Chuck Hagel

English: Sen. Chuck Hagel speaks with servicem...

English: Sen. Chuck Hagel speaks with servicemembers during his visit to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, July 18. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

America: Our Next Chapter, Tough Questions, Straight Answers by Senator Chuck Hagel with Peter Kaminsky published in 2008. These are his words after listening to LBJ tapes about the Vietnam war.

“The cold political calculation I heard on those tapes made me vow that I would never–ever–remain silent when that kind of thinking put more American lives at risk in any conflict.That’s how an administration gets to a point where the American people and the Congress can no longer believe in it. When people stopped believing that the war was winnable, they stopped believing Johnson, and his days as a leader were numbered. In the heady times of the Great Society and the Voting Rights Act,he had been a true leader. He faced up to the power structure and said, ‘This is where I stand!’ People trusted him as a man of principle. When he debased his currency, he lost his connection to the people–and a leader is nothing without it.”

By this definition, Mitt Romney could not have led the US if he had been elected. Below are two additional quotations from the book that show why Chuck Hagel should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense. Both Hagel and the book are praised on the back of the dust jacket by these four leaders: Tom Brokaw, Alan Greenspan, Kofi A. Annan and Colin Powell.

“Having been a foot soldier in an ill-conceived, poorly prosecuted, and unsuccessful war, I believe we would do well to heed the words of one of our greatest warriors, Douglas MacArthur, who said, ‘The soldier above alll other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.’

“Having witnessed these hard truths firsthand, I am, like many veterans, changed forever by the experience of war. That is why I am so vocal and so fervent on the issues of war and peace and the well-being of our soldiers. It is the responsibility of every elected official, especially those who have seen combat, to assure that any policy that sends men and women into war is worthy of the sacrifices that we ask of them and their families. If it is not, then it is the wrong policy.”

While in a hospital in Vietnam recovering from wounds received in battle:

“From that day on, I was a changed person. I remember a strong resolve coming over me, as our chopper climbed over the glistening green canopy of the jungle and I watched the steam rise above it in the morning light. I made myself a promise that ever I got out of that place and was ever in a position to do something about war–so horrible, so filled with suffering–I would do whatever I could to stop it. I have never forgotten that promise. I made it to myself but also to everyone who answers the call to serve their country. I think of it every day, because once you set war in motion,its consequences are often the ones least intended and they are always uncontrollable.”

Please see What if?