In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
Meet Chuck Hagel

By Robert Scheer

Chuck Hagel for president! If it ever narrows down to a choice between him and some Democratic hack who hasn't the guts to fundamentally challenge the president on Iraq, then the conservative Republican from Nebraska will have my vote.

Yes, the war is that important, and the fact that Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, the leading Democratic candidate, still can't or won't take a clear stand on the occupation is insulting to the vast majority of voters who have.

Sen. Hagel is a decorated Vietnam War vet who learned the crucial lessons of that Democrat-launched debacle of post-colonial imperialism. Even more important, he has the courage to challenge a president from his own party who so clearly didn't. Hagel said,

The speech given by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam. We are projecting ourselves further and deeper into a situation that we cannot win militarily.

To ask our young men and women to sacrifice their lives to be put in the middle of a civil war is wrong. It's, first of all, in my opinion, morally wrong. It's tactically, strategically, militarily wrong.
If Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, another Democratic darling, has uttered words of such clarifying dissent on the president's disastrous course, then I haven't heard them. Instead, too many leading Democratic politicians continue to act as if they fear that if they are forthright in opposing the war, they will appear weak, whether on national security or the protection of Israel, and so ignore the clear, strong voice of the American people that just revived their party's fortunes.

Ever since President Ronald Reagan painted foreign policy as a simplistic war of good versus evil, the Republican Party has been in the thrall of neocon adventurers. Yet, the national emergence of Hagel reminds us that, two decades earlier, it was Dwight D. Eisenhower, a war hero and a Republican, who was the only president to clearly challenge the simplistic and jingoistic militarism that most Democrats embraced during the Cold War. It was Eisenhower, in fact, who refused to send troops to Vietnam, and his Democratic successors who opened the gates of war.

True conservatives, going back to George Washington, have always been wary of the "foreign entanglements" that our first general and president warned against in his farewell address. And it is in that spirit, recognizing the limits to U.S. military power, that Hagel spoke this past Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, late of an oft-opportunistic Democratic Party that saw fit to nominate him as recently as 2000 for the vice presidency, had just finished accusing those who don't support President Bush's escalation of the war of being "all about failing." In his defense of the indefensible, Lieberman baldly repeated many of Bush's lies that launched this war four years ago. Said the fear-monger,
The American people ... have been attacked on 9/11 by the same enemy that we're fighting in Iraq today, supported by a rising Islamist radical super-powered government in Iran. Allowing Iraq to collapse would be a disaster for the Iraqis, for the Middle East, for us, that would embolden the Iranians and al-Qaida, who are our enemies. And they would follow us back here.
Never mind the ridiculous image of "super-powered" Iran invading the United States, or the fact that foreign jihadists -- arriving after the overthrow of anti-fundamentalist strongman Saddam Hussein -- make up only a tiny fraction of the combatants in Iraq.

The question is how the apparently intelligent Lieberman doesn't understand that the main task of our troops for most of their stay in Iraq has been, de facto, to expand the power of Shiite theocrats trained for decades in Iran. Tehran couldn't have baited a better trap.

In any case, Hagel refused to bite on Lieberman's apocalyptic vision, which somehow manages to skip the hard truth that Iraq has collapsed because of our involvement, not despite it. Hagel responded, in what amounts to a radical opinion in paternalistic, arrogant Washington:
[T]he fact is, the Iraqi people will determine the fate of Iraq. The people of the Middle East will determine their fate. We continue to interject ourselves in a situation that we never have understood, we've never comprehended [and] we now have to devise a way to find some political consensus with our allies [and] the regional powers, including Iran and Syria.

To say that we are going to feed more young men and women into that grinder, put them in the middle of a tribal, sectarian civil war, is not going to fix the problem.
Words of wisdom that set the standard for anyone running for president.


pekka said...

Little Bill, you know that I have enjoyed of your musings tremendously the past few months. However, this particular one must be the most enjoyable of them all. And somehow, I needed that.

Wisdom by you and Chuck Hagel in the equal measure and the pathetic nonsense by poor, incomprehensibly blind Joseph Lieberman actually illustrates the Grand Canyon like void between voices of reason and those of the likes of him. To be honest, every time I hear Lieberman these days, I feel so embarassed for him. This happens to me every time when I hear somebody humiliating him or herself. Strange thing about it is, that those people seem to be themselves fully unaware of the extent of their nonsensical utterances. That, of course, is not only a pitty in a person of power but also very harmful and even dangerous.

Your keen observations made my day, Little Bill, and I like to thank you for them!

LittleBill said...

This the third time I have tried to answer you, Pekka. My first two comments were lost due to some problem with the net. So I'll try again.

The only credit I can take for this post is that I had it posted by the Big Boss. (I still don't know how to do it.) The article is by Robert Scheer, and the quotes are by Hagel.

I feel the same way you do. Although I would like to see Gore as president, I would also settle for him as the head of a very well-funded and powerful Department of the Environment.

In the meantime, I will be watching Hagel closely and will be really excited if he should run for president.

Thank you for your comments about Lieberman. Like Bush, he seems to be going off the deep end rapidly.

Badger said...

I hope this post makes it...4th try! I too am encouraged by Hagel's stand on the war and am furious that the dems are still dithering when it is clearly obvious that America no longer has any faith in this president or his war.(BTW, there is a good interview with Hagel in GQ about Iraq and yes he is spot on about the war) Why he is the only one smart enough to figure out that speaking out against this war might buy him the presidency is beyond me. Hello Hillary and Obama?

However, before we start thinking about voting for Hagel, let me remind you of McCain. When he came out against torture and a few other encouraging items(how pathetic that our political yardsticks have sunk to us being grateful that someone is against torture!) I found myself thinking about voting for him but then he showed his true colors. He went to Jerry Falwell's University and embraced a man he had earlier referred to with words such as " agent of intolerance", "evil influence" and "corrupting influence." He then "reminded" us that he is a conservative Republican...there was an eerie perversity to it, as if he were tickled he could trick us liberals. The joke was on us I guess.

Check out the website at His voting record on women's right, the environment, big oil, tax cuts for the wealthy, minimum wage and so forth are appalling. He gets very low scores from environmental groups and many other "liberal" organizations. Iraq has become such a monstrous issue that it is eclipsing the other deeply disturbing and profound problems awaiting us in our uncertain and scary future. I do not want Chuck Hagel or anyone remotely like him as my president. Hopefully Iraq will end one day and we need a president who can guide us out of the other hells we now find ourselves mired in. With so many problems, we need a president with more than one good idea. Senator Hagel just wants to be the next president, as do all of them, so please check out all of their voting records and refuse to be dazzled. Our very existence depends on it.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!


Messenger said...

Yes Badger, Your cautionary note is well-taken.

LittleBill said...

Excellent comment, Badger. I will remember it.