The New York Times reported late Sunday that Hagel’s proposal, which will be released to lawmakers and the public on Monday, will call for a reduction in size of the military that will leave it capable of waging war, but unable to carry out protracted occupations of foreign territory, as in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Under Hagel’s plan, the number of troops in the Army will drop to between 440,000 and 450,000, a reduction of at least 120,000 soldiers from its post-Sept.11 peak.
Officials told the Times that Hagel’s plan has been endorsed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and protects funding for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare. It also calls for the Navy to maintain all eleven of its aircraft carriers currently in operation. However, the budget proposal mandates the elimination of the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft, as well as the retiring of the U-2 spy plane, a stalwart of Cold War operations.
John Podheretz speaks for me here:
If confirmation hearings actually served as the job interview for the Senate — which must approve a presidential Cabinet appointment, under the rules of the Constitution — Hagel would’ve been dead in the water. But of course they rarely do.
What that hearing did do was give the lie to all those who said there were no grounds on which to oppose Hagel. By the hearing’s end, there was precious little ground to do anything but oppose Hagel — except for the key fact that the president wanted him.
Well, he has him, and mazel tov.
Although I’m going to add: there’s probably a bunch of Democratic Senators looking at the Obama/Woodward meltdown right now and thinking Wait. I did this President a favor by voting for that schlemiel? What was I thinking?
Answer’s easy, of course: they weren’t.
:leaning forward: We win.
After arguing that the media is controlled by Jewish interests, [Louis Farrakhan] applauded Hagel’s nomination. “Senator Hagel is in trouble,” Farrakhan said. “But America needs a man in Congress like that, who’s not a rubber stamp for others. You need a man like Senator Hagel as your secretary of defense because a man with a mind like that will keep you out of fighting somebody else’s wars. You need a man in government that has another opinion that is not controlled, and if the Senate does not confirm him as defense secretary because of his opinion on Israel, that only proves that the Senate in the U.S. Congress is controlled by the Israeli lobby. And it also sentences America to war with Iran for the state of Israel.”
In a very bizarre sort of way, admittedly. Whether or not the nomination goes through tomorrow – unlike Allahpundit*, I am not quite ready to assume that it will – the original purpose of said nomination is now officially dead, dead, dead. There is now no way that you can say with a straight face that Chuck Hagel is acceptable to the Republican party. The Republican party does not stand with Louis Farrakhan. We derive considerable pleasure from not standing with that anti-Semitic nutjob. If you are liked by Louis Farrakhan, there is something wrong with you. (more…)
The following is not intended in any way to serve as a complaint against Speaker of the House John Boehner, who I maintain a lively professional respect for.
You are. You’re crying.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that Chuck Hagel “almost had tears in his eyes” as he explained to the former Nebraska senator that the expression “Jewish lobby” is rooted in a negative depiction of Jews.
There’s no crying in politics! (more…)
But as far as old Bill Occam and I are concerned, the most plausible explanation for why President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel is that . . . he wanted to. He thinks Chuck Hagel will be effective in administering the national-security policy of candidate Obama circa 2007 or 2008, and even of President Obama circa 2009. And that’s the policy President Obama is interested in pursuing in his second term. In other words, the reason President Obama’s defense nominee sucks is that President Obama’s defense policy sucks.
More accurately, in my opinion: Obama’s secretly-desired defense policy sucks. His public defense policy is merely incompetently administered.
PS: I really don’t know how the Hagel thing will go down, at this point. I do know that expecting the White House to admit to anything being wrong if they can possibly avoid it is a mug’s game.
Just at rumor level at this point:
Senate aide confirms, at this juncture, Reid doesn’t have the 60 votes to move Hagel
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) February 14, 2013
…and do not get your hopes up. But this is apparently turning into a somewhat higher expenditure of political capital than Barack Obama originally envisioned. Such a shame.
On Thursday, Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed that one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.”
That is quite the accusation, and it gives the Left a rare opportunity to go after the Breitbart constellation of websites. All they have to do to debunk it is to have Hagel reveal his foreign donors. I mean, how likely is it that the White house could have messed up vetting Chuck Hagel that badly…
Called for comment and reached via telephone, Associate Communications Director at the White House Eric Schultz identified himself, heard the question, was silent for several seconds, and then hung up the phone immediately without comment.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post is comparing this entire situation to the Harriet Miers debacle:
What is unclear is whether this is a somewhat choreographed maneuver whereby the White House, the Senate and Hagel can all end this. Not unlike Harriet Miers, whose nomination to the Supreme Court ended when the White House could not provide documents covered under executive privilege, this gives all sides a chance to end what has been a disastrous nomination.
…which is… accurate, but cruel. Not that I really care whether it’s cruel or not.
Basic news via email, but link via Instapundit. If that makes sense.
It’s actually… pretty simple: Chuck Hagel is a bit of a schlemiel. I’m not actually trying to reference Hagel’s Jewish problem*, here: it’s just that Yiddish has an excellent word to describe a sad-sack bungler, and English wants the useful words. It wants all the useful words.
…Anyway, Hagel is a schlemiel. Now, I know what people are thinking: they’re thinking “But… but… but being a schlemiel has NEVER been a barrier to acquiring a Cabinet post!” And they would be correct. We – read, both parties – have traditionally taken the opportunity given to us by the Cabinet to store inconvenient, superfluous, and/or ineffectual politicians for a while until they can be safely retired**. This is, in fact, a time-honored tradition. The problem here, though, is that we typically do not nominate schlemiels for Secretary of Defense; a quick review of the list of them reveals a group of sharp-tongued, tough-minded, and generally strong-willed men who would have gone through Thursday’s Armed Services Committee hearings like a hot knife through soft butter. (more…)
You are from a state (Mississippi) that is exceptionally safe for the GOP, no matter who is running. And clearly, yesterday’s epic failure by Chuck Hagel to sell himself to skeptical Senators – or, indeed, Hagel’s epic failure to avoid embarrassing his new Democratic masters – has already made you decide to reassess your support of him for Secretary of Defense. So no doubt this post is unnecessary.
PS: The grassroots Republican base is developing a taste for primary challenges in the Senate. It’s also getting fairly proficient in carrying those off. So nobody assume that Cochran is bulletproof – particularly since every GOP partisan in the country will, by the end of the week, have seen Ted Cruz’s evisceration of Chuck Hagel.
“I mean, that really got out of hand, fast.”
- “It jumped up a notch.”
“It did, didn’t it?”
- “Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart.”
“I saw that! Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?”
- “Yeah! There were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.”
“Brick, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by; lay low for a while, because you’re probably wanted for murder.”
…Because at this point I don’t think that we should do this favor to the President for free.