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No Case for Hagel

1:18 PM, Dec 27, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The surprising thing about the slew of supposedly "pro-Hagel" pieces—articles that at first blush would seem to say that Chuck Hagel should be the next secretary of defense—is that none actually make the case for Hagel.

The alternative, Chuck Hagel

The alternative, Chuck Hagel

Consider the New York Times op-ed, “Don’t Let Pro-Israel Extremists Sink Chuck Hagel,” by James Besser. And this, this, this, this and so on.

Instead, these articles (and many more like them) just attack those concerned that Hagel is not the right man for the job.

No one, I believe, is actually making the argument that Hagel is well qualified to be secretary of defense. No one says Hagel’s own writings make that case; no one says his votes in the Senate are anything beyond an embarrassment; no one is saying he has the proper management experience to guide such a bureaucracy; and no one is pointing to any leadership role Hagel might have had in the Senate. There's a reason for this: There just isn't any evidence to suggest he'd be a good secretary of defense. 

Indeed, as Dan Senor points out, Hagel is objectively less qualified to be secretary of defense than any recent secretary of defense— Panetta, Gates, Rumsfeld, Cohen, Deutsch, Aspin, Cheney, Carlucci, Weinberger, and Brown.

Of course, the boosters of Hagel do point out that his views are similar to their own on Israel, Iran, the "Jewish Lobby," and so on, which is their prerogative. But are we then supposed to believe that his views (which his supporters acknowledge are out of the mainstream) mean he could actually manage the military? Now that's a tough sell.

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