In fact, failing to oppose a nominee who has said what Hagel has said, and who stands for what Hagel stands for, would’ve been an open acknowledgment that his words and his stands were acceptable. They were not. They are not.
Obviously, Hagel’s shift from supporting the war in Iraq to opposing it was in no way disqualifying; the president himself opposed the war from the outset and both his secretaries of state voted for it before they spoke out against it.
What was disqualifying was just how spectacularly wrongheaded Hagel was about the “surge” in Iraq. At the time it was proposed, he said that the surgewas the worst foreign-policy disaster since Vietnam. In fact, it later proved among the most successful military turnarounds in history.