America: Our Next Chapter
Tough Questions, Straight Answers,
by Sen. Chuck Hagel & Peter Kaminsky
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
Chuck Hagel wrote this book after he announced that he would not run for re-election to the Senate in 2008. Hence readers can consider this book to be Hagel's Senate career memoir. However, the reason voters read this book (and the reason voters care about Hagel in general) is his opposition to the Iraq War. Hagel is the nation's most senior Republican elected representative to come out against the war, and this book explores that stance in detail. That stance has also fueled speculation about Hagel as an independent presidential candidate; as both the Democratic and Republican vice-presidential nominee; and now as a potential cross-party Cabinet appointment. Hence the following passage exemplifies the key concept of the book:
So how would Hagel have done in the presidential race? We've seen how Hillary Clinton had to explain endlessly during the presidential primary why she voted for the war. Despite Hagel's statement above, and his leadership on anti-war issues now, like Hillary, Hagel voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002. Hagel justifies that vote in the book by explaining how he improved the Iraq War resolution by negotiating with Bush; and how Bush promised this Iraq War would be similar to Bush Sr.'s Iraq War in 1991. But Hillary had justifications too; presumably Hagel would have been criticized identically. Perhaps that's why Hagel didn't run.
So why did we invade Iraq? I believe it was the triumph of the so-called neo-conservative ideology, as well as the Bush administration arrogance and incompetence that took America into this war of choice. This ideology presented a myopic vision of a democratic Middle East that would inject a large permanent American force presence in the region to act as the guarantor of a regional realignment. They believed that by taking the relatively easy step of toppling Saddam, they could begin to realize this vision through the use of America's unequaled military power, thereby establishing America's preeminence in the Middle East and bolstering the defense of Israel.
Besides the war, Hagel does write about his entire Senate career, and we excerpt what we consider the most important aspects. Hagel has been consistently bipartisan in working on legislation -- he passed bills with both Obama and Biden, for example. That's the same accomplishment that McCain claimed (and for which McCain is justifiably both renowned and reviled). Presumably Hagel would also have been criticized in a presidential run identically to how McCain was criticized -- not quite acceptable to either the Democrats or the Republicans anymore.
Hagel's future is not clarified by this book. The ostensible purpose of the book is to discuss America's next chapter, not Hagel's next chapter. But Hagel's future is the interesting part!
-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, November 2008
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Barack Obama: 2007: With Hagel, introduced nuclear nonproliferation bill.
Chuck Hagel: 2007: With Obama, introduced nuclear nonproliferation bill.
War & Peace|
Chuck Hagel: Shocking how little Congress & media challenged Bush on Iraq.
Chuck Hagel: Neo-conservative ideology took us into this war of choice.
Dick Cheney: OpEd: Used fear of terrorism to intensify war sloganeering.
Donald Rumsfeld: Ridiculed Shinseki for saying Iraq needed greater manpower.
Eric Shinseki: Ridiculed for testifying that Iraq needed greater manpower.
George W. Bush: OpEd: Linked Saddam & al-Qaeda despite lack of evidence.
The above quotations are from America: Our Next Chapter
Tough Questions, Straight Answers,
by Sen. Chuck Hagel & Peter Kaminsky.
Books by and about Cabinet Members:
- Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward, by Charlyne Berens
- Between Worlds, by Gov. Bill Richardson, Secretary of Commerce-designee
- Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis, by Sen. Tom Daschle, Secretary of Health & Human Services-designee
- Dreams from My Father:, by Sen. Barack Obama, President-elect
- It Takes A Village, by Sen. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State-designee
- Leading by Example, by Gov. Bill Richardson, Secretary of Commerce-designee
- Like No Other Time: The Two Years That Changed America, by Sen. Tom Daschle, Secretary of Health & Human Services-designee
- Living History, by Sen. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State-designee
- Profiles In Courage, by John F. Kennedy
- Profiles In Courage For Our Time, by Caroline Kennedy, including chapter on Rep. Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor-designee
- Promises to Keep, by Sen. Joe Biden, Vice President-elect
- The Audacity of Hope, by Sen. Barack Obama, President-elect
- No Higher Honor, by Condoleezza Rice (2011)
- My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me, by Condoleezza Rice (2012)
- The Plan: Big Ideas for Change in America, by Rahm Emanuel
- The Thumpin': How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless, by Naftali Bendavid; profiling Rep. Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff
- For the Record, by Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan