives whose worldview remains a powerful undercurrent in the Republican Party and in the national debate about the United States’ relationship with Israel and the Middle East.
To Mr. Hagel’s allies, his presence at the Pentagon would be a very personal repudiation of the interventionist approach to foreign policy championed by the so-called Vulcans in the administration of President George W. Bush, who believed in pre-emptive strikes against potential threats and the promotion of democracy, by military means if necessary.
“This is the neocons’ worst nightmare because you’ve got a combat soldier, successful businessman and senator who actually thinks there may be other ways to resolve some questions other than force,” said Richard L. Armitage, who broke with the more hawkish members of the Bush team during the Iraq war when he was a deputy to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. "
The journalist later writes:
"Mr. Hagel’s earliest concerns arose before the Congressional vote authorizing the use of force. “You can take the country into a war pretty fast,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2002, “but you can’t get us out as quickly, and the public needs to know what the risks are.” In the interview, he took a swipe at Mr. Perle, then one of the most visible promoters of the war, saying, “Maybe Mr. Perle would like to be in the first wave of those who go into Baghdad.”
Mr. Perle had never served in the military. Along with Mr. Hagel’s comment in Newsweek that many of the war’s most steadfast proponents “don’t know anything about war,” his criticism prompted a national discussion about “chicken hawks,” a derisive term for those advocating war with no direct experience of it. And his comments drew a rebuke from The Weekly Standard that Mr. Hagel was part of an “axis of appeasement.”
Mr. Hagel’s words appear to sting to this day. “Normally you hope your cabinet officers don’t resort to ad hominem argument,” said Mr. Perle, who is now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In an interview, he said his opposition to the nomination stemmed from his fear that Mr. Hagel was among those who “so abhor the use of force that they actually weaken the diplomacy that enables you to achieve results without using force.”
Yet Mr. Hagel did ultimately vote to give Mr. Bush the authority to go to war. He has said that he did so to give the administration diplomatic leverage and that he now regrets it. Explaining his vote on the floor of the Senate, he warned, “We should not be seduced by the expectations of ‘dancing in the streets’ after Saddam’s regime has fallen.”