Max Cleland: U.S. military needs to come home, and Chuck Hagel ‘gets that’

Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel in a 2007 photo. AP file/Nati Harnik

Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel in a 2007 photo. AP file/Nati Harnik

When the Senate Armed Services Committee takes up the nomination of Chuck Hagel on Thursday, former Georgia senator (and committee chairman) Sam Nunn will introduce him. But another former Georgia senator will be in the room to support a fellow Vietnam veteran. Though he’s not scheduled to testify, Max Cleland has penned the following op-ed piece in support of the former Nebraska Republican senator:

Several years ago, I visited with Gen. Colin Powell when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. “How’s it going, General, I greeted him?” He replied that he had spoken to a civic group recently. He said a man came up to him and pointedly announced, “You don’t sound very much a hawk!”

General Powell told me he responded to the man by saying, “Tell you the truth, I don’t get paid to be a hawk. My job is to give the president the best advice on how to use the American military to stay out of war, but if we get in war win and win quickly.”

Former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland. AJC file

Former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland. AJC file

That’s the finest definition of a high-ranking Pentagon official’s responsibilities I’ve ever heard. It is the ultimate definition of the role of Secretary of Defense.

Chuck Hagel fits that definition perfectly.

Hagel is a fellow veteran of the Vietnam War. We were both wounded about the same time in the same year in the Tet Offensive in 1968. We both witnessed the slaughter on both sides. He and I still carry the shrapnel from our wounds.

Chuck is the living embodiment of General MacArthur’s observation that, “The soldier above all prays for peace because he must bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” For that reason, Chuck is gun-shy about the willy-nilly commitment of American forces around the globe. I’m sure he agrees with another former chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff, Gen. Hugh Shelton, also a Vietnam veteran, who was fond of saying, “The American military is a great hammer, but every problem in the world is not necessarily a nail.”

Absolutely!

But, does that make Hagel a peacenik?

No!

The other part of the Powell equation (now known as the Powell Doctrine) says that when America goes to war, it must do so with overwhelming force in order to win, and win quickly.

Having spent a year of his youth in a war that went on for years, that bled America dry of blood and treasure, Chuck feels the necessity of this dictum in his bones. After more than a decade of war, this American military needs to come home. It also needs a leader in the Secretary of Defense who gets that fact.

Gen. Colin Powell has endorsed Chuck Hagel.

So do I.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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84 comments Add your comment

yeah

January 29th, 2013
5:04 pm

He will be confirmed. Count on it.

It is a much safer bet than the predictions made on the AJC blogs about a Romney win back in November

:-)

MrLiberty

January 29th, 2013
5:12 pm

Of course the military needs to come – every last one of them – to defend America on American shores. Hagel may agree at least with regards to Afghanistan and Iraq, but he will toe the line and do what he is told and not make waves. That’s what politicians do and he is definitely a politician. The military/industrial/banking/oil complex is making way too much money off these wars and the surveillance state is making too much money off the consequences of the violence and atrocities we commit overseas to ever allow this endless war to cease. Sure americans would be safer, sure americans would be more free, sure our treasury would be better off, sure our dollar would be better off, sure the rest of the world would be happier and safer with american troops on american shores, but the powers that be are all-in on this one and nobody is going to stand in there way. Just watch.

Old Physics Teacher

January 29th, 2013
5:12 pm

Powell’s comments would have sounded a lot better if he had taken his own advice as Sec of State and not help W start the Iraqi War. The repercussions of W’s action (with Powell’s support) will be with us for a few generations.

Hagel should be confirmed

Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr.

January 29th, 2013
5:30 pm

Not only bring them home from the shooting wars but also from the aftermath of others. We don’t need tens of thousands of troops in Korea, Okinawa, Germany, etc.

honested

January 29th, 2013
5:30 pm

Senator Hagel is an excellent choice and will help the President to make clear to all Americans that it is well past time for a 50% cut in the Pentagon budget!

honested

January 29th, 2013
5:33 pm

Weyman C.,

Nor do we need to pay for the support staff, contractors, consultants, etc. that help inflate the costs for external military outposts that serve no useful purpose.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 29th, 2013
6:06 pm

Homosexuality is an abomination and hagel “get’s that” too.

Colin

January 29th, 2013
6:26 pm

Having Max Cleland as a friend is not something I would want. Nevertheless, I agree it is time to pull our troops out of Afganistan. However, I think before they leave, we need to go ahead and deal with Iran and their known desire to build nuclear weapons (officially their desire for nuclear power). Already having troops in a bordering nation will allow us to more quickly remove their nuclear capability. After that, bring them home. Then, we need to get ready to send them to the Korean peninsula to deal with those crazy communists in North Korea who are again spouting off about their nuclear capabilities. We know they are working on it and will need to deal with it (sanctions don’t work) sooner rather than later. Very soon, they will have the ability to effectively destroy South Korea, Japan and Australia. Once we remove that threat, then bring them home for good to deal with the Mexican problem. That country can’t control the drug cartels and presents a significant national security risk to this country. It will ultimately be up to Uncle Sam to deal with it. While all of these matters are being handled, we will probably still be called on to bail out the French as they attempt to quash the muslim aggression is Africa (e.g., Mali). Bottom line is we will be spending a significant amount of money on our military for some time to come.

Curious

January 29th, 2013
6:33 pm

I’d be honored to have Max Cleland as a friend.

US Army, 1969-2005

CC

January 29th, 2013
6:42 pm

“Having Max Cleland as a friend is not something I would want.”

Nor would I!

GaBlue

January 29th, 2013
6:44 pm

Yes, please.

Atlanta truth

January 29th, 2013
6:47 pm

The ILLEGAL wars are OVER. US troops are coming home as they should be and justice is being done.

double

January 29th, 2013
6:47 pm

Aesop’s fairy tales.

Atlanta truth

January 29th, 2013
6:53 pm

@ Aesop’s Fables and other Lib Economic Theories —- your comment darling about homosexualilty: WRONG. Here we go. Shall we start with divorce ? OMG talk about abomination. 50% of ALL marriages end in divorce. Those folks are going to HELL. Per your assessment. Slow down and focus. I am Hindi. I am Buddhist. I am Muslim. I am AMERICAN !. Back the EFFFF up and realize that YOUR thought process is single-minded. Crystal ? Good.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 29th, 2013
7:01 pm

squishy says that since little johny jumped off the bridge, everybody should jump off the bridge. Didn’t we discuss this in grade school, squishy?

I’m just agreeing with hagel anyway, same as galloway.

CC

January 29th, 2013
7:01 pm

Aesop:

Ignore the taunts and criticism. You are right and nothing said/written by detractors changes that!

A

January 29th, 2013
7:06 pm

Cleland for Senate!!

A Realist

January 29th, 2013
7:08 pm

Hagel is another Democrat stooge—plain and simple. A yes man for Obozo and the libtards… And Cleland is no hero either. Thanks Mr. Cleland for your service…..but get getting drunk while on-duty and pulling the pin that set off your own grenade doesn’t qualify as a heroic action.

MrLiberty

January 29th, 2013
7:36 pm

I would bet good money that Colin will not be signing up to join all the soon-to-be-dead soldiers that he happily wishes to send all over the globe to extend the power of the American empire. Typical chickenhawk. We had plenty of those during the Bush administration and still have plenty in Obama’s. You would think that gross failures and blowback like 9-11 would have taught everyone the consequences of sticking your nose in the business of sovereign nations, but I guess not.

Just bring everyone home to defend america and heed George Washington’s advice on foreign policy.

Cherokee

January 29th, 2013
7:56 pm

So is eating shrimp and wearing polyester, Aesop, but I imagine you don’t pepper blogs with that, do you?

Pharisee.

Cherokee

January 29th, 2013
7:58 pm

So would I, curious.

Amazing how it’s okay to smear a guy’s military service if he happens to differ politically from you.

Old Hippie

January 29th, 2013
8:04 pm

Chuck Hagel will clear the Senate with ease. As will any other Cabinet nominees. You right-wingers better get use to this. Obama won re-election by 4% point and a huge electoral college mandate. His coalition will nominate and elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 & 2020. The American people thoroughly rejected the GOP/Tea Party/Romney policy proposals; they rejected Ryan’s austerity program and attacks on the social safety net. Women said “NO!” to old white guys trying to control women’s reproductive system. Blacks, Latinos, and Asians said “NO!” to having their voting rights limited.

American voters do not want to continue the war in Afghanistan and want our troops brought home. NOW.

I hate to break it to you wing nuts but this ain’t your daddy’s America anymore. Get use to it.

hiram

January 29th, 2013
8:14 pm

@old hippie
It ain’t wingnuts – it’s wingnut. td/cc/asshop/voter are one and the same. He has some kind of mental disorder.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 29th, 2013
8:16 pm

Why must you go Old Testament on me, indian?

Have you ever actually read the Bible?

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 29th, 2013
8:18 pm

hiram – I’m sure that up in your world you are surrounded. Get back under the bed. It will be OK, once they all leave.

Jbillvet

January 29th, 2013
8:37 pm

Max is a joke…like “arealist@7:08″ said, Max is no hero..he caused his on injury and now claims to be a hero.
Hagel is another like Kerry that lied about American action in Viet Nam. All Obama cards to be played.
I’m a vet and have no respect for the three. @ Cherokee, the truth hurts sir…not party crap.
I do agree to bring troops home. When you don’t fight to win stay home.
Old Hippie..you right about America, broke, 50 million out of work, 47 % of people on Govt pay-roll, we’ve lost respect all over the world and now they want our guns..Yes its your Daddy old Hippie have fun. Plus giving airplanes and guns to the enemy.
God Bless USA we need it.

CC

January 29th, 2013
8:56 pm

hiram:

Been off your meds long? Better take that lithium or they will be locking you up again! Remember what happened last time?

Cherokee

January 29th, 2013
9:23 pm

Several times, Aesop, yes. I suggest you give it a try.

Attack Dog

January 29th, 2013
9:28 pm

If you must have an assault weapon, join the Army.

Buymadeinusjobs

January 29th, 2013
9:35 pm

Where were Cheney, Bush, Rommey when Kerry, cleland, hagel were in viet nam risking their life
. Thank you Sen. Cleland, it is a shame chicken hawks do not appreciate viet nam vets.
Most Republicans wave the flag, rah, rah, rah, when the old war mongers who never lost a drop of blood on battlefield send you off to fight. They pretend at holidays. The senate repub. filibuster Mcconnel and his tea bags chambliss, kingston all the other rep filibustered veterans jobs bill..
When you come back dead or injured and needing veterans housing,, medical care for 60 or so years;; they cut 17 billion in veterans benefits.[backlog of claims-agent orange-viet nam, desert storm-oil fires comp., PTSD for all veterans.
Ryan's budget 2011[all Repub senators and house members voted for it[se cspan], cut vet benefits.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 29th, 2013
9:40 pm

You quote the Old Testament laws, indian, but seem to forget why Christ died.

Go ahead and explain your version of the story.

Dennis

January 29th, 2013
9:45 pm

Aseop, you’re listening too much to your own fables.

I have five children, two of whom are homosexual. They’re born who and what they are. They didn’t have any say-so about it before they were born any more than you and I had a say-so to be straight (if you’re straight).
———————————————-
That said, it is a national disgrace the way the Pentagon tries to deny the care of its physically and mentally wounded.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 29th, 2013
9:50 pm

Dennis – What purpose does homosexuality serve?

Dennis

January 29th, 2013
9:55 pm

It serves the sexual needs of a homosexual.

If you have a problem with that, then I suggest you see a counselor.

hiram

January 29th, 2013
10:09 pm

@Dennis
td/cc/asshop/voter is the same person with multiple IP addresses, who is here looking for the attention his mommy didn’t give him. He has learned that saying naughty things gets people to respond to him. You are playing right into his hands.

Dennis

January 29th, 2013
10:12 pm

Thanks, Hiram.

Mary Elizabeth

January 29th, 2013
10:45 pm

I am proud that Max Cleland is a Georgian, just as I am proud that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Georgian. Both men have elevated our state. I am, also, in agreement with the thoughts expressed by former Senator Cleland in his op-ed, above. Thank you, Senator Cleland.

Georgia

January 29th, 2013
11:50 pm

What’s the difference between our invasion of Iraq and Germany’s invasion of Poland and 911?

1. Hitler was insane.

2. Bush was just doing what Cheney told him to do, probably at gunpoint.

3. There is no difference, morons.

4. Allah the above.

BIg Hat

January 30th, 2013
12:03 am

Aesop’s Fables; just remember, when homosexuality is outlawed, only outlaws will have homosexuality.

the truth...

January 30th, 2013
12:12 am

I’m with Colin on his idea for dealing with the Iran nukes while we’re in the process of leaving Afghanistan….. of course this administration doesn’t have the cohones to take action and it will be too late….Obama will be the one that history will credit for letting Iran get Nukes….

Buymadeinusjobs

January 30th, 2013
4:04 am

Iran has told you that they will not allow Americans to strike them without striking U. S. Soil in return.
Are you ready for poison in your water, farms, who knows what, strikes on your electrial grid, some of that white power the Atlanta oldsters planned to use.
Terrorists are able to make 8 IED with a$20 bag of fertilizer, cheap and no big logistics/expensive weapons.
Sec. Gates said it was not good idea to hit Iran. There is no way to protect ourselves against what terrorist can do to us and we have lost many lives and money in the wars.
Terrorist are multiplying like rabbits all over the world.

Were we better off when. President Eisenhower said limit the military industrial complex, build interstate highway system, good paying manufacturing jobs, good tax base, middle class that workers poor could reach by pulling up ourselves by boot straps

CC

January 30th, 2013
6:03 am

hiram:

If your brain were gasoline, it wouldn’t be enough to power a flea’s motor scooter around an ant’s a$$ a single time. Leave off the alcohol! It kills brain cells and you have precious few to lose!

CC

January 30th, 2013
6:06 am

“Terrorists are able to make 8 IED with a$20 bag of fertilizer”

Yep, and if they could package Obozo’s words, they could destroy life on this planet!

Cherokee

January 30th, 2013
6:45 am

Aesop I know you glom on to these blogs so you will likely chyeck back in.

*YOU* quoted the Old Testament – and now you shriink back in horror when someone else quotes it too?

How about you take some responsibility for the posts you toss up on these blogs? This isn’t some kind of game – if you really believe the Bible, then you know you will someday stand before God and be asked to give an account of your actions. Those actions include the snarky attacks, the lies, the judgements on anyone – including gays – who disagrees with you.

I wouldn’t want to be you, my friend.

CC

January 30th, 2013
7:05 am

Cherokee:

Speaking of lies . . . I posted a little something for you on Dupree’s blog.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 30th, 2013
7:13 am

*YOU* quoted the Old Testament – and now you shriink back in horror when someone else quotes it too?

I quoted Romans which is in the New Testament.

Typical lib, doesn’t have any idea what she’s talking about but does that stop her?

USC

January 30th, 2013
7:34 am

I am always embarrassed when Max Cleland is attacked by the right wingers (mostly draft dodgers, cowards, and gun nuts) using this anonymous format. I support veterans like Chuck Hagel – he has been there and will serve our military with distinction. Will he reduce expenditures up there in Cobb County for unnecessary military equipment? (Yes, I know where you are.). I hope so. Unemployment in the killing industry should be fostered.

Marlboro Man

January 30th, 2013
7:37 am

Tell countries that use US bases for protection, pay us or we go home. Then do it.

Marlboro Man

January 30th, 2013
7:38 am

that fable chick is full of crap.

liberalefty

January 30th, 2013
7:42 am

why do draft dodgers and chickenhawks hate MAX CLELAND so much? But nobody waves the flags more than draft dodging chickenhawks…lol