• What they're saying about Chuck Hagel's nomination
• Photo showcase: Chuck Hagel through the years.
• Photo showcase: Hagel nomination press conference.
• Archive, bio, credentials: Read more about Hagel.
• Video: Monday's press conference.
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The following are excerpts from Hagel's 2008 book, "America: Our Next Chapter."
“America's approach to the Middle East must be consistent and sustained. At its core, there will always be a special and historic bond with Israel exemplified by our continued commitment to Israel's defense. But this commitment cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships, which are in crisis. All of our interests will suffer if we are perceived as being implacably and irreversibly at odds with the Arab and Muslim world. Achieving a lasting resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is the best means of pushing political and religious extremists to the margins.”
“Being evenhanded does not mean that we cannot condemn the actions of Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists in their attacks or Israel's overreaction in 2006, when it engaged in relentless aerial bombardment of Lebanon for twenty-six straight days. Israel, like all sovereign nations, has the undeniable right to defend itself against terrorism and aggression. However, military retaliation — rightful or not — is not a political strategy that can end the threat posed by terrorist groups.”
“Isolating nations is risky. It turns them inward, and makes their citizens susceptible to the most demagogic fear mongering. Unfortunately, that is what America's strategy has been over the last several years in dealing with Iran (prior to 2008). We rebuffed an opportunity for direct dialogue in 2003 following our toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. And we never fully explored the possibility of greater bilateral dialogue during the time when the reformist Iranian president Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami, was in office, from 1997 through 2002.”
“Military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities would signal a severe diplomatic failure and would have their own serious negative consequences for the United States and for our allies. Iran has the ability to retaliate in Iraq against our forces, in Lebanon against our Lebanese partners, against Israel, and potentially against us in Europe as well as here in America. The absence of a concentrated diplomatic effort to confront this issue is an abdication of our responsibility for our nation's security and for world leadership.”
“I remember a strong resolve coming over me, as our chopper climbed over the glistening green canopy of the jungle and I watched the steam rise above it in the morning light. I made myself a promise that if I ever got out of that place and was ever in a position to do something about war — so horrible, so filled with suffering — I would do whatever I could to stop it. I have never forgotten that promise. I made it to myself but also to everyone who answers the call to serve their country. I think of it every day, because once you set war in motion, its consequences are often the ones least intended and they are always uncontrollable.”
“War, once it is unleashed, is always uncontrollable, unpredictable, and painful far beyond the predications of those who beat the drum the loudest. To be sure, there is sometimes no other recourse than war, but it always must be the last alternative.”
“So why did we invade Iraq? I believe it was the triumph of the so-called neoconservative ideology, as well as 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. They obviously made a convincing case to a president with very limited national security and foreign policy experience, who keenly felt the burden of leading the nation in the wake of the deadliest terrorist attack ever on American soil.”
“History has shown that the way to encourage more open societies, human rights, and democratic development is through engagement, trade, communication, and direct contact among people.”
“The shadowy pockets of terrorist enemies around the world are not easily identifiable, and therefore not easily attacked. The military resources that we can bring to bear are vast, but they are also limited; they must always be deployed responsibly and strategically, and in new ways. Intelligence is the one instrument of power that can unravel plans for terrorist attacks before they are operational. Intelligence can identify these terrorist strongholds and guide us in mounting precise surgical strikes. This, in turn, calls for a transformation of our force structure that would include more special operations capabilities, more mobility, more linguistics specialists, more satellite intelligence and cyber resources.”
— Compiled by World-Herald staff writer Joseph Morton
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Chuck Hagel's bio, credentials
Born: North Platte, Neb., Oct. 4, 1946
Family: Wife, Lilibet; daughter, Allyn; son, Ziller
Education: St. Bonaventure High School, Columbus, 1964. Brown Institute for Radio and Television, Minneapolis, 1966; bachelor's degree, history, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1971
Hagel's lengthy résumé includes these experiences involving the military, government and foreign policy:
» U.S. Army sergeant, served in Vietnam 1967-68; awarded Purple Heart twice, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Republic of South Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (three times)
» Chief of staff to U.S. Rep. John Y. McCollister, R-Neb.
» Deputy administrator, U.S. Veterans Administration, 1981-82
» CEO and president of the USO, 1987-1990
» U.S. senator, 1997 to 2009; served on the Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees
» Chairman, the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank, 2009-current
» Co-chairman, President's Intelligence Advisory Board, 2009-current
» Government professor, Georgetown University, 2009-current