Friday, February 1, 2013

At The Hagel Hearing, Two Old White Men Got Their Feelings Hurt

Like many Americans, I was deeply disturbed to watch Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing. What they discussed about the Iraq war, which killed more than 4,400 US troops and wounded almost 32,000, was something truly awful. Particularly when the two old white men got their feelings hurt.

A commentator on HuffPost Live described the exchange as a "damaging, horrifying hearing for Chuck Hagel." I completely agree. It was sad the way Chuck Hagel suffered. Brutal - I don't think that's too strong a word to describe the spectacle of someone who voted for a military operation in which American forces smashed a foreign government and in the chaos that followed more than a hundred thousand civilians died and two million became refugees... having to answer very hard questions. And even more heartbreaking - this is a trigger warning for those of you who've been US senators - the questions came from a former friend.

That's right. This grim article in the Washington Post - John McCain And Chuck Hagel Were Once BFFs. What happened? - explains it all for you. The two men bonded over their shared experience being rebels in the Republican party. But all that collapsed over disagreements - terrible, terrible disagreements - over a military action that resulted in far too many tragedies. Like this little girl's family being shot to death in front of her at a checkpoint. Or another checkpoint incident, in which coalition troops killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Or the surge in infants born with heart defects, deformed limbs, and brain damage from exposure to toxic materials from coalition assaults in Fallujah and Basra. And yes, like two people who served together in Congress being so angry at each other that they'd fight it out on national TV. When will we be able to put this behind us? Haven't people lost enough? Sadly, no. Because just within the last three weeks a string of bombings killed 60 people in Iraq, and Chuck Hagel might not even get the job he wanted.

Who Won The Chuck Hagel-John McCain Surge Fight? US News wants to know. Because when two powerful white men vote to send troops to war for reasons that completely evaporate, and involve dishonesty and incompetence at the highest levels of our government, and that war lasts almost a decade and kills hundreds of thousands of people, and then those two powerful men have an argument over how best to mitigate the damage they've caused, what everyone wants to know is who gets to say "I told you so," while cameras video them sitting in an expensive-looking room next to little glasses of water.

Obviously it's important to bring up the backstory, the fact that the two former allies served together in another war. And one of them dropped explosives on people from the air, and the other shot at them from the ground. But they both learned lessons. And they disagree about what those lessons are. It is a drama of two, exactly two, very wealthy men being sad and angry and generally inconvenienced as people die all around them. And this, we are told, is the tragedy of war.

Isn't it?


  1. McCain is still mad because, while they both served in Viet Nam, Hagel was smart enough not to get captured but he wasn't.

  2. Every time I see one of McCain's rants, all I can think of is a newspaper that appears in an episode of the Simpsons. Above the fold on the front page we see Grandpa Simpson under the headline, "Old Man Yells at Cloud."

  3. What is amazing is the fact that mccain is fighting for his own mortality at the expense of his friends. Mccain's sun rose and has since set. He now walks the path of darkness with little revelence in congress and the media. He needs to go away to some place safe from us and himself, write a book and reflect on what could have been, what should have been and why so many died for what reasons.

  4. John McCain go back to Arizona and keep those kids the hell off your lawn!

  5. Some animals are more equal than others.

  6. Don't be too hard on McCain- When people spend 5 years in the conditions he did, they lose their logical reasoning skills. This is what explains his erratic behavior and outbursts.

    When he was in the Navy, he was a terrible flyer with too many accidents, and not much flying. He would have been kicked out if his father and grandfather weren't naval heroes.

    The blame here is AZ for putting him there. It's not his fault.

    1. Accidents you say. In july 67 he wet fired up his a4b and exploded the tail end which dumped raw jet fuel on the deck. Which in turn ignited, burned wiring which sent a missle across the flight deck of the Forestal into other jets. End result, 134 dead, 164 injured and guess who the first guy off the ship was. History likes to re-write certain past events and this is one of them along with many others. Not to forget the first Saving and Loan scandle in the country with bros keating. lol Guy has been a train wreak since birth.:))))

  7. Hey! As an Arizonan, I proudly stand by our right to send morally degenerate know-nothings to gover...
    Wait, that didn't come out right.

    I will defend to the death our right to elect cryptofacist snake handlers to the highest offices of...
    Let me try again.

    We Arizonans have a proud history of choosing leaders who combine the best traits of the Russian plutocrat with those of the neo-Confederate backcountry meth dealer.

    So let me just go ahead and apologize to the rest of America.


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