Chuck Hagel is taking a lot of heat from people on my side of Israeli, Iranian, and Iraqi issues. Yes, there's no doubt that he has abandoned his past forthright and entirely sensible statements on these issues, but does this make him "craven?" What is he supposed to do, given the importance of getting confirmed? If he reiterated his past positions, almost certainly he would be rejected.
What then? Not difficult to predict. Obama would surely nominate someone whose views on all these issues, not to mention arms control, are squarely within the current consensus of the ignoramuses who dominate the accepted discourse in U.S. politics. Would that be better for sound US policies than if Hagel proudly and defiantly stood his ground, bravely going down with all flags flying?
No way. Far better to have Hagel as Secretary of Defense, where he can then quietly--or maybe even not so quietly, work for sane policies towards Iran and Israel.