Former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's top candidate for defense secretary. (Photo: AP)
The most important action Americans should expect from our federal government is a strong national defense. Constitutionally, we were guaranteed this right by our Founding Fathers when they specifically stated in the Preamble that the government is to “provide for the common defense” and then outlined specifics in Article 1 section 8. Unfortunately, this Administration has once again proven its ineptitude by nominating former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Hagel’s confirmation would ultimately make us less safe as a nation.
Remember this is the same Chuck Hagel that National Review magazine once nicknamed “the Senator from France,” for his weak-kneed foreign policy positions. This point was underscored in his voting record on key issues which directly affect the nation’s ability to deal with looming threats in the Middle East. Hagel’s criticism of even sanctions against Iran sends up major red flags for those who understand the serious danger nuclear weapons pose in the hand of the either crazy or evil (or both) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This is the same man who famously thinks it’s wise to “wipe Israel off the map” and that the Holocaust and September 11th were "mysterious" or made up--just to name a couple of his insane rants. On the one hand President Obama is domestically talking about keeping guns from homicidal maniacs and yet on the other hand chooses a nominee for DOD secretary who shrugs off the foreign head of state version. The former has the ability to murder dozens and the latter millions.
Secondly, Hagel’s fundamental disregard for our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is beyond troubling. His less than stellar record, coupled with his comments regarding the “Jewish lobby” and intimidation on Capitol Hill, was broadly viewed as “borderline anti-Semitic.” We cannot know his heart but his actions are of great concern. The notion that Israel should negotiate with Hamas and Hagel’s opposition to correctly labeling Hezbollah as a terrorist organization leaves little room for doubt that his sympathies are misplaced.
Finally, while we appreciate and thank Sen. Hagel for his service to our nation as both a Vietnam veteran and a U.S. Senator neither experience automatically qualifies him for the job he wants next. The person who is confirmed as our next Secretary of Defense must grapple with the most politically sensitive issues and the most complex government agency. Billions of tax dollars will be at stake in the next two months as Congress fights over the budget. The civilian leader of the nation’s military must be willing to fight for the funds needed to keep us safe at home and for the resources necessary to keep our men and women in uniform safe both at home and abroad. Again, Chuck Hagel is the guy the President wants, but he is not the right person for the job. The most important responsibility of the Secretary of Defense is to keep us safe, and as Ronald Reagan reminded us there is only peace through strength and Chuck Hagel is decidedly a weak candidate.