Hightower on Hagel

A grunt at the Pentagon?

Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower – Tue., 2/5/13

I didn’t know a whole lot about Chuck Hagel before President Obama nominated him to be the new Pentagon chief, but here’s one thing I’ve learned that I definitely like about him: He has the right enemies!

Leading the charge to stop Hagel is a gaggle of hyper-right-wing militarists. Dubbed the Vulcans (after the Roman god of fire), they were the gung-ho hawks who championed the Bush-Cheney regime’s in-your-face doctrine of pre-emptive war. They were raring to go into Iraq to grab those weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist, and now they’re raring to rush into Iran.

Well, by “raring to go,” I mean they’re hopped up to send other Americans into war, not themselves or their loved ones. They are gutless arm-chair warriors, including Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Elliott Abrams–as well as Cheney himself–all of whom turned down the chance to be warriors in the Vietnam era.

Now, the ferocious “Vulcans” are running their mouths against Sen. Hagel, incredibly labeling him an “appeaser” who is too hesitant to charge into war. But, unlike them, Hagel actually knows something about war, since he’s been there. Not as an advisor or visiting official, but as a grunt. He enlisted to go to Vietnam, into the thick of battle, coming away with two purple hearts, a chest full of shrapnel, bad burns, and a unique outlook on the use of military might that you can’t get from sitting on a barstool and shouting “go get ’em” at the TV.

Wounded in 1968, Hagel says he told himself: “If I ever get out of this and I’m ever in a position to influence policy, I will do everything I can to avoid needless, senseless wars.”

Do we ever need that in a Pentagon boss!

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