Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator from Nebraska and Barack Obama's choice to be secretary of defense, served with honor as an infantryman in Vietnam and was wounded twice. This fact, a tribute to Mr. Hagel's personal courage, will now be trotted out repeatedly as proof of his fitness to serve in high office. If the standard by which our prospective secretaries of defense should be judged is prior military service, neither Edwin Stanton (Lincoln's secretary of war) nor Henry Stimson (FDR's) would have passed the test. Robert McNamara and Don Rumsfeld would have. But I digress.