I wrote a diary Saturday morning providing highlights of Chuck Hagel's right wing voting record. In it, I basically said "meh" to Hagel, and pointed out his extremely right wing voting record on most issues. This is who the President wants and he's okay on war and peace issues, but I don't like him. So I said this:
I am disappointed in his selection. There are plenty of decent people who could do the job. Like I said, I don't oppose it, but I don't like it and will not join in any whitewashing of Hagel merely because President Obama appointed him. And I sure won't call my senators and ask them to confirm Hagel. But I won't call and ask them to oppose. I'll sit this one out.Chuck Hagel's Dismal, Sordid Voting Record
Check out his voting record. It ain't pretty.
But in fairness to Hagel, and in showing how far this nation has gone in "dumbing down" decency, he did oppose the Bush torture policies. And he opposed the war in Iraq, after voting for it, and would not hawk a war with Iran. On the Iran point, he was rhetorically to the left of Hillary Clinton.
See his article in Washington Monthly in 2008 after the orange squiglly thing.
In fact, until now, every previous U.S. administration and every civilized government in history has condemned the practice of waterboarding. After World War II, the American government convened war crimes tribunals that prosecuted and convicted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American prisoners of war. A century ago, the U.S. Army court-martialed American soldiers for using similar methods during the Philippine insurrection. The public acknowledgment on February 5 by CIA Director Michael Hayden that the U.S. government has engaged in waterboarding is a disgrace to America and the values we represent.By Chuck Hagel
But in our effort to protect the nation, we must remember our greatest strength: the principles of human rights that we have upheld throughout our country's wars and conflicts. It is vital that the world can trust what we say and have confidence in what we do. There must be no doubt that this great nation does not torture.
Congress, then, must explicitly define acceptable interrogation practices. I support the use of the Army Field Manual as the single, government-wide standard.
If that standard is adopted, the effectiveness of our interrogations will not suffer. Torture is not only illegal—it also does not work. I have heard from numerous military and intelligence officers—including those World War II Army interrogators—who have seen combat and know the intelligence business. They have told the Senate that coercive interrogation generates "information of dubious value," and that "revelation of the use of such techniques does immense damage to the reputation and moral authority of the United States, [which is] essential to our efforts to combat terrorism." The Army has consistently said that the techniques authorized in the Field Manual give interrogators all the tools they require.
We must be bold and innovative in the fight against terrorism and extremism. But we must also be mindful that our actions have consequences and can sometimes serve the purposes of our adversaries. One of the greatest long-term dangers America faces is that we are now mistrusted by many nations, even our allies. In poll after poll, most people around the world say the United States plays a negative role in world affairs. As General Colin Powell has warned, "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."
This is not a way to keep America safe, or to build our influence for good in the world. Americans must not take the easy, morally ambiguous road. That is not who we are. The right path—at times the more difficult path—is the one that is paved with our principles and our values.
At least he's against torture. I'm unsure if that can be said about all the nominees today.
So, I'm still a "meh," but I see a few points of decency nothwithstanding his odious record on women, gays, poor folks, workers, etc.
I'd rather have a Democrat.