Neocon target: Chuck Hagel

The always delightful James Wolcott takes neocon Michael Ledeen down for his grossly offensive remarks about Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Hagel's crime: challenging Bush on Iraq.

Here's what Ledeen blogged over at the National Review: "Senator Hagel has certainly earned the Jimmy Carter Appeasement Award for 2005. As I've noted before, the man has never met a tyrant he didn't want to negotiate with. Maybe he should run for president with Jesse Jackson as his mate." [LINK]

So much to say, but Wolcott says it so much better:


Let's review, shall we? Chuck Hagel, two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his Vietnam War service. Jimmy Carter, seven years in the Navy, including serving under Admiral Rickover in the development of the nuclear submarine program.
Michael Ledeen? Let's just say he won't be regaling them at the VFW lodge anytime soon. Indeed, the closest he's come to combat has been listening to Roger L. Simon's Hollywood war stories from his heroic screenwriting days.
Memo to Ledeen: There's a stature gap between you and Hagel/Carter that puts you in the pygmy shade. ...
Two years ago, Ledeen sneered about Hagel's "wimpery" about Iraq (a sneer I'd wager Ledeen wouldn't dare be man enough to repeat to Hagel's face), but it's Hagel who's been vindicated. The fact is that Ledeen and his neocons got the war they wanted, it was waged according to their blueprints, and it's their fuck-up, their moral responsibility, their historical bloodstain, their arrogant, ignorant, blundering, inexcusable mess. It says something about Ledeen's depraved indifference toward the consequences of his own lobbying efforts that he still thinks at this late date that he can get away with being droll. [LINK]
Encore! Encore! And just to underline the scale of neoconservative delusion, here's Ledeen speaking at an American Enterprise Institute panel on October 29, 2001:
If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well and our children will sing great songs about us years from now. [LINK]
The only person singing right now is a very fat lady.

On a related note, in the course of a frank and mutually respectful email conversation with a conservative Republican, he mentioned the fact that he no longer supported the war or George Bush. Interestingly enough, he too expressed unhappiness with Chuck Hagel for being one of the people who knew that the intelligence was deeply flawed -- unlike many conservative voters -- but who still voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. (No doubt, most progressives feel the same about all the Democrats who voted alongside him.)

But Ledeen reminds us of the enormous psychological pressure to conform faced by all moderate Republicans under a Bush administration. All it takes is one step out of line for the whips to come cracking down.
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