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So said Former Senator Max Cleland about the possibility of another former Senator Chuck Hagel serving as the Secretary of Defense. And for all the weaknesses Hagel has, alas as a Republican, I agree with Senator Cleland that he is extremely well qualified for the purpose he will be asked to serve.  

Pictured is Senator Cleland, who lost both his legs and an arm when while serving in combat in Vietnam, as he greets President Carter. This man, who has given so much for his country, is EXCITED to see two Vietnam War veterans serve at the highest levels.
“Look at John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, two wounded combat veterans of the Vietnam War. They’ve got five purple hearts between them. That’s the kind of people we want withdrawing from Afghanistan and ending this insane war and occupation and focusing the country on using the American military to stay out war, but if we get in war to win war and win it quickly,” he said.

"I see them as the perfect dynamic duo — Batman and Robin, Salt and Pepper, Tom and Jerry. Whatever you want to call it, instead of State and DoD fighting each other all the time as is historically the case, I see them hand-in-glove together,” he said. The two “share a common background,” he added. “They have both been shot at and hit.”

As for criticism about Chuck Hagel, this is what Senator Cleland had to say:
“You can’t take one comment by somebody that has been in American politics for decades and hold it against him. You have to measure their whole outlook,” he said. “My understanding is Chuck has met with [the LGBT] community, that he’s met with the Jewish community and whether or not they’re satisfied with his stances, there’s no question in my mind that he is fully capable of embracing the basic rule that all Americans get a chance to serve if they want to.”
I wouldn't agree that Sen. Hagel would be right for any other position. But when President Obama asks him to serve as the Secretary of Defense, I think he will hit the nail on the head. This action will prove how much the President cares about the troops, when he gives two former wounded veterans the responsibility of putting those men and women in harms way.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hagel was an enlisted man in Vietnam as well... (7+ / 0-)

    which is a huge deal if he does get nominated and confirmed.  

    It could be an interesting dynamic where Kerry is more hawk than the SecDef.  

    President Obama would have been a Republican in the 1980's.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:23:29 AM PST

  •  I agree with you. Hagel has the background (4+ / 0-)

    the ability and the relationship with Obama to fill the position. That he is not a democrat doesn't make up for the rest.  I see him as independent anyway, he has evolved a lot.

    Cleland is right about the Tom and Jerry bit too. he and Kerry were friends and i suspect this will be satisfactory relationship that strengthens both positions.

    Barack Obama: "These guys want to be paid like rock stars when all they're doing is lip-synching capitalism." may21, 2010

    by vc2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:55:59 AM PST

  •  He's not a hawk (3+ / 0-)

    That's important.

  •  Max Cleland is a hero of mine, and if he says (6+ / 0-)

    Chuck Hagel is qualified to be Secretary of Defense, then that settles the issue in my mind. Max Cleland would never recommend someone who is unfit to this position, which I am sure Mr. Cleland wants filled only by the most qualified individual that President Obama can nominate.

    This just confirms in my mind the wisdom of nominating Chuck Hagel to this position. I hope the Senate confirms his nomination in a speedy & timely manner.

    Max Cleland has always been one of the strongest supporters of our military and our veterans. Anyone who receives Max's blessing is going to do a fine job.

  •  Ray McGovern backs Hagel, too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coolelegans, BlackSheep1
    The Larger Question of Chuck Hagel

    As a two-term senator, Chuck Hagel’s other real sin was that he was one of the few defectors among congressional Republicans regarding the Iraq War. Though Hagel voted for President George W. Bush’s war authorization, he eventually recognized his mistake and fessed up.

    Hagel said he believes the Iraq War was one of the biggest blunders in U.S. history. He sharply criticized the Bush/Cheney foreign policy as “reckless,” saying it was playing “ping pong with American lives.” Such comments have made Hagel particularly unpopular with the top tier of hawkish Republican senators, such as Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona.

    But Hagel’s ultimate offense, as far as Official Washington is concerned, is his unusual record of independent thinking that could, in Israel’s eyes, endanger or even derail business as usual with the U.S.  He is considered a realist, a pragmatist. Moreover, there can hardly be a more offensive remark to Israeli ears than the one made by Hagel to author Aaron Miller reflecting the sad state of affairs in Congress:

    “The Jewish Lobby intimidates a lot of people up here” [on the Hill], but “I’m a United States Senator.  I’m not an Israeli senator.”

    And from the Baltimore Sun:
    Obama needs Hagel in the Pentagon
    Former senator would be the only Secretary of Defense in 30 years with combat experience

    Absent from the discussion about whether former Senator Chuck Hagel would make a good secretary of defense is any focus on lessons learned from personal factors like combat in war, as well as loyalty to the president.

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:02:23 AM PST

  •  Look, if we're gonna disqualify everybody (0+ / 0-)

    because we assume that they can't outgrow a bad decision or learn from the backlash of more than one stupid comment, who are we going to have left?

    The body of Hagel's work suggests he'll do fine. If we're replacing SecState Clinton with SecState Kerry, and SecDef Panetta with SecDef Hagel, it's a win-win IMO.

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 12:50:05 PM PST

  •  I have been for this appointment since word go (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, coolelegans, chimene

    but I also knew how Sen. Cleland felt about Chuck Hagel.
    I felt a bond also formed with Sen Hagel and the president during his campaign of 08.  To be honest, the people who are complaining might have something to complain about if the president chose Lindsay or McCain and we know those two are just jealous that he didn't.
    He chose a moderate with more dove than hawk outlooks.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:11:47 PM PST

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