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Why Neocons Are in Panic Over Possibility of Obama Nominating Republican Chuck Hagel to Pentagon

Along the way, Hagel has made all the right (and right-wing) enemies.

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The "swiftboating" of Hagel is being mobilized by the likes of William Kristol, the "Weekly Standard" editor, who managed to avoid service in Vietnam but still believes that bloody tragedy was a great idea. Kristol and his ilk have been so wrong about every policy issue over the past four decades that their angry opposition to Hagel is a sterling endorsement of him.

Still, there may be valid reasons to oppose his candidacy, based on his temperament, experience or record. Before confirmation he should be questioned closely on his commitment to fair treatment of LGBT personnel and on any substantive issues, such as reproductive rights, where administration policy may conflict with his personal beliefs. He may run into problems among his former Republican Senate colleagues, not all of whom admire him, but their opinions should carry little weight. Indeed, their opposition too should serve to strengthen the case for Hagel's confirmation. He has served his country with courage and principle over many years in public service -- which is far more than can be said for most of his adversaries.

Joe Conason is the editor of the National Memo. 

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