President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel has been touted by the mainstream media as a remarkable pick in the spirit of bipartisanship. But do not be fooled. The Secretary of Defense is entrusted with the number one responsibility of the federal government: the safety of our nation. The problem is, Chuck Hagel is weaker than President Obama on vital national security issues that are intended to keep our country and our allies safe.
Senator Hagel has a disturbing policy history of pandering to Iran and not supporting our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel.
Below are ten reasons to OPPOSE the Hagel nomination:
1) The Iranian regime has welcomed Senator Hagel’s nomination stating that his successful confirmation could help diplomatic relations. This is because Hagel has repeatedly supported policies that further the nuclear ambition of our top national security threat: the Iranian Regime and Radical Islam. In fact, Chuck Hagel has long-standing ties to the “pro-Terhan” lobby in Washington. Throughout the 2000s he was a frequent speaker for the American-Iranian Council, the regime’s lobby in the U.S.
2) In 2007, Senator Hagel voted against an important amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would label the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization. This came at a time when it was clear that the IRGC was providing weapons, training, and financing to those killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.
3) Senator Hagel has urged the Bush administration to pursue “direct, unconditional and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran” and has repeatedly voted against sanctions. And in 2001, Hagel was one of just two U.S. senators to vote against sanctions for Iran. And in 2002, he attend an American-Iranian Council conference, speaking out about the need to abandon sanctions.
4) Senator Hagel has ruled out using military options against Iran. This is even to the left of President Obama who has not ruled out the use of military force.
5) When Palestinian suicide bombers were blasting Israelis to pieces in 2002, Hagel wrote in an op-ed article that this was the time for Israel to “take steps to show its commitment to peace.” At the beginning of the Palestinian uprising (Second Intifada), in which an estimated 4,000 people died, Hagel refused to sign a letter supporting Israel.
6) Senator Hagel’s comment to a reporter that supporters of Israel are a “Jewish lobby” indicate his insensitivity toward our ally Israel. It also undermines the fact that Americans of all ethnicities and varied faiths stand behind Israel as a true democracy that enhances our national security.
7) Senator Hagel has supported direct talks with Hamas, a designated terrorist organization in the U.S., and a group that pledges to destroy the state of Israel. During conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, Hagel refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
8) Senator Hagel opposed the “troop surge” in Iraq which turned the tide of the war at a critical time.
9) Senator Hagel strongly supports defense budget cuts and a “pared down Pentagon.” This is to the left of current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who has said repeatedly that pending defense cuts supported by President Obama will have substantial negative effects on U.S. National Security.
10) In the Senate, Hagel supported a bill that would have removed sanctions on Cuba, telling a newspaper that Castro was nothing but “a toothless old dinosaur.” The Castro regime has of course become an ally to some of our greatest enemy threats, Iran and Venezuela.
While we respect his service to our country, there are better candidates for the president to choose to lead this critical and central responsibility of the federal government, which is to keep America safe. Time and time again, in matters of critical foreign and defense policy, Chuck Hagel has chosen positions far outside the mainstream of America, and his nomination must be defeated.