Chuck Hagel’s Nomination

20 Feb

As many of you know former Republican senator Chuck Hagel has been nominated to replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.  I think he would be a great choice for Secretary of Defense.  I know this has already been said but I think that his experience of fighting in a war also gives him more awareness than most as to the price of war.  I’m aware that he has made some controversial statements in the past, but I do not believe that disqualifies him from being Secretary of Defense.  He has apologized for his remarks and I believe he was sincere in his apology.

The center of the attack against Hagel in the beginning was that he referred to the Aipac Lobby as the “Jewish Lobby.”  This past comment was misguided, but by no means does it make him an anti-Semite.  I am a Jewish-American and I don’t believe he had or still has any ill intent when he made that comment.  The other comment he made in the past was that he referred to someone as, “aggressively gay.”  He has apologized for his naïve comment and his apology was accepted by James Hormel last month; the same person of whom Hagel was talking about.

Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal was one of the first people to attack Chuck Hagel’s nomination.  In an article he wrote in December of last year titled, “Chuck Hagel’s Jewish Problem”, he accused the former Senator of anti-Semitism for his past quotes.  I reject this accusation against Chuck Hagel because of the lack of evidence behind it.  (I’m not even sure that Brett Stephens himself believes this accusation.)  I think that the reason Brett Stephens doesn’t support Hagel, is because Stephens wants a secretary of Defense who sees bombing Iran as the only course of action for Israel.  It’s pretty low for someone (Brett Stephens in this case) to accuse another person of racism simply because Hagel doesn’t agree with him on every issue.

The confirmation hearing was as bad if not worse than that which was said before the hearings.  Senator John McCain went after Hagel asking him about the 2007 troop surge in Iraq and only directing him to answer the question yes or no.  Senators James Inhofe and Ted Cruz went as far as to suggest that Iran was supporting Chuck Hagel’s nomination (with little to no proof mind you).  Their accusation was so out of order that even McCain slammed Ted Cruz for his accusations.  To accuse a former war hero of working or being supported by our enemies is beyond reprehensible in my opinion.

Last week, Hagel’s nomination was filibustered (the first time for any defense secretary nominee).  Some senators said that they were simply trying to get more information about the Benghazi attacks from last year, which has nothing to do with Hagel.  Other senators said they simply needed more time to debate former Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination.  I hope that this is simply a stalling tactic and that it isn’t another attempt for the GOP to block someone that they don’t agree with.  I have no problem with any senator voting against Hagel, but I believe it is unnecessary to filibuster his nomination.  There have been some people comparing this to George W. Bush’s nomination to Ambassador of the UN John Bolton.  I don’t believe it is fair to compare John Bolton’s nomination with Chuck Hagel.  John Bolton essentially wanted to dismantle the UN.  Chuck Hagel on the other hand would never try to dismantle our defense department.

I still think former Senator Chuck Hagel will be confirmed as our next Secretary of Defense.  At least I would hope so.  I would hate for him to get blocked because of baseless accusations or his opposition to the war in Iraq.  We need a Secretary of Defense who knows what it is like to fight in a war, and I hope Chuck Hagel gets confirmed soon.

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