Let me first say I am truly sorry for what I am writing here. I had promised myself I would try to avoid political bickering following the inauguration. That being said, I cannot sit here and keep silent, especially on something I believe to be so ridiculous. In this case, I am referring to Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as secretary of defense.
Throughout each presidential administration, there are times when either a new cabinet is being appointed or there is the change of a member. In order for the new member to be approved, he or she must first be approved by the Senate. For the most part, the hearings are quick and rather unremarkable. Sometimes, however, this is not the case. There have been some rejections over the last 30 years, most notably John Tower in 1989.
Reasons for such denials can range from questionable political actions to pure spite from members of the Senate (as was the case in Tower’s situation). Likewise, I would not be surprised if the latter was the case in Hagel’s situation. But what for? We have seen this pointless bickering growing within the Republican Party, and it now moves on to members of their own party.
Watching the confirmations last week, I was disgusted with some of the questions I heard. Here is a man who shares almost all of the same political views as the rest of his own party. Yet, because he disagreed on one or two issues, the party immediately concluded that he has committed political heresy. Perhaps the worst was by a Senator who I once admired but now believe needs to get out of the game: Arizona Sen. John McCain and his inability to treat Hagel kindly just because he opposed the troop surge in 2007. Alas, that is just the new rules of the Republican Party, of which I will always be a member despite my growing frustration with a number of its actions.
Now I should probably get back to my main objective, which is supporting Chuck Hagel for the role of Obama’s secretary of defense. His record is indeed one of the best that has come up over the last few decades. A Vietnam War veteran, Hagel is thoroughly aware of the devastation that war can have for the United States.
Like the Vietnam era, the U.S. government finds itself in conflicts abroad where we are not sure who our enemy is. In the past, several politicians had misunderstood this underlying factor. As a result, we have been led into senseless wars where we have had no idea what it is we are looking for or who we are fighting. Someone like Hagel already understands this and would know where the U.S. should pick its battles.
After these notes, I cannot see why anyone would have any doubt as to why Hagel should be the next secretary of defense of the United States. I always respect the decisions of our Senate when they have legitimate reasons to be concerned. But we all know that this is not the reason for the trouble.
Of course, it seems to be the growing trend in U.S. politics, so maybe it would be foolish to hope for better.