Sen. Hagel and "courage"

Mickey Kaus:

Why, exactly, is Sen. Chuck Hagel showing "courage" in conspicuously denouncing the Iraq War now that virtually the entire American establishment has reached that same conclusion--now that Hagel is virtually assured of getting hero treatment from Brian Williams and Tim Russert and long favorable profiles in the newsweeklies? .

OK, maybe Hagel's not so courageous. Maybe he's just right. Except that he chose, as the moment to make his flamboyant speech, not the vote on the imprudent war itself--he voted for it--but a vote to withdraw support for a last-ditch surge strategy that even the NYT's estimable, on-the-scene pessimist Sabrina Tavernese thinks "may have a chance to work." Was this the right time--it certainly wasn't the courageous time--for a speech like Hagel's? Was he serving the nation or himself?

Saying "the war was wrong but the surge is worth a try"--that would be courageous. There's no ready-made constituency eager to cheer a pol who says that.

Bucking your party to actively fight against the war when it would have made a difference--that would have been courageous.**

Hagel hasn't done either of those things. Instead, he let loose at the precise moment when letting loose was least brave and least timely....

Never mind that the anti-surge resolution Hagel has cosponsored is all about hiding. It has no binding effect. But it does provide Senators who supported the war a convenient bit of late-inning skepticism they can point to when trying to save their skins.

Hagel also deployed the hoary I've-been-in combat-so-I-know-these-are-real-men-and-women-"fighting and dying" pitch--as if his fellow senators didn't realize they were real men and women. The I've-Been-There meme is to Hagel (and John Kerry) what the "mommy" meme is to Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer--a guilt-tripping, self-glorifying unique selling proposition that attempts to confer on the speaker a special capacity for insight that renders actual persuasive argument unnecessary.

...


There is more. This is a first class rant. It exposes the "argument" style of the left which seeks to cut off debate with credentials. He goes on to describe how the media loves to embrace the Republican apostate who opposes his party.

Rather than describing Hagel as courageous, I think betrayal is a more apt description. He is betraying the troops who are asking for more time to finish the job. The suggestion by much of the media that he will have any chance at the Republican Presidential nomination is laughable. If the Republicans wanted to nominate a Democrat they could do better. At least Joe Lieberman wants win the war. The fact is that Chuck Hagel came in last in a poll of conservative bloggers--last.

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