Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chuck Hagel's Political Courage (Not)

A devastating commentary, from Bret Stephens, at the Wall Street Journal, "Chuck Hagel's Courage":
In 2006, when the war in Iraq had become overwhelmingly unpopular, Mr. Hagel was on the right side of conventional wisdom. "The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq," he wrote in the Washington Post that November. Still swimming with the tide the following year, he called the surge "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."

The surge turned out to be George W. Bush's finest hour—a genuine instance of political courage as opposed to Mr. Hagel's phony ones. It rescued the U.S. from humiliating defeat. It gave Iraq a decent opportunity to stand on its feet. It allowed the U.S. to conduct an orderly withdrawal of its forces. And it might have led to a long-term security relationship with Baghdad had the Obama administration not fumbled the endgame. Again there is no public record of Mr. Hagel acknowledging any of this.
Hagel's craven Iraq waffling is disqualifying enough, but Stephens is right: the guy's always sought the safe side of conventional wisdom.

RTWT. (Via Memeorandum.)