CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Why Combat Matters

    PRINT:
  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

Recently there have been several articles in our major newspapers arguing not only that Senator Chuck Hagel’s Vietnam combat experience may not be relevant to his ability to be an effective secretary of defense but could actually be a hindrance.

Eliot Cohen in the Washington Post argued that President Lincoln was a better wartime president in the Civil War than Confederate President, West Point graduate, and combat veteran Jefferson Davis. (Does this mean that if Lincoln was president of the Confederacy, the South would have won the Civil War?) Fouad Ajami, also in the Post, claims that because of Hagel (and John Kerry’s) Vietnam heroism, they would be unwilling to help people in distress—as the United States did in a different era. (He does not give any examples and overcooks situations like Poland, Hungary, Cambodia, and Romania where we did not help people in distress). Finally Bill Keller argues in the New York Times that the fact that Hagel has tasted combat should not be a reason to confirm him. In fact, according to Keller it could be a handicap.

Read more here.

This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or lbartolomeo@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or eshulman@americanprogress.org

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or bstrong@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or jmolina@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org