The Afghanistan war followed. It rages. It shows no signs of ending. It's America's longest war. It was lost years ago.
Hagel supported the 2003 Iraq war. When it was too late to matter, his tone got more dovish.
He favors lawless warrantless surveillance. He opposes habeas and due process rights for Guantanamo detainees.
On January 7, the Washington Post headlined "On Israel, Iran, and spending, Chuck Hagel looks a lot like Robert Gates," saying:
His opponents claim he'll dramatically change defense spending and America's position on Israel and Iran. Reality suggests otherwise.
"The bottom line is that" Hagel and Gates "are remarkably similar and appear to share a number of policy preferences." They include drawing down in Iraq and arguing against Libyan intervention.
Both men differ somewhat on Iran. Gates is more hardline. Hagel tried having it both ways. On the one hand, he claimed sanctions are counterproductive. At the same time, he said they're "working."
In his first post-nomination interview , he said critics "completely distorted" his record.