- Do you support Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense?
We, the American people, will not have much say in whether or not Chuck Hagel is given this important position, although we should. It is enormously important to our well-being!
We can exert influence on our Senators and we should. Those who decided Barack Obama should have a second term are responsible for this nomination and now they should take a close look at the man and decide if this is the person who should represent our country.
Richard Cohen has written a piece in defense of Chuck Hagel and the Washington Post aired it for him. Cohen is not a person with whom I often agree and I do not agree here. On the important issue of Israel, looking at whether or not a candidate has supported this country is not ‘tarring’ the candidate. It is looking into something that is crucial for the well-being of not just Israel’s, but our own well-being.
Cohen attacked Bret Stephens, who is also an editorial writer and journalist. Cohen took issue with what Stephens had written and quoted from him to make his own points. Cohen included the following paragraphs in his article.
It is true, as Stephens writes, that Jews are not the only ones who support Israel, and it is likewise true that not all Jews support Israel — or at least the current government of Benjamin Netanyahu. But Stephens’s real beef with Hagel is not over speech but policy. Not only does the former Nebraska senator and Barack Obama’s choice for defense secretary march to a different drummer, but in some cases the average ear can hear no drummer at all. On Iran, for instance, Hagel’s preferred policy — no sanctions but lots of talk — would hardly compel Tehran to abandon its (strongly) suspected nuclear weapons program. That may not happen anyway, but there’s something to be said for the effort.
I, too, have some qualms about Hagel. He earned his wariness of war the hard way — two Purple Hearts in Vietnam — but sometimes muscle, not talk, is what works. And he has been remarkably retrograde when it comes to homosexuality. He opposed a Clinton administration ambassadorial nominee for being “openly, aggressively gay.” Hagel has since recanted — openly and aggressively.
The fact that Hagel recanted “openly and aggressively” sounds more like a political hack to me than a man of true conviction.
Obama’s recommendation on Hagel included the fact that he wears a coat and tie and shows up for work rather than vacationing most of the time. That is fine, but many people do this.
Here are few research facts:
- Hagel once called Hezbollah “an interesting organization” and referred to Jerusalem by its Islamic name, “Al Quds.“
- Hagel served in Vietnam. Well, John Kerry did that as well and….
- He takes a tougher line on certain Israeli government policies, and a softer line on Iran, than most mainstream American politicians and says “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people”. (Is there a Jewish lobby?)
- Hagel, in his two terms in the Senate, voted to support Israel in ways that matter to actual Israelis, including its defense officials. He supported a close relationship between the U.S. military and the Israel Defense Forces, and he regularly voted to grant Israel aid packages.
- His thinking on Iran isn’t clear, but he seems to be against sanctions and military intervention and for deliberations.
My personal thoughts about the appointment are simple. Why should Hagel, who is controversial, be given this important position? There are many people who are well qualified whose support for Israel is unquestionable who wear suits and show up for work every day. Why were they passed over?
- Obama to nominate Chuck Hagel as defense secretary (sacbee.com)
- ‘Tough questions’ await Chuck Hagel, whose nomination comes today (omaha.com)
- Amid tension, Obama taps Hagel as defense secretary (cbsnews.com)
- Ted Cruz Opposes Hagel Nomination (freebeacon.com)
- Why the Hagel Nomination Matters (cato.org)
- Chuck Hagel in 2004: Reinstate the Draft (nationalreview.com)