[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
89°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 14
1986 - Canyon Country's Mitchell adobe demolished; components salvaged & later rebuilt at Heritage Junction [story]


The Rational Center | Commentary by John Zaring
| Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013

johnzaring2012President Obama has nominated Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska who served two terms in the U.S. Senate (1997-2009), to replace Leon Panetta as his next Secretary of Defense.  In nominating a Republican to serve in his cabinet, Obama said, “Chuck Hagel represents a bipartisan tradition that we need more of in Washington.”

Good luck with that, Mr. President.

As you might expect – whenever a president nominates someone from the loyal opposition – a group of senators immediately voiced displeasure with the pick.  But no, this time the complaints didn’t come from Democrats disgruntled with their president for nominating a Republican.  It is Hagel’s fellow Republicans who are complaining loudest about Obama’s pick.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina attacked immediately, saying, “This is an in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel.”

Graham was joined by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who said, “I have serious concerns about positions Sen. Hagel has taken on a range of critical national security issues in recent years, which we will fully consider in the course of his confirmation process.”

And Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas (a member of the Armed Services Committee) and Dan Coats (Indiana) also quickly announced their opposition, with Cornyn even raising the possibility of filibustering the confirmation.

Yes, folks, no matter what Obama says or does, including picking a Republican for his Cabinet, the GOP is going to whine about it.   In his announcement, the president said of Hagel, “In the Senate, I came to admire his courage and his judgment, his willingness to speak his mind, even if it wasn’t popular, even if it defied the conventional wisdom.”

It is Hagel’s willingness to defy the conventional wisdom which has upset so many of his party-mates.  In the Senate, Hagel was unafraid to break ranks, and often did.  I suspect the nominee’s former GOP colleagues in the U.S. Senate carry a grudge because as senator he withdrew his support for then-Pres. George W. Bush’s prolonged involvement in Iraq and later joined then-Sen. Obama to oppose the troop surge in Iraq.

And as we all know, while cutting government waste is purportedly a key tenant of conservative beliefs, Hagel’s willingness to consider rational cuts to the Pentagon’s bloated budget, which surpasses that of the next 13 countries combined, was and remains quite unpopular with hawks from the right in Congress.

Hagel has also expressed doubts about the sanity of unilaterally attacking Iran, and questioned the grip of the pro-Israel lobby on American policy at the expense of broader U.S. interests in the region.  Hagel once said, “I’m a United States senator, not an Israeli senator; I’m a United States senator.  I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.”

I find that to be a truthful statement.  Don’t you?  I wish more of our elected leaders placed their oath of office before the wishes of their parties and the wealthy donors, corporations and lobbyists who support them.

Regardless, this is the viewpoint that prompted Sen. Graham to characterize his fellow Republican as being “aggressively anti-Israel,” a label Hagel has flatly disputed.  Over his 12 years in the Senate, Hagel voted for tens of billions of dollars in aid for Israel and never took even one position or vote that put him at odds with U.S. policy on Israel.

The irony is that Hagel’s skepticism about the efficacy of military action against Iran – which his former GOP colleagues are using now as grist to support their view that he’s anti-Israel – is being echoed by a growing drumbeat of politicians and generals in Israel who have reached the conclusion that a preemptive war with Iran, once launched, could lead to unintended consequences across the Middle East, if not the world.  This position is not radical, nor is it even outside of the mainstream.

But Hagel’s reluctance to attack Iran is also directly related to his experience as an enlisted soldier.  Remember, this is a man who volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was twice wounded in combat while leading troops as a sergeant on the battlefield.  He learned in Vietnam, the hard way, that war should only be waged as a last resort.

History has shown that how many people agree with your point of view is not the test of the validity of that view, and the irony, of course, is that many of the Republicans who are withholding their support for Hagel as defense secretary were wrong in very big ways about critical decisions made by the Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hagel, Obama and others in Congress who had the good sense, if not the courage, to raise questions about the Iraq war may have been out of the “mainstream” then, but history has shown that they were correct to question our involvement.  That’s why, for those of us in the rational center, it is frustrating to hear McCain, Graham and others accuse Hagel of being out of the mainstream.

I actually want a Secretary of Defense who asks questions before more Americans are sent to fight and die for our country in yet another Middle East rabbit hole. Don’t you?

 

John Zaring describes himself as a reformed Republican turned moderate Democrat who believes democracy works best when its government actually functions because its leaders are working together. He serves on the Castaic Area Town Council’s Land Use Committee, Castaic Middle School’s Site Council, the Hart District’s WiSH Education Foundation, and he is the West Ranch High School representative on the Hart District’s Advisory Council. A self-proclaimed “New Democrat” a la Bill Clinton, he lives in Castaic with his wife of 21 years and their daughters, Fiona, 16, and Kylie, 12. His commentary publishes Tuesdays.

 

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Aug 2, 2018
City Manager Ken Striplin notes that a lot has changed in Santa Clarita since the 1970s, except the SCV Sheriff's Station, which opened 46 years ago and will finally be replaced by a brand-new 46,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, centrally located Sheriff’s Station on Golden Valley Road.
Wednesday, Aug 1, 2018
​There are many things that make our City the unique and special place it is.
Monday, Jul 2, 2018
In her July message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste wishes residents a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and recaps a bit of local history.
Sunday, Jul 1, 2018
The Mojave rattlesnake or “Mojave green” is a highly irritable and unpredictable pit viper. By comparison, the Pacific rattlesnake you might be accustomed to is fairly tame.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Aug. 15 - Aug. 17:
Aug. 15-17: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
Walk season is quickly approaching, and it's time to turn up the heat in the fight to end Alzheimer's.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s Offers up New Challenge
Twelve people are challenging incumbent Mayor Laurene Weste, Mayor Pro-tem Marsha McLean and Councilman Bill Miranda in the upcoming November 6 election. They are:
List of Candidates Running for City Council Released
As always with the schools, there is going to be congestion twice per day with the drop off and pick up of students. Drivers need to be extra patient in these areas to help traffic flow.
SCV Sheriff’s Offer Back to School Safety Tips
The Valley Industry Association will be holding its, "Hot August Nights Party," on Thursday, Aug. 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for a night of fun, friends and a little business.
Aug. 23: Valley Industry Association’s Hot August Nights Party
Your personal brand is the engine of a successful career. Having a strong online presence can lead to new jobs and career opportunities.
COC’s Community Education to Hold Personal Branding Workshop
The Canyon Country Advisory Committee (CCAC) will hold their next meeting Wednesday, Aug. 15 from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Aug. 15: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
Santa Clarita RE/MAX Realtor Josh Sinatra, of Sinatra Real Estate, spearheads back-to-school donation drive to help people in need.
Local Realtor Hosting Shoe Donation Drive for People in Need
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is pleased to announce that Logix Federal Credit Union has generously stepped forward to sponsor a palliative care teddy bear program at the hospital to help children feel supported and comforted when faced with the passing of a parent.
Logix Steps Forward to Help Henry Mayo’s Palliative Bear Program
The Santa Clarita Valley Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) actively encourages parents or community members who know of a child (birth to age 22) who may have special needs to contact their local school district office.
SCV School Districts Providing Services for Special Needs Students
The WiSH Education Foundation is thrilled to announce that its fourth annual signature event, Cocktails on the Roof, is back on Sept. 7, 2018. The event runs from 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Sept. 7:  Cocktails on the Roof Benefiting WiSH Foundation
Here is the Newhall Public Safety and Crime Information Report for July 30, 2018 - Aug. 5, 2018:
Crime Blotter: Petty Theft, Commercial Burglary in Newhall
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – After sweeping Rancho Cucamonga in Lancaster last weekend, the JetHawks were swept by the Quakes at LoanMart Field after falling Sunday afternoon, 5-2. The JetHawks scored the first two runs of the game, but were held to just three hits after.
Quakes Sweep JetHawks
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Administrative Center, 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita 91350.
Aug. 15: Hart District Governing Board Regular Meeting
Here is the Valencia Public Safety & Crime Information Report for July 23, 2018 - Aug. 5, 2018:
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Robbery, Grand Theft in Valencia
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Matt Dennis set a career-high with 11 strikeouts, but Lancaster fell to Rancho Cucamonga, 3-1, Saturday night at LoanMart Field. Dennis took the loss despite allowing only two runs in six innings.
JetHawks Fall to Rancho Cucamonga
Here is the Stevenson Ranch Public Safety and Crime Information Report for July 27, 2018 - Aug. 2, 2018:
Crime Blotter: Petty Theft, Domestic Violence in Stevenson Ranch
Saugus High School’s cheerleading squads are hosting a cheer clinic fundraiser Sept. 23 that will teach cheer skills to kindergartners through eighth graders, who will then have an opportunity to cheer the first quarter of a Saugus varsity football game in October.
Sept. 23: Saugus High Cheer Squads Hosting Youth Clinic
1986 - Canyon Country's Mitchell adobe demolished; components salvaged & later rebuilt at Heritage Junction [story]
The historic Big Oaks Lodge on Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus, destroyed by fire late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, probably cannot be rebuilt at its current location because of permit and code requirements, Angeles National Forest officials said Monday.
Forest Service Unlikely to OK New Big Oaks Lodge in Same Spot
The Lancaster JetHawks saw their six-game win streak come to an end in a 7-4 loss to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Friday night at LoanMart Field.
JetHawks Streak Snapped in Loss to Quakes Friday
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of Aug. 13-19, 2018.
‘Santa Clarita Diet,’ ‘America’s Got Talent’ Now Filming in SCV
The Los Angeles County West Vector Control District and the County Department of Public Health have confirmed that a mosquito sample collected in Playa Vista is the first positive for the St. Louis Encephalitis virus in the county for 2018.
St. Louis Encephalitis Virus Found in LA County Mosquitoes
1961 - First Mass celebrated at new Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church (3rd building) in Newhall. Cardinal McIntyre attends [story]
A fire broke out inside the historic Big Oaks Lodge in Bouquet Canyon late Saturday night, and by early Sunday, the popular 2-story wooden restaurant building was gone.
Witness: Kitchen Fire Destroys Big Oaks Lodge in Bouquet Canyon (Video)
1944 - Newhall Refinery on Sierra Highway destroyed by fire (then rebuilt) [watch film]
2018 - Big Oaks Lodge in Bouquet Canyon burns down. [video]
The Los Angeles Dodgers placed All-Star closer Kenley Jansen on the 10-day disabled list with an irregular heartbeat and recalled switch-handed pitcher Pat Venditte from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday.
Irregular Heartbeat Lands Dodgers Closer Kenley Jansen on DL
The Los Angeles Dodgers Friday announced that fans 21 years of age and older will be able to purchase beer from in-seat vendors at Dodger Stadium starting at Monday’s 7:10 p.m. game against the San Francisco Giants.
Dodgers to Start In-Seat Beer Service Monday
The historic Rim of the Valley Corridor may be added to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area if a U.S. Senate Energy Committee subcommittee moves to approve legislation authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California).
Senate May Add Rim of Valley Corridor to Santa Monica Mountains Rec Area
A San Francisco jury on Friday found that Monsanto must pay $250 million in punitive damages to a school groundskeeper because its Roundup weed killer caused his fatal lymphoma, the first such verdict against the agrochemical giant.
Jury: Roundup Kills More Than Weeds; Monsanto Must Pay $289 Mil.
A federal judge Friday praised the joint plan by federal officials and the American Civil Liberties Union to quickly reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
Judge Praises Feds’ Plan to Reunite Immigrant Families
The Los Angeles Dodgers reinstated right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling from the 10-day disabled list and optioned switch-handed pitcher Pat Venditte to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday.
Dodgers Reinstate Hurler Ross Stripling
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Aug. 14, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Aug. 14: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation on Friday launched the Academy Software Foundation to provide a neutral forum for open source software developers in the motion picture and broader media industries.
AMPAS, Linux Launch Academy Software Foundation
The Saugus Union School District is gearing up for the 2018-2019 school year.
Saugus Union Readies for 2018-2019 School Year