Okay, so what's behind the battle over the Hagel nomination? With all the talk we have heard and all that has been written in recent years about uncompromising partisanship, the Republicans have fought to, in effect, make sure Democrat John Kerry would be the choice for secretary of state and now balk at the choice of a fellow Republican and former U.S. senator from Nebraska to head up the Department of Defense. In fact, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has called this ostensibly bipartisan choice by the president an "in your face" insult to the Grand Old Party. Are Republicans really that easily insulted?
Recently, more than 570 veterans in upstate New York received some dire news that could be classified as tragic irony: After they have survived wars and occupations overseas, the very health system that was meant to protect them at home — the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — could ultimately end up being the very thing that kills them.
In the brave new world of the very near future, children will enter their public schools passing police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners and warrantless physical searches. Parents will relax, knowing their child is now “SAFE.” No violent evildoers will be able to get past that wall of security.
But what none of the checkpoints, scanners and cameras will detect is the child who walks right past, armed to the teeth with a hidden weapon actually enforced on him by the school itself. The weapon comes in many names and varieties: Ritalin, Luvox, Prozac, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Paxil, and more.
The anti-Hagel hysteria carries a message different from the one getting all the attention: If Hagel is “out of the mainstream” of foreign-policy thinking, the range of permissible thinking is more narrow than many have suspected. True, Hagel has been critical of some of the overseas military policies pursued by Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, but to suggest he is a radical critic of U.S. militarism and hegemony is absurd.