Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Hagel has what it takes: Integrity"

Here's a nice piece from Daniel Klimek that was in The Depaulia a while back.
Hagel has what it takes: Integrity
by Daniel Klimek
Staff Writer

After Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made her appearance before a bipartisan Senate committee last week, a day after George Bush presented his idiotic plan for war escalation in a nationally televised address, she ended up experiencing a lot of resistance in her attempts to purvey the president's newest foreign policy wishes.

The ubiquitous resistance against a plan that would send over 20,000 more American lives to the contemporary, war-infected tragedy that is Iraq was fervently dismantled, with the greatest opposition produced by no one other than fellow Republican Chuck Hagel.

An independent-thinking Maverick Senator from Nebraska, Hagel is one of those rare creatures in the American political world: an individualist who refuses to be corrupted by the blindness of partisanship in order to influence decision-making efforts.

Never one to shy away from criticizing his own party when necessary, Hagel once famously remarked, "I took an oath of office to the Constitution. I didn't take an oath of office to my party or my president."

That is why when one of the president's top officials made an appearance before him, Hagel did not fail to disappoint with his natural rhetoric, blasting away at an ill-fated policy and at the pawn sent to sell it.

"To ask our young men and women to sacrifice their lives, to be put in the middle of a civil war, is wrong," Hagel told Rice. "It's, first of all, in my opinion, morally wrong. It's tactically, strategically, militarily wrong."

Hagel, a decorated Vietnam Veteran who (unlike certain Republican leaders) knows what war means firsthand, went on to say, "Some of us remember 1970, Madam Secretary, and that was Cambodia, when our government lied to the American people. I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee."

The two-time Purple Heart winner continued: "So Madam Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous." Then, in one of those poignant moments that sees integrity challenging the authoritarian forces of power, Hagel followed with a set of words that would be repeated all week throughout the national networks around the country.

"As a matter of fact, I have to say, Madam Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out. I will resist it."

Seldom does one hear the cheers of public applause at an American Congressional hearing televised on C-SPAN. But the moment could not have come at a more urgent time. Historically, Hagel's dissidence has caused him undeserving criticism. Members of his own party have gone as far as to comparing him to a Democrat. Which is not fair for such a comparison defames the good senator.

Far from a Democrat, Hagel's political liberalism is balanced with the proper amount of social conservatism. Unlike the ideological hypocrites on the Left who advocate the end to killing abroad in the name of peace, yet possess absolutely no shame in supporting similarly heinous actions on the domestic front in the name of "choice," Hagel's record shows a perfect recognition for the dignity of human life, opposing various forms of violence. When it comes to the great abortion debate, the senator shows equal respect for both mother and child with his pro-life stance. The Christian Coalition has given him a rating of 100%, representing a pro-family voting record.

Without question a prominent name considered for the 2008 Presidential Race, Hagel's supporters have developed a grassroots movement backing his candidacy. Though he has not officially announced it yet, the desire to recruit the senator for the '08 race has been established. Numerous unassociated online blogs and sites have been formed organizing efforts for a possible run.

The reason to support Hagel does lie in his individualistic integrity, embodied not only in the man as a politician but also as a human being. Perhaps yet the best example of this free-thinking independence exists in Hagel's response to the Israeli-Lebanese conflict which took place last summer.

While all mainstream politicians from each end of the political aisle�the Bush administration as well as self-proclaimed "progressives" like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi�supported Israel unequivocally as its military forces invaded Lebanon, killing over 1000 innocent civilians and displacing over one million people while labeling these atrocities as acts of "defense," only one high-profile senator spoke out.

Flirting with the possibility of breaking the unspoken, golden rule of American politics: do not ever cross the overly power Israel Lobby, exemplified so artfully in AIPAC (since doing so can result in political suicide), Hagel came before the senate floor in July, 2006, and declared that "The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now. This madness must stop." The latter point referring not only to the violence in the Middle East but also to the unequivocal support offered by both major U.S. parties.

Now that took some chutzpah�the kind necessary in 2008.


mia said...

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Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie
was that written before or after Hagel's press conference about nothing?

Charlie said...

It was written before, but I would doubt that the author has recinded what he said.

Anonymous said...

Hegal is the best candidate for President that has appeared in many, many years. Because he has integrity, is not bent upon bending over for either the Hagee nuts or the AIPAC Zionists, he will likely lose the nomination. Sad, but in consolation, we might consider what the German philosopher Max Stirner once said, "People deserve the government they get."

ericpaddon said...
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ericpaddon said...

I prefer to note what the leading conservative journal, National Review, has to say regarding Hagel's "chutzpah":

"At a time of crisis, count on U.S. senators to step up with symbolic measures that hold absolutely zero risk to themselves. That is what Senators Biden, Levin, and Hagel have done by offering their non-binding resolution disapproving of the Bush surge in Iraq. The only effect the resolution can possibly have is to weaken the commander in chief and dampen the morale of U.S. troops. These senators in effect want to say to the thousands of troops who will be part of the surge, “The U.S. Senate has no confidence that you can possibly accomplish your mission. Carry on!”

"We would like to express surprise that Chuck Hagel, a Republican and a Vietnam veteran, would aid such a naked partisan ploy — but we can’t. He’s the master of antiwar sound bites that are pitch-perfect for drawing Sunday-talk-show invitations, and this kind of attention-getting symbolism is a natural for him."

Daniel Klimek said...
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Daniel Klimek said...

Being the author of this article, first I would like to acknowledge the second comment that is posted here, and say that I wrote this article before Hagel's press conference and still feel the same about the good senator after his conference, offering my full support. Secondly regarding the last comment that is posted here by eric padden, I think this person makes a grave, and hypocritical mistake, adhereing to the idiotic establishment view that by not supporting the president's war escalation a senator is therefore not supporting the troops. Contrary, by criticizing the escalation he is supporting the troops, knowing well they deserve better. Here's a video-- --that Mr. Padden should see, wherein Senator Hagel calls out his fellow senators on their bullsh*t (youtube's title, not mine) acknowledging that these same senators who adhere to this same rhetoric, years ago OPPOSED war escalation in Bosnia and Somolia and declared their opposition as a SUPPORT for the troops. That was under Clinton. So ask yourself objectively: Who is, in this case, aiding a partisan ploy?

ericpaddon said...

First off Mr. Klimek, try to get the spelling of the name correct.

Second, the idea that one can "support the troops" while undermining their effort to do their job by saying they're incapable of winning is a bogus position.

I was against Clinton's excursions into Bosnia and Somalia all along (not to mention Haiti) because they didn't serve the national interest. Iraq does, and what a disgrace that the anniversary of Iraqi independence from Saddam can't be celebrated as a great moment as it should be thanks to the defeatist ilk spread by the anti-war Left and abettors like Hagel whose approach to foreign policy means substituting the legacy of Ronald Reagan in foreign policy with the philosophy of George McGovern.

Daniel Klimek said...

Excuse me for mispelling your last name Mr. Paddon, I hope there are no hard feelings.

First off, Mr. Paddon, Hagel is not undermining the troops' efforts, he is saying that sending over 21,000 more American lives to fight a civil war is wrong. Unlike George Bush here is a man that knows what war is, being a veteran of it, and knows that it is not a game. To him these numbers are not just statistics, they mean something.

It is easy, I'm sure, for you to write in the comforts of your own home and use "win" rhetoric since you are not risking your life out there everyday. But let me ask you, since the war has been provenly based on lies (WMDS) and since Saddam is already dead, then what on earth is there left to "win"?

You say that Iraq serves the "national interest" -- how so, when it has made the US arguably the most isolated country in the international world with its unilateral invasion that, once again, was based on lies. Sending hundreds of thousands of American lives to fight and die for lies, that, Mr. Paddon, is an example of undermining the troops.

ericpaddon said...

Sending over troops to try and win is somehow "wrong?" Exactly what is "wrong" with trying to stabilize Iraq and allow her well-earned independence from Saddam to mean something?

As for calling it a "civil war" that is as big a crock today as it was in Vietnam, when the "civil war" argument was used to justify the betrayal of the South Vietnamese (the Viet Cong in fact were a wholly owned subsidiary of the North Vietnamese, and what we faced there was no different than what we stood up to in Korea). The insurgents in Iraq come mostly from outside the country as part of an effort to try and sabotage any Iraqi chance for becoming prosperous.

And I really get tired of the "he knows what it's like" argument, because if that were applied with any level of consistency then Curtis LeMay was the smartest man on Vietnam among the nominated candidated for President and Vice President in 1968. I can cite plenty of veterans who think Hagel is all wet, but I don't use McCain's or Sam Johnson's status of having served in the military be their be-all end-all reason for endorsing their views of the Iraqi situation.

The war was not based on "lies" unless you subscribe to the garbage put out by the likes of Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore. And if being a Hagel supporter means kowtowing to that disreputable faction (as the Senator has done on more than one occasion as I noted in my own blog entry of yesterday), then I rest my case on the matter of Hagel offering nothing more than the coming of George McGovern to the GOP.

Anonymous said...

It's so sad to see how conservatism has been transformed from the principles of lower taxes, less government and more freedom to a defense of George W. Bush's record at home and abroad. That's a tall order since Bush's record has been one of unrestrained spending, a bungled foreign adventure, and an unparalleled expansion of federal power. I know of no conservative who can defend an agenda that makes Bill Clinton look conservative by comparison.

It's gotten so bad that an unashamed and unrepentant liberal like Rudy Guiliani is the front runner for the nomination because he has no criticisms of the president, the party or the war. Why would he? He's a liberal, too.

In questioning the effectiveness of the war in Iraq as the main thrust of the war on terror, Chuck Hagel is in good company. Company that includes Norman Schwartzkopf, Tom Clancy, Pat Buchanan, Tucker Carlson, Joe Scarborough, Ron Paul, Sam Brownback, Gordon Smith, and many others who are not on the payroll of the RNC.

ericpaddon said...

If you're counting Pat Buchanan among your allies, you give me enough good reason to say no way to Chuck. Buchanan isn't a conservative in the Reagan mold, he's a throwback to 1930s Charles Lindbergh America First Committee doctrines. And of course the matter of Buchanan's anti-Israel posturing that Hagel also aligns himself with makes his kind of thinking even worse.

As for Joe Scarborough, I would note that an article from 2005 that I linked on my blog reveals that back then, he had this to say about Hagel posturing on Iraq to set himself up as a presidential candidate:

"I‘m telling you right now, if Chuck Hagel or anybody that says anything that undercuts our troops as much as he did yesterday runs for president of the United States, I will do everything I can to try to defeat him. I would vote for Hillary Clinton before I voted for Chuck Hagel, because you know what? Hillary Clinton has never compared Iraq to Vietnam. He‘s a disgrace. And he needs to go back home, because we don‘t need his type in Washington, D.C."

Are we ever going to see the Senator denounce Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore and all the other extremists of the Far Left, or is Chuck going to just piggyback them some more to keep being regarded as the favorite Republican of the Far Left?

Anonymous said...

What is it with your anti-Israel accusations? If I think Iraq was a mistake, does that make me anti-Israel? Or is it because Buchanan is a Catholic and Hagel a mainstream Protestant? True, neither Buchanan or Hagel have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior as your President has, but does that make them anti-Israel? Will their policies prevent the Second Coming?

Last question Paddon, do you handle snakes every day, or just on Sunday?

ericpaddon said...

Buchanan's anti-Israel positions are, I think it's safe to say a matter of the documented record. And Hagel I note was described in one of the articles here as someone who would "stand up to AIPAC Zionists" and when I hear that kind of rhetoric, that automatically tells me we're in for someone who is going to prefer to find fault with Israel in the matter of violence that is perpetrated by Palestinians.

And then there's the matter of Hagel's peculiar alliance with the Cindy Sheehans of this nation which really doesn't speak well of him.

I'll leave it to you to provide a translation of the "snakes" comment since I haven't the vaguest idea of what that means.

Charlie said...

Hagel does not have an alliance Cindy Sheehan, he was merely stating that perhaps the President should have met with her. Had the President done so, much of that situation probably would have been defused and she would have gotten the attention she did.