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Chuck Hagel to be Nominated for Defense Secretary

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 6, 2013

220px-Chuck_Hagel_official_photoIt is reported that former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel will be nominated by President. Obama for become his next Secretary of Defense.  It would be nice if this nomination of a Republican was done in the name of bipartisanship.  However, even a cursory review of Hagel’s past indicates other motivations by the President.

Tom Cotton, Republican Congressman elect from Arkansas wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled A Soldier’s-Eye View of Chuck Hagel with concerns about this upcoming nomination.  Cotton, who served as a US infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, offered the following concerns:

  • At the height of the Iraqi insurgency problem, Hagel made precisely the wrong conclusions about that war.  In November 2006, while a Senator from Nebraska, Hagel wrote an op-ed published in the Washington Post suggesting a rapid withdrawal from Iraq stating that further effort would not yield positive results.  Hagel called President Bush’s surge “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam“.  History has proven Hagel to totally off base with this assessment with the surge becoming a significant success.
  • In 2007, Hagel voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.  There can be little justification for this vote against not only America’s enemy, but clearly terrorists who to this day support the Syrian regime that has killed 60,000 of its own people.

Hagel has shown other propensities that make him to be a peculiar choice for Defense Secretary. Over the years he showed skepticism relating to America sanctions against Iran, a policy that is the centerpiece being pursued currently by President Obama.  In addition, he has been unwilling to isolate terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah.  In addition, he has taking a rather adversarial approach towards Israel once making the incredible statement: “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.

Chuck Hagel is likely qualified to be Secretary of Defense, not only because of his past political experience, but also as a veteran.  In addition, presidents should be given leeway on their choice for cabinet members.  At the same time, Hagel’s choice by Obama again shows that this president is a divider who is unconcerned by the portion of American’s that take it as an affront when radicals such as Hagel are appointed to position of power in his administration.


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