Has Anyone Seen Chuck Hagel Lately?

by Jim Geraghty

Then, when President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense:

In the Senate, I came to admire his courage and his judgment, his willingness to speak his mind — even if it wasn’t popular, even if it defied the conventional wisdom.

Now, in Al Hunt’s column for Bloomberg:

The big four in the cabinet look more like the big three with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel being nearly invisible. Hagel, the former Republican Senator from Nebraska, who won confirmation after a bitter battle a year ago, has kept a surprisingly low profile in what is usually a high-visibility job . . . 

On the major foreign policy issues, such as Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, Hagel doesn’t appear to have a major voice. The Vietnam veteran is personally popular with much of the military but is often seen as lacking clout within President Barack Obama’s administration . . . 

Hagel’s visibility in Washington, other than at required or perfunctory events, remains minimal.

A quiet non-entity may be good by the standards of Obama’s cabinet. But with the Syria deal collapsing, the Iranian deal remaining secret, Ukraine and Venezuela blowing up, the situation in Afghanistan worsening with an erratic Karzai and no clear plan for a U.S. military presence beyond December, the potential loss of drone bases for targets in Pakistan, “al-Qa’ida raising its flag once again in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi,” and, in the words of our intelligence chiefs, al-Qaeda “morphing and — and franchising itself and not only here but other areas of the world” . . . 

. . . maybe this isn’t the right time for a quiet, disregarded cipher to be running the Pentagon?

Have you seen this man? If so, call (202) 456-1111.

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