The Senate Armed Services Committee had a heated exchange in deciding to send Chuck Hagel's nomination for Secretary of Defense to the full Senate. Details here. In fact, it was quite vicious. Now the Senate vote is stalled over threats of filibuster and/or other procedural tangles. Details here.But going back to the almost beginning: I just read an apparently full account of Senator Schumer's press conference after his discussion with Hagel. Schumer subsequently blessed his nomination. If Schumer is accurately representing Hagel's statements to him, it would seem that Hagel gave way on every issue that has created the controversy and that has led critics of the "bomb Iran" campaign to support him. Should we believe Schumer? What has Hagel promised?Of course, the president will shape the policy and make any decisions about Iran and the Middle East. The question is: Has Hagel been hopelessly compromised, first by Schumer and now by the Republicans accusing him of being a traitor.UPDATE: GOP blocks vote on HagleUPDATE II: "An irked Obama is dead set on installing his pick at the Pentagon even though the bitter battle over his confirmation is likely to leave lasting scars on his nominee at a time of looming military cuts and dangerous new developments in Iran and North Korea." At Politico
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.