Chuck Hagel Unveils Both a Budget and Why He Was Nominated

Former U.S. Senator Hagel walks past U.S. President Obama after being nominated to be Defense Secretary at the White House in WashingtonLast year, when President Obama nominated Republican Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, there were actually quite a few people in the media who suggested that he did so in the interest of bipartisanship.

Reid J. Epstein of The Politico even went as far as writing that the decision “appeals to Obama’s bipartisan spirit.”

I think anyone who has observed President Obama with even an iota of objectivity knows how comical such a statement is. After all, we’re talking about a man who spent his entire first term in office blaming his Republican predecessor for all of the country’s problems. We’re also talking about someone who has committed himself to engaging in a perpetual campaign against his Republican opposition in congress. He’s demonized them as obstructionists and hostage-takers, he’s inferred that they’re bigots, and he’s pretty much portrayed them as unpatriotic people who simply want to see the country fail.

The president, who has demonstrated a disdain for conservatism in all of its forms, isn’t interested in bipartisanship. He never has been. He also wasn’t interested in nominating a qualified individual to hold the position of U.S. Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing last year was nothing short of embarrassing. Republicans and Democrats alike were aghast as they listened to him bumble his way through answer after answer, displaying an astonishing lack of competence and an inability to defend his own positions on issues directly relevant to the job he was applying for.

I think it’s safe to say that the real reason for the president’s nomination became apparent this week when Hagel announced a military budget that will reduce the size of the U.S. Army to pre-World War II levels. What better way to run cover for such a drastic proposal than having an individual from the Republican Party (the party traditionally most trusted to defend our country from foreign threats) directly attached to it?

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates certainly wouldn’t have gone for it. Gates has gone as on record saying that he would have quit his job if such mindless military cuts were forced upon him while he held that position.

Hagel, however, is no Gates. He’s an outspoken, anti-war guy with a history of making anti-Israel comments and denouncing his party for supporting the Iraq War (after he first voted for it). In 2012, he even went as far as saying that the Republican presidential primary candidates “can hardly race to say who would bomb Iran first.” Did I mention that Hagel also refers to Iran’s repressive government as “elected [and] legitimate”?

I certainly respect Chuck Hagel, primarily for his honorable service in Vietnam for which we all should admire and be grateful for. His value as our Secretary of Defense, however, is little more than a public relations stunt. He’s a tool being used to pursue the only form of government shrinkage that committed liberals like President Obama are ever interested in: Cuts to our military.

Along with cuts to major equipment programs and military benefits, the plan calls for reducing our total number of troops to under 450,000. That’s 120,000 less than the number of troops that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rich Lowry of the National Review did a good job of conveying why that’s such a bad idea:

“Understandably, we don’t want to fight another grinding ground war. But this doesn’t mean we won’t have to, or we won’t experience other nasty surprises. It is an unfortunate part of the American tradition to convince ourselves, when we find it convenient, that the world is not a dangerous place that always demands our attention, or else.”

The truth is that we live in a very dangerous world – one that’s much more dangerous now than it was the day President Obama took office. Anyone sitting in the Oval Office would obviously know that. Yet, President Obama’s lifelong, liberal sensibilities prevent him from recognizing the prescription for best preparing our country for that world because he is (and always has been) far more concerned with pursuing a domestic, social agenda.

Liberalism is largely about trying to achieve a goal of social justice within society. It’s not about maintaining an influential role in global issues. Thus a smaller, less consequential part for the United States to play on the world stage is actually seen as a good thing among liberals. The idea is that it will allow for more resources to be diverted toward the pursuit of domestic bliss.

There will, of course, never be any true restraints placed on spending by politicians who consider years of trillion dollar deficits to be an Era of Austerity. With our nation approaching a national debt of $18 trillion, and no other meaningful spending cuts (only increases) being proposed, one can only laugh at Hagel’s statement about recognizing “the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges.”From a Dead Sleep by John A. Daly

As Rich Lowry also pointed out in his column, the only real austerity we’ve been seeing has been to our military, first in the form of sequestration cuts and now in the military budget unveiled by Chuck Hagel.

Instead of spreading the wealth around, why can’t we spread the cuts around?

By concentrating only our military, we’re reminding the rest of the world just how weak and increasingly inconsequential our country is right now. That’s the legacy that Chuck Hagel is creating for himself as Secretary of Defense. Something tells me he doesn’t mind, however, because even he knows that it’s the reason he’s holding the job.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series. His first novel, "From a Dead Sleep," is available at all major retailers. His second novel, "Blood Trade" is available for pre-order and will be released in Sept. 2015. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • Rose

    You know, this is the twenty-first century. We no longer have to put boots on the ground and watch rivers of our soldiers’ blood run in places like Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else. Bush did not have to send tanks and men on horseback into mountains. It was all old-school and unnecessary. Obama knows and Hagel knows that we will be fighting wars with missiles, drones, cyber attacks and other modern weapons from now on. It is just not necessary for men to die or come home brain-damaged anymore.

    • John Daly

      >>You know, this is the twenty-first century.

      Thanks for the scoop!

      And judging by the rest of your comment, you clearly didn’t actually read the entirety of my column. Last time that happened, you looked even more foolish than usual. Try learning something from that.

    • George Williams

      You’re such a fool, parotting the Democratic excuse for Swedenizing our country. I’ve worked in defense for over thirty five years and I am an avid ready of military history and its technology and I can tell you that to run a war in your fairy tale way would not only bankrupt the nation, but would be ineffectual. Drones and missiles are only used against high valued targets. Due to their cost, they in ever increasiing short supply. We tried bombing the Germans into defeat during WWII but we found that they were far more resiliant and resourceful than we imagined. It took the occupation of territory and the sacrifice in blood of our armies and the Russians to defeat them. As to use of cyber attacks, we are far more vulnerable to them than our enemies, because of our ever growing reliance on electronic information technology. The more powerful our interconnectivity, the more vulnerable we get.

  • lark2

    Anyone who is familiar with Chuck Hagel knows he was the dumbest, most Liberal, Anti-American, Anti-Military Republican in captivity. In nominating Hagel, Obama was bringing a kindred spirit to serve as his wolf guarding the hen house and Hagel’s party affiliation would allow Obama to blame Republicans for Hagel’s actions. I just wonder why any Republican would have voted in favor of his nomination. When you look at the people in positions of power in D.C. you have to wonder how one could find all these buffoons in one American city. Consider the line of succession to the Presidency … if anything were to happen to Obama … we would get Joe Biden (God help us) and if anything were to him … we would get John Boehner. They all fit right in there with Hagel and John Kerry. I think even God would decline to help us!

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Yes Hagel suggests cutting military budgets, and less than a few days later reports are already coming I, that Russian troops have been spotted entering the Crimea. The recipe is simple, first you tell Afghani, and Iraqi insurgents the dates you’re leaving the battlefield, then you draw “red lines” that don’t count or are not enforced, then you tell the world you’re weak and lack conviction by slashing defense budgets, add 1 “peace in our time” President, 1 sycophantic Democratic upper chamber and 1 handwringing finger pointing Republican lower chamber, and voila, all the ingredients for a new world order. Just shake well, bake a while at battlefield hot, then add heat to fiery nuclear. Eat before cooling. PS try not to choke on it.

    • Kathie Ampela

      I saw Obama’s statement at 5:00 on Fox News about the Ukraine situation. You think possibly Putin heard Hagel? More Keystone kop foreign policy unfolding in front of us. Announce when we are leaving Iraq and Afghanistan….relaxed rules of engagement that give the enemy great advantage…elections have consquences when are people going to wake UP??

  • Wheels55

    Yes, Hagel is a tool.

    It cracks me up when people say that Obama is a moderate.

  • Kathie Ampela

    This is the just final step in diminishing America’s standing in the world, I’m not suprised at all at this. Hagel as Defense Secretary and Kerry as Secy of State makes perfect sense in ObamaWorld. (Flashback to Hagel’s nomination hearing: Now the utopian world of legal pot and food stamps and free stuff without consequences is complete. But a 5 year can tell you, you buy life insurance in case something happens to you, not because YOU WANT something to happen. You get ADT for your home, IN CASE someone tries to break in , not because YOU WANT something to happen. You’re not INVITING bad things to happen by taking precautions. The bad guys of the world will not just walk away and say OK, We Love You Now! because we declare ourselves “isolantionist” and dismantle our military. Only in fluffy ObamaWorld with free stuff and no consequences.

  • nqk123

    this is the right move. why are we building so many thing we don’t need? we don’t need any more dino tech tanks or planes. why do need a big army? are we preparing for another war? even after the cut, our military is still huge.

    • Shane Gilmore

      I will have to agree with you here nqk123. I am in the military and have been for about 25 years. While at Fort Carson last year I heard from units that do not have money for basic office supplies such as pens, paper, and toner cartridges for printers but high dollar tanks would be off-loaded and everyone agreed that the tanks they were replacing were just fine.

    • Wheels55

      No doubt the main problem is wasteful spending – like in most any government agency / department.
      We should spend for healthy productive troops, take proper care of vets, a very strong defense and a efficient mobile offense with superior air power. If we get into a war again against another uniformed army, then we can make tanks in a hurry (like in WWII).
      One thing (perhaps the only thing) I think Obama has right is our use of drones.

  • KStrett

    I believe they also chose Hagel because he is wildly anti Israel. This coupled with Samantha Power’s frightening statements about what she believes America’s policies toward Israel should be, is indicative of a horrifying change in American foreign policy. If their beliefs are implemented it could mean World War 3.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    While it can be tough to argue for a large military in an era of peace, (well at least the cold war is kind of over), your comment, “the world is a dangerous place” barely does justice to the facts. When reading 20th century history books, it’s impossible not to note how many prescient Americans, foresaw war with Japan, some two plus decades earlier. Make no mistake about it, China is now, and will continue to be, a military threat to America. The only reason this seems like laughable hyperbole today, is precisely because of American military might. It’ll seem considerably less funny tomorrow, when China clamps down on all disputed territories including Taiwan. Or when their currently leashed proxy (North Korea) begins testing missiles and nukes in earnest. Or how about a resurgent Russia? You know, the same folks who invaded and split Poland with Hitler, the same folks who invaded Czechoslovakia, threatened Yugoslavia, and most recently invaded Afghanistan and parts of Georgia (over south Ossetia). Of course they don’t “currently” pose a credible military threat. Only because compared to the U.S. forces, they are grossly overmatched. When that changes so will the Russian’s. And what about the ability to defend worthy and trusted allies? Taiwan? Israel? Saudi Arabia? the Gulf states? the Ukraine? The Baltics? etc. etc. Alliances serve more than just touchy, feely, goodwill, they also assist in the Credo, “united we stand, divided we fall”. A credo that’s served the Nation (and the rest of civilization) in the 20th century extremely well. We turn our backs on that, at our own peril.

    • Porkbevr

      You make good points. While I believe we need a period of austerity in government spending, I think it should be spread evenly throughout government. Such draconian cuts to the military while leaving most other programs untouched is foolish. Sure, cut the military spending 5~10%, but let’s cut all the departmental budgets by the same amount. Good management can absorb a 5% cut with little pain……. Many of us have had to cut our household budgets by that amount or more thanks to the costs of Obama’s regulations. It’s just a matter of prioritizing and discipline.