THE ANGRY ONE
Republican senator Chuck Hagel sounds off on the sorry state of Congress, the president’s lies, and the vote for war that he now regrets
GQ, January 2007
Chuck Hagel came home from Vietnam in 1968 with shrapnel in his chest, scars on his face, and an unyielding certainty that the freedom of men is theirs alone to win. As an infantryman, he had not bombed from above or commanded from behind; he had stood knee-deep in the muck, face-to-face with the enemy, firing on men and watching them die. It’s a hard memory to leave behind. Even after four decades and a lifetime of change—a fortune earned in the investment-banking business; a decade as a senator from Nebraska; and a position as one of the GOP’s conservative torchbearers with a shot at the White House—Hagel has put everything on the line to oppose the war in Iraq, refusing to send a “surge” of new troops into battle, or to forget the lessons he brought home from the killing fields long ago.
Sitting in his office on a recent afternoon, Hagel leaned back in his armchair to explain, in a voice reminiscent of sandpaper on rough oak, how he was deceived by the president, and won’t let it happen again.
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