The Hagel hearings are quite the window into the hawkish wing (that is, the largest wing) of the GOP. I think Hagel has done well in recognizing that complex answers would not serve him well here, so he has tried to rope a dope rather than explain. It was eerie in the questioning to see the GOPers attribute, almost literally, holy significance to the strategic triad (subs, ICBMs, and bombers) and act as if it’s almost literally an act of blasphemy to have toyed with (as Hagel seems to have) the idea that maybe ICBMs can be phased out. The trinity may be well holy, but in nuclear weapons delivery, not so much.
Israel, Israel, Israel. Most of the GOPers, plus Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, asked more questions about Israel than all the other nations of the world combined. It’s really a kind of fanaticism–of a sort which could not have been imagined 20 years ago. I would explain this intensity as a reaction to Israel’s decline in moral standing thoughout the Western world; because the special relationship, or the general idea that Israel is a peace-seeking and democratic state is now increasingly doubted, it must be defended with ever growing intensity. Still it’s an embarrassment–that this is presented to all the world as the highest deliberative political body in the United States.
Here some GOPers are trying to subject Hagel to standards of financial and historical disclosure that no one in Washington could ever meet.