Neoconservative backers of the Iraq War have had long had issues with Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of Defense.
In Aug. 2002, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol included Hagel, then a Republican senator from Nebraska, in his “axis of appeasement” before the U.S. invaded Iraq. Despite misgivings, Hagel eventually supported the Iraq War resolution, only to later break with reliably interventionist Republicans –- like Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) -– by voting for withdrawal and speaking out against the so-called surge. “In Washington, Hagel is reviled by neoconservatives,” The New Republic’s John Judis wrote in a 2007 profile of the decorated Vietnam War veteran turned Iraq critic.
So it's no surprise that Hagel's biggest critics on cable news in recent days, and in op-eds and blog posts over the past month, hail from the camp of enthusiastic Iraq War boosters who continued advocating for U.S. military involvement long after many early supporters voiced concerns over the disaster at hand. The cable news chorus now argues that Hagel, who broke ranks to question wrong-headed policy, is the one "outside the mainstream" of responsible thinking on foreign policy.