For two reasons, Chuck Hagel is a disastrous choice for Secretary of Defense:
- First, there’s the worldview problem: he clearly believes the nation would benefit from a less powerful military, with fewer resources devoted to national security. This attitude shouldn’t disqualify a nominee from serving in another Cabinet position, but it’s totally inappropriate for a Secretary of Defense: if he doesn’t fight for the Pentagon’s interests, who will?
- Second, there’s the competence problem: Hagel’s bumbling, unprepared, inarticulate performance in his confirmation hearings showed an aging politician utterly unqualified to run one of the most complex, sophisticated bureaucracies on earth. If he can’t stand up to tough questions from Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, how can he stand up to Iran or North Korea?
His experience long ago as an enlisted infantryman serving in Vietnam showed courage, but hardly constituted administrative leadership.