Hagel

James Fallows is digging deep on the Hagel hearings, trying to figure out why Hagel did kind of a crap job. I have to say I’m not surprised because Hagel has always seemed, for want of a better word, dumb. By “dumb” I guess I mean mainly “inarticulate”, but it goes farther than just being bad with words. He has a hard time coming up with quick replies to arguments, he generally has the puzzled/scared look of someone who’s out of their depth, and he plows through his memorized or written talking points in the deadened, rote manner of someone reading a text that’s essentially foreign to them.

That may sound harsh, but I don’t mean it to be, because I think Hagel is dumb (inarticulate) but not stupid (blind in the face of obvious evidence), and he’s certainly no coward. He made a lot of money by jumping into cell phones at just the right time, and, after making a mistake with Iraq, he had the guts and insight to change his mind. He’s not a reflexive warmonger like Grandpa McCain, and he seems to have pretty good interpersonal skills (at least there are no “asshole Hagel” stories that I’ve heard). He’s just not quick on his feet and apparently all the studying he did had no good effect when it came time to face the Armed Services Committee.

It doesn’t take a genius to be a good politician, in fact, being too smart (or, really, thinking that you’re really smart) is probably not a great qualification for a job that includes a lot of boring repetition, gladhanding and ass-in-chair meeting time. And, obviously, if I were as dumb as Hagel, maybe I’d be a multi-millionaire ex-Senator instead of a shitty blogger. Still, there’s no need to go into the weeds to find a reason that Hagel fell flat during those hearings: whatever his strengths, a modern-day Cicero he ain’t.

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70 replies
  1. 1
    Craigo says:

    This is why I hate the theater of hearings and debates. The public and officials have a right to know a nominee’s views before they vote for him or her, but now it’s become a contest to see who can score the most points.

  2. 2
    Comrade Jake says:

    Debatable whether any of this matters if he’s confirmed. When’s the vote?

  3. 3
    Bago says:

    Well, there’s also the issue of context. I can make a 3 reference node hop with impunity on an Internet message board, but when on CSPAN and the public, sometimes your better judgement takes a hold of you.
    If I was subjected to the McCain treatment, the term “syphlillitic whore” would have erupted after the third time explaining that one bit of data in a Boolean format would give shirt shrift to the question at hand.

    Bleyad.

  4. 4
    Maude says:

    In other words, Hagel isn’t a tv actor. He is thoughtful and answers in an accurate manner. This whole thing about image is destroying us.
    Someone acts smart, follows a script and makes the emotional gestures is considered brilliant. Someone like John Kerry and Hagel are considered less than smart. They have both been in combat conditions in Vietnam.

    ETA you are an excellent blogger.

  5. 5
    Hill Dweller says:

    I suspect the President absolutely loves the way this is playing out. He wins whether Hagel is confirmed or not.

  6. 6
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Maude: Who said Kerry wasn’t smart? I’ve heard people call him long-winded, but never dumb.

    Furthermore, I thought Kerry did very well during his hearing.

  7. 7
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Doesn’t matter to me. It’s not an audition for a TV slot. If he can do the job he should be confirmed even if he’s a crummy speaker. The confirmation hearing is just an opportunity for the GOP to showboat, and the usual suspects were the first ones tied up at the pier.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Bago says:

    Short shrift. iPads and their autocorrect make content generation problematic.

  10. 10
    Todd says:

    He should name Bill Ayers, just for giggles.

  11. 11
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Think about it as a kind of rock-paper-scissors game.

    A glib shady bastard like George Galloway was able to slap down Norm Coleman and his Senate panel by simply deploying the toolkit of the British House of Commons: a refusal to be intimidated, a willingness to give back twice as much as you receive. Which is fine if you have nothing to lose when you’re in front of them.

    The Senate works on the principle of haughty passive-aggression, as seen by McCain’s “let the record show…” schtick, but Hagel wasn’t in a position to say “Senator, don’t be such a dick”, because he needs their votes to be confirmed.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    OT…The President released a picture skeet shooting. Now if I might rant wtf did he bother? It won’t satisfy his enemies and his friends don’t really care. It is kinda a cute picture though.

  13. 13
    Roger Moore says:

    @Craigo:

    This is why I hate the theater of hearings and debates. The public and officials have a right to know your views before they vote for you, but now that all takes a back seat to your acting skills.

    And your ability to hide your past statements. That’s what’s really so ridiculous about the Hagel hearings; they’re focusing on a handful of statements he made when you can get a much better idea of his views by looking at his decades long record of actions. You want to know Hagel’s attitude toward Israel? Check how he voted when he was in the Senate. You want to know his stance on just about anything relevant to the job? Do the same.

    And it’s obvious that the Senators who are going to be voting on him have done just that. They’ve mostly made up their minds in advance by looking at his record of actions, and nothing he says or doesn’t say in the hearing is going to have any serious effect on the final vote. It’s purely an attempt to get the Senators who are grilling him in the news. Just get it over with and hold the fucking vote.

  14. 14
    Face says:

    Jumping into cell phones? Did he buy apple stock or actually develop some technology?

  15. 15
    chopper says:

    @Craigo:

    with the exception of SCOTUS hearings (which are mostly a whole bunch of ‘no comment’s out of the nominee), all these senate confirmation hearings do is determine just how comfortable the nominee is in front of a microphone.

    oh, and allow the preening jackasses in the upper house to strut in front of the cameras for a bit.

    i can understand it for some positions, i want the SoS to be good at speaking as he/she will do that a lot. as to SecDef, i dunno. i’d rather they be competent at the job than at talking to a bunch of senators asking dumb questions.

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That and McCain holding grudges because the other dude is going somewhere and McCain ain’t.

  17. 17
    divF says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    An academic colleague of mine served in the first Obama administration (a lovely phrase to type), at a level that required Senate confirmation. He described it as being just like a Ph.D. qualifying exam, except that you are allowed to say “let me get back to you on that, Senator” on questions you don’t know the answer to.

    Given those are the ground rules, it sounds like these were not questions of fact he was muffing; rather he was insufficiently prepared to handle “when did you stop beating your wife” questions coming from what he thought were former colleagues and in some cases, friends.

  18. 18
    dmsilev says:

    @JPL: Of course, it also allows mocking certain people. David Plouffe tweets:

    For all the “skeeters”: POTUS shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David on Aug. 4, 2012. http://bit.ly/WlDMYG

    (in a previous tweet, he referred to ‘skeet birthers’; ‘skeeters’ is obviously the abbreviated form)

  19. 19
    chopper says:

    @JPL:

    people were demanding evidence.

    as to why he’s actually taking on this hobby, i dunno. maybe he actually likes it.

    i know the first time i ever went shooting i really took to it. i’m apparently a natural with a shotgun. never would have thought. i’d love to go again.

  20. 20
    Maude says:

    @Hill Dweller:
    2004. He was mocked.

  21. 21
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I had to turn off Alex Wagner’s Junior League Villagers Round Up yesterday, as the Politico douche (who at least wasn’t wearing his affectodora) and the Buzzfeed (ex-Politico, I believe) weasel were saying that this was just a typical Senate hearing, and it Chuck Hagel should have managed it better. McCain was trying claim the Iraq War was a fine and noble endeavour, for fuck’s sake! I haven’t seen buffoonery like that since the Clarence Thomas hearings, and the fact that the headlines were about anything other than John McCain’s incoherent, spluttering tantrum just shows (once again, sigh) how utterly useless the Establishment media is. Tweety at least called out the old fool, and the younger fool Graham– and what is with the unspoken but universally observed convention that no one mentions Lindsey Graham’s sexuality as a factor in his politics. No, I don’t know that he is gay, but I know he lurched hard right when an SC Tea Party group started referring to him as “Senator Light-in-his-loafers”, and does anyone think it’s not gonna come up in his all but inevitable primary challenge, and that that’s not a factor in the way he’s kicked his dickishness up to eleven in the last few months? He’s fucking running commercials about Bengahzi. Where’s broderish scolding about politicizing foreign policy.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    @dmsilev: haha… skeet birthers.. I’m a surfer birther type of person. Maybe we can have the President release more pictures body surfing.

  23. 23
    oldster says:

    Still, I’m glad that this hearing has finally put to rest any suggestion that the Likud Lobby exercises a disproportionate influence on Capitol Hill, or intimidates the foreign policy establishment in Washington.

    Even a cursory glance at Fallows’ word cloud disproves that hateful myth.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    also more than a little ironic that Senator Pittypat was trying to get all huffy about “the Jewish lobby” when Sheldon Adelson and Bill Kristol and the (IIRC) Emergency Committee for Israel are spending what must be tens of millions of dollars trying to derail Hagel

  25. 25
    Punchy says:

    @JPL: I love that pics are needed, otherwise Obummer must be a liar. Can I be a Keira Knightley shower-birther then?

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    I don’t think he did a bad job at all at the hearings.

    In the face of ridiculous questioning from right wing hacks who didn’t care about the answers, he did just fine.

    Blame the medium, not the messenger.

  27. 27
    bcinaz says:

    Of course he sounded ‘dumb’ If he told those bastards the real truth to their faces – that they, in fact, are not supposed to be working for the ‘Jewish Lobby’, and that they swore an oath to the US Constitution not the LIKUD Party; told Sore Loser McCain to his face what a compromised person he has become and how wrong, wrong wrong he still is about Iraq, put a name to what Ted Cruz really is…there would be no question of filibustering his confirmation, it would be a fact.

    Also too, GLIB may not be the most desirable quality for a person overseeing such a massive bureaucracy overseeing the life and death of whole countries.

  28. 28
    MattF says:

    Well, Hagel is different from recent SecDefs. Think about it– Panetta, Gates, Rumsfeld– all insiders, smart people who had experience running big bureaucracies. I’m not saying Hagel is necessarily a bad choice, (e.g., Rumsfeld was a disaster despite a high IQ) but he’s vulnerable in ways previous SecDefs weren’t.

  29. 29
    Cacti says:

    Confirmation hearings are less about getting answers to questions, than they are about the questioners giving themselves a public handjob.

    e.g. Rand Paul “If I was President, blah, blah, blah”.

  30. 30
    Ben Franklin says:

    Anyone can have a bad day. He did have some good moments like when he faced down
    Huckleberry and McCain. Their countenance fell, and a I detected some genuine shame on their mugs when they were hammering him on iraq, and he reminded everyone that 1200 died during their much ballyhooed Surge, that ‘successful’ re-make of the failed movie.

  31. 31
    amk says:

    yeah, optics rulez, fuck the policy stands.

    dumb and dumber.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @Punchy: I would definitely write to Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post.

  33. 33
    Anya says:

    @oldster: It sounded as though they the hearing was for a cabinet position in Netanyahu’s administration.

    The worst thing about the hearing was not the republicans but the democrats. They are cowards who are as beholden to the Israeli lobby and defense contractors as the republicans. What a disgraceful bunch. I don’t know why anyone is impressed with Gillibrand at all. Other than on social issues she’s wrong on all other issues. Fuck her and her slavish commitment to wall street and the Israeli lobby.

  34. 34
    Yutsano says:

    @Punchy: TEH PICS R FAKE! IMPEACH OBUMMER! WOLVERINES!!

  35. 35
    JPL says:

    After the recess, Hagel improved but few in the media watched the afternoon session. Cruz lied but since he is running as the new repub on the block, the media gave him a pass.

  36. 36
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I remember at the opening scene of that HBO movie, McCain was thinking of dropping out of the race (he was broke and going nowhere in spring of ’08, IIRC), and Woody the Bartender told him he had to stay in because he was the only candidate who had supported The Surge! I laughed out loud, but the deadly earnestness of that line announced what we were in for.

  37. 37
    patrick II says:

    Not every very smart person I have met is really that quick. Some even seem slow — although I think it is usually because they are thinking in broader terms to answer even simple questions.
    I even remember a certain very smart president who slowly muttered “umm….” before giving slow, weak answers to many questions in a debate early last fall.
    As someone who underwent an aggressive deposition awhile ago, it is much different than having an actual conversation — the other side is both trying to anger you and ask questions that provoke wrong answers. It is a much different deal than the actual “seeking the truth” conversations that these hearings pretend to be.

  38. 38
    eclecticbrotha says:

    Yeah, it couldn’t possibly be due to the shock of being sold out by your best friend playing out in real time on national TV.

  39. 39
    gf120581 says:

    I think Hagel was also hurt by having his hearings held after Hillary and Kerry’s hearings. Kerry and especially Hillary are experts at dealing with the kind of nonsense the GOP Senators threw at them and had little trouble throwing it right back at them. (Seeing both of them humiliate that moron Ron Johnson was quite satisfying.) Hagel, however, doesn’t have their years of experience doing it (after all, many of the guys questioning him were once his colleagues) and therefore suffered by comparison.

    As for the three GOP Senators who were the worst during the Hagel hearings, each of them has their own specific motivation for doing so:

    McCain – A bitter, spiteful old bastard intenet on settling old scores and desperate for confirmation that he made the right call on Iraq. Also probably pissed that Hagel is going to get a job that he’s always wanted, but will never get.

    Graham – Terrified of a primary challenge (like so many 2014 Republicans – hell, even John Cornyn voted against Kerry because he’s spooked by a primary challenge from AG Greg Abbott or someone else) and therefore amping up the crazy to head off a challenge by becoming the Senator from Benghazi. Also, McCain’s little groupie who does everything his buddy tells him too.

    Cruz – A batshit lunatic (this is the man who thinks that George Soros and the UN are conspiring to steal all our golf courses) and a demogogue who has a knack for saying ridiculous and inflammatory things. He’s got the Tea Party base that elected him to please, after all.

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Wow, a dumb Republican. There’s a real surprise. Who could have predicted this?

  41. 41

    @Roger Moore:

    It’s purely an attempt to get the Senators who are grilling him in the news.

    I think you should not underestimate the importance of them being arrogant blowhards. Even when they’re not on camera, they like the sound of their own voice, and McCain has made it obvious that he’s a narcissistic asshole who rages at people for the fun of it.

    Otherwise, total agreement.

  42. 42
    TriassicSands says:

    Whatever Hagel is, he certainly isn’t the best person Obama could choose to be Secretary of Defense (although he might do a fair job as token Republican without portfolio). With a few exceptions, Obama’s appointments have been predictable, conventional, lacking in imagination, and often disappointing. Since really good appointments are guaranteed to be opposed by the Lunatics, Obama has avoided nominating outstanding people and in cases where he has had an outstanding candidate he has failed to support them in a bruising fight with the Senate Republicans.

    Hagel’s appointment is one I’d be perfectly happy to see withdrawn.

  43. 43
    General Stuck says:

    I think the word you are looking for is “laconic”. Part of this is caution is choosing words, that happens to many if not most who spend a lot of time in the senate. They have to always be on guard for not pissing off any of their fellow little Caesars, while criticizing them. A misplaced word, or one too strong and any one of the 100 can make their lives miserable for what they want to get done.

    The reason Hagel’s fellow wingnuts are so mendaciously apoplectic with the prospect of a secdef Hagel, is for the same reasons I first balked at his nom as a liberal. That he is one stingy tight wadded motherfucker. An austerity warrior on speed and with no time for helping the poor with tax money. And that stinginess is across the board, and terrifies the wingnuts and their partners in the MIC, funneling tax money into their coffers, and their stroking the wingers with legal kickbacks. Some dems are in on this too, but it is a super gravy train for the republicans. I watch some of the hearings, and fuckers like Graham questioning Hagel via the hostile witness method and looking like prickly bitches. Leading and trap questions that answers can be twisted into all kind of nonsense. Hagel is stingy, and not a chickenhawk. And that is the only, ONLY reason I support his nom as SECDEF and only SECDEF.

  44. 44
    Ben Franklin says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Obama has avoided nominating outstanding people and in cases where he has had an outstanding candidate he has failed to support them in a bruising fight with the Senate Republicans.

    We might see Obama go to the mat over Hagel. He hates Bibi, that much.

  45. 45
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Seems an appropriate thread for a Monty Python quote (The all caps are theirs):

    WE WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE FOR THE WAY IN WHICH POLITICIANS ARE REPRESENTED IN THIS PROGRAMME. IT WAS NEVER OUR INTENTION TO IMPLY THAT POLITICIANS ARE WEAK-KNEED, POLITICAL TIME-SERVERS WHO ARE CONCERNED MORE WITH THEIR PERSONAL VENDETTAS AND PRIVATE POWER STRUGGLES THAN THE PROBLEMS OF GOVERNMENT, NOR TO SUGGEST AT ANY POINT THAT THEY SACRIFICE THEIR CREDIBILITY BY DENYING FREE DEBATE ON VITAL MATTERS IN THE MISTAKEN IMPRESSION THAT PARTY UNITY COMES BEFORE THE WELL-BEING OF THE PEOPLE THEY SUPPOSEDLY REPRESENT NOR TO IMPLY AT ANY STAGE THAT THEY ARE SQUABBLING LITTLE TOADIES WITHOUT AN OUNCE OF CONCERN FOR THE VITAL SOCIAL PROBLEMS OF TODAY. NOR INDEED DO WE INTEND THAT VIEWERS SHOULD CONSIDER THEM AS CRABBY ULCEROUS LITTLE SELF-SEEKING VERMIN WITH FURRY LEGS AND AN EXCESSIVE ADDICTION TO ALCOHOL AND CERTAIN EXPLICIT SEXUAL PRACTICES WHICH SOME PEOPLE MIGHT FIND OFFENSIVE.

    WE ARE SORRY IF THIS IMPRESSION HAS COME ACROSS.

  46. 46
    LAC says:

    You have a bitter old man , a desperate old queen, and a loony. I imagine that some of hagel’s reaction was due to his disbelief that this was actually happening in real time and that he couldn’t turn the station or DVR “One Life To Live”.

  47. 47
    LAC says:

    You have a bitter old man , a desperate old queen, and a loony. I imagine that some of hagel’s reaction was due eto his disbelief that this was actually happening in real time and that he couldn’t turn the station or DVR “One Life To Live”.

  48. 48
    eemom says:

    @TriassicSands:

    With a few exceptions, Obama’s appointments have been predictable, conventional, lacking in imagination, and often disappointing.

    A litany of adjectives right out of a Greenwald column, to be sure — but you had me at “imagination.”

    Please elaborate. What would a properly “imaginative” Cabinet appointment consist of?

  49. 49
    Yutsano says:

    @eemom: Granted Stephen Chu is leaving (sob!) but he certainly was quite imaginative.

  50. 50
    chris9059 says:

    The ability to be glibly disingenuous does not equal intelligence.

  51. 51
    Baud says:

    @eemom:

    A number of Bush cabinet appointees imagined that Saddam had WMDs.

  52. 52
    chopper says:

    @BGinCHI:

    indeed. it’s like dropping robert de niro into the middle of a kabuki play and saying ‘man, he’s not a good actor, is he’.

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eemom: I can’t believe that the president stocked his Cabinet with senators, congresspeople, governors, civil servants, and administrators. It’s appalling.

  54. 54
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TriassicSands: are you thinking of Dawn Johnsen and Craig Becker? Who are the impressive nominees that Obama has failed to support?

  55. 55
    eemom says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Yeah, you’d think qualification for the job was an actual issue, or something.

    Now take Bush and his appointment of an Arabian horse trader to head FEMA. That was pretty fucking imaginative.

  56. 56
    chopper says:

    @eemom:

    and harriet miers. that was an imaginative nomination.

    ETA: not a cabinet position, but you get my drift.

  57. 57
    WaterGirl says:

    @divF: ding ding ding ding ding

  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @divF: “Given those are the ground rules”

    Robert Reich has a pretty good description. The standard answer for his job was “I look forward to working with you on this issue senator.”

    That is actually never the case, and never less so in this case.

    I think, in his pattern of wanting to get back to proper roles for things, that Obama wants a secdef who is responsible for getting the proper armor and tools for the troops, and for getting them to the country that others, like the secstate and the president, decide the military should go. NOT SET FOREIGN POLICY, which is what McCain and Graham were asking.

    So Hagel having no sharp answers was just fine by Obama.

    But I sure do wish that when Graham asked who the Israeli Lobby had intimidated, he had said “YOU”.

  59. 59
    aimai says:

    @patrick II:

    Oh, yeah. I think quickly on my feet and am a snappy talker and when I testified for a friend at her divorce proceedings the structure of the questioning was just devastatingly difficult to handle–you simply aren’t in a natural situation. The only good moment came when the lawyer for the opposition kept interrupting me before I could get two words out and I finally tricked him by pausing and not answering for a few seconds. He bounced up to object, objected and the Judge corrected him and pointed out that I hadn’t said anything yet. Cold comfort.

  60. 60
    WaterGirl says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: thanks for that. i laughed out loud.

  61. 61
    Joe says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Hagel’s appointment is one I’d be perfectly happy to see withdrawn.

    And who would you suggest he nominate, who not only has a chance of being approved, but also supports the same agenda as Hagel, ie a more fair approach towards Israel and a drawdown of our excessive military spending?

    Based on that criteria, I think Hagel is a fine candidate.

  62. 62
    xian says:

    @TriassicSands: you were expecting maybe Kucinich?

  63. 63
    Phineas Phang says:

    @bcinaz:

    Of course he sounded ‘dumb’ If he told those bastards the real truth to their faces – that they, in fact, are not supposed to be working for the ‘Jewish Lobby’, and that they swore an oath to the US Constitution not the LIKUD Party; told Sore Loser McCain to his face what a compromised person he has become and how wrong, wrong wrong he still is about Iraq, put a name to what Ted Cruz really is…there would be no question of filibustering his confirmation, it would be a fact.

    Yup, pretty much. Imagine if Hagel had told McCain, “In fact, I was right about the surge and I’m still right about it, and you were wrong, Senator. It was a cynical, face-saving effort that had some short-term tactical effect at a great cost of American lives, that had not chance of altering the ultimate outcome of our doomed and stupid invasion of Iraq, and in fact did not change it.”

    Hagel would have been correct, but the object here is to get confirmed, not to win a preening contest with a bitter and ridiculous old man.

  64. 64
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Phineas Phang:

    Hagel would have been correct, but the object here is to get confirmed, not to win a preening contest with a bitter and ridiculous old man.

    Yeah. I thought Hagel’s ability to withstand the pain of McCain’s shiv in the back, was noteworthy. The whining about his poor performance could be viewed as a first debate with recovery close behind.

  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I suspect the President absolutely loves the way this is playing out. He wins whether Hagel is confirmed or not.

    Aside from the GOP looking like dopes, I’m not sure what the president wins.

    The GOP is still accusing Obama of being an un-American leftist extremist. And he still has a number of cabinet and judicial appointments either stalled or pending.

    @TriassicSands:

    Since really good appointments are guaranteed to be opposed by the Lunatics, Obama has avoided nominating outstanding people and in cases where he has had an outstanding candidate he has failed to support them in a bruising fight with the Senate Republicans.

    This is an imaginative comment. That is, it’s not true. Even more than with Clinton, the GOP has stalled or blocked many of Obama’s nominees out of spite, or because they are deliberately trying to undermine the agency involved (ATF, Consumer Financial Regulatory Agency, IRS), because they want to pick a pointless ideological fight, or simply out of a desire to break the government.

    Whether a candidate has been outstanding is the least of the GOP’s considerations.

    And this goes double for judicial nominations.

  66. 66
    Brachiator says:

    Obama nominating Hagel is bruising. Imagine had he nominated Schopenhauer, Wittgenstein, or Heidegger.

  67. 67
    Johnnybuck says:

    Since Hagel is going to be confirmed, his “performance” was mostly academic, and certainly not worthy of very much analysis. All he had to do was keep the Democrats on board. He gets extra credit in my books for not slapping the shit out of prissypants Graham, or cold cocking Johnny Walnuts.

    Republicans are not learning anything from the election, or rather, they are incapable of changing course at this time. This hearing went a long way in proving that what Chuck Hagel said about the “Jewish Lobby” is absolutely true, even if they made him try and deny it.

  68. 68
    El Cid says:

    Hagel’s grade from his appearance doesn’t affect his pay or power once he’s the Secretary of Defense, so I guess his main priority was to bide his time.

  69. 69
    Sammy says:

    @Ben Franklin: I wish Hagel had reminded the a**HOLES that if the surge worked it was because the US was paying the terr’ist to NOT attack our marines.

  70. 70
    El Cid says:

    @Sammy: Also, mainly because the Sunni-based terrorists had indeed provoked a sectarian civil war in Baghdad, and that war was waged thoroughly and successfully, and Shi’a and Sunni forces violently segregated the city.

    So, the awesome SURGE which would PREVENT ETHNIC CLEANSING did so by taking place at the time when that successfully waged ethnosectarian war was coming to an end.

    And we helped out by walling off the neighborhoods once the successful sectarian cleansing forces of some area had driven their enemies out.

    Victory through redefinition.

    BUT YOU WILL ADMIT THAT THE SURGE IS WORKING. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THE SURGE IS WORKING.

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