Monday, January 07, 2013

Best and Brightest?

Chuck Hagel has my thanks for his service in Vietnam. But he has no business serving as Secretary of Defense. That said, if President Obama is determined to have that man, I see no reason to deny him that choice. Hagel doesn't openly drool while speaking, so what the heck.

I can't believe Chuck Hagel is going to be nominated as our Secretary of Defense. I already noted that Hagel attempted to lose the war in Iraq, unable to see the progress being made even as the surge was getting started.

Now we can recall (tip to Weekly Standard) that Hagel was unable to judge the health of the Army and what might break that Army:

"Today, what we're doing because of our five years in Iraq is essentially destroying our military," he said.

I assume Hagel meant the Army and perhaps Marines, since the Navy and Air Force weren't stressed in the war, even if some assets like air transport were heavily used.

That was in July 2008. He was wrong. I worried about the stress on the Army, but never saw any indications that the Army was breaking under that stress. Months earlier, I wrote about why our Army was not breaking--unit cohesion.

In Vietnam, we wrecked unit cohesion as we withdrew from South Vietnam. That is what broke our Army. That and defeat in the war which robbed our troops of a reason for their sacrifice.

Our Army emerged from Iraq battle hardened and experienced. We maintained unit cohesion despite the howls of protest over stop-loss policies that kept units together. And we won the war.

What exactly is the reason Chuck Hagel should be our Secretary of Defense if we can rule out his judgment about the military and its ability to fight?

President Obama can have his man at Defense if he wants to break the Army (I assume the president prefers the Navy and Air Force, since they don't fight land wars) with this man. That's his right. And I suppose if people outside the White House want Hagel to stick it to the Jews, that's their right, too.

But it doesn't make it an honorable choice, and it doesn't make Hagel a good choice--let alone the best choice--for our next Secretary of Defense.

UPDATE: I never said he was all bad--so nominate Hagel as head of EPA.