The leading candidate being considered by President Obama to serve as the next Secretary of Defense, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, continues to face an onslaught of attacks to an extent that puts his confirmation, even his nomination, in serious doubt.
Hagel is an outsider when it comes to his own party in the realm of foreign policy. Hawks have harshly criticized him as unworthy of the position because of his record of opposition to interventionism, military quagmires, sanctions, and for not toeing the line demanded by the pro-Israel lobby.
New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte on Thursday said, “If he is nominated and comes before the Senate Armed Services Committee, I plan to vigorously question him on his prior statements, and [his positions on Israel and Iran], in particular.”
A spokesman for Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio suggested the he might put a hold on a Hagel nomination due to differences on Cuba policy. Hagel argues against the decades-old policy of sanctioning and isolating Cuba.
Adding to the onslaught of foreign policy criticisms, Hagel on Thursday faced new disapproval for comments he made 14-years ago that are perceived as being anti-gay.
During an interview in 1998, Hagel commented on the potential nomination of James C. Hormel, a San Francisco philanthropist chosen by President Bill Clinton to be ambassador to Luxembourg, saying Hormel was too openly gay to effectively represent America.
“They are representing America,” Mr. Hagel said. “They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly, aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.”
Hagel was also a supporter of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
Hagel has been brought through the gauntlet by his own party as they refuse to forgive him for having an independent mind that departs from their interventionist, hawkish, blindly pro-Israel doctrine. But most of the opposition has come from political hacks in the party and neo-conservative pundits.
Many notable people, on the other hand, have voiced support for Hagel. Robert Wright, of The Atlantic, rounds up some of these notables:
Already, Hagel has been defended by a strikingly diverse array of voices, including (in addition to people I mentioned in the piece) Dana Milbank of the Washington Post; John Judis of The New Republic; Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast; Scott McConnell and Daniel Larison of The American Conservative; the progressive pro-Israel group J Street; the Center for American Progress blog ThinkProgress; Stephen Walt of Foreign Policy and Harvard; Steve Clemons of The Atlantic and the New America Foundation; Jim Fallows of The Atlantic; Emily Hauser of Open Zion; Marsha B. Cohen and Jim Lobe at Lobeblog; Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times; Clyde Prestowitz, formerly US Trade Representative in a Republican administration, in Foreign Policy; Robert Merry at The National Interest; former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer; and former U.S. Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller.
In addition, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage have advocated on behalf on Hagel, as well as a group of nine American ambassadors, including five former ambassadors to Israel.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter, said President Obama was partly to blame for allowing all of this hysterical criticism of Hagel to grow without comment.
“I find that, unfortunately, a symptom of being not willing to stand up for people you want to surround yourself with,” Mr. Brzezinski said in an interview. “That’s not a good way to protect presidential territory…I would say: Make an announcement that Kerry and [Hagel] are the team that he wants, and let’s see where the chips fall.”
21 thoughts on “Chuck Hagel Faces Relentless Assaults”
No better man for the job. Twice wounded in Nam a soldiers soldier. More guts in his pinky than most people in Congress.
I wonder if by appointing Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defence Obama is trying to break the powerful dominating MIC and pro-Israel lobies keeping Congress in its grip and start a new era in US foreign policy. Is that what he means by real change. "Yes we can"? It would be a blessing for all the oppressed peoples in the world.
What we need is peace, what we need to fight for is peace. U.S is the only country at war with rest of the world…and is been like this for last 60 years, this warmongering attitude needs to be changed, not for the sake of Chuck or others.., but for the sake of peace and mankind.
Israel is a major war material producer. What is amazing is they keep getting the USA into wars and they avoid conflict with stupid statements that they will not like us. Is any aggressive military loved?
We need to at least make sure that Israel provided manpower to wars that they state. No manpower then no war. I actually hope for the no war but that is not going to happen with our military industrial complex.
A brave man who does not follow the orders of the israeli infiltrators and war criminals.
As the American people have surrendered to the "Foreign citizens" of a criminal entity, it will be surprice if this person who loves US, gets the position…
Instead, they will elect a puppet who follows foreign orders, and puts the interest of his country and people in the bin……
Where is the brave American nation?????????
Wonder if the President will have the courage to nominate Hagel. That decision will say oceans about his second term.
This is Obama vs Netanyahu. I want Obama to win. I expect him to punk out. Gutless. I'm disgusted with him. I'd really, really like to see something from him to change that opinion.
He was my pick 4 years ago. I guess that makes me an outcast also.
Zionists know how to scare people. It's a creepy reality.
The Secretary of Defence should look at the interest of the United States and it would appear those who put israel first do not like him. That is enough for me to support the man. We have been nothing but kicked in the nuts by our special friends. In 1967 Israel murdered 34 of our sailors when they attacked the USA liberty. There is no reason why we provide military equipment to a nation like Israel which is too armed already. Why would anyone support 104 f35 jet fighters at $110,000,000 each. In 1973 Isrel lost 100 jets in the first day of the only war that was not started by a sneak attack by Israel.
Give Peace a chance and stop funding orverly armed military who actually never fights anyone.
I would be more open to funding the Israel military if they actually did some fighting.
It is amazing putting the interest of the USA first is wrong according to the dual citizens. I happen to believe it best if the dual citizens move to Israel.
Now we will see who is really running Washington, Israel or the USA. My bet is Israel! You would think the secretary of defence was created only for Israel.
The gay haters are playing the gay card. Don't tell me the people bringing up Hagel's supposed anti-gay comments are doing it because they're equal rights advocates.
Hagel is a voice in the wilderness.
So, Obama is accountable to the press or the to the American public? It is high time that a system is set to truly measure public sentiment, not the zionist pundits and talking heads.
There could never be clearer proof of a Zionist coup taking control of this country than Israel having the power to decide who serves as US Secretary of Defense.
i am surprised obama is even floating him…. considering obama continued neocon policy faithfully. but maybe he wants to shift the US towards sanity? maybe obama is biting back after the lobby and even bibi backed romney? i find it hard to believe, but if this goes through, it will be the best christmas present the troops, and all of america…. could ever have hoped for.
it would also be good for israelis in the long run. israelis could have peace, and the israel lobby in the US largely works with the MIC and fanatics, and simply peddles power, enabling israeli self-destruction.
that war on iran they keep lobbying for would be the death knell for the US and by extension, israel.
it is good to see that JStreet and a number of israel-centric voices are supporting hagel! http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/center-neocons-nomi…
this needs to go through, and is the best nominee for all civilians…. the world over. and that is not hyperbole.
It would be helpful to publish the campaign contributions received by all of the legislators who will vote on Hagel's confirmation, including Ayotte and Rubio, to help determine the extent and level of influence that AIPAC and the other Israeli Lobby groups may have, and then hold those Senators' feet to the fire. This is an issue of protecting the national interest, not of protecting the interests of a foreign "ally" – e.g., by buying legislators' votes with campaign contributions, or coercing or intimidating the legislator.
Expose the process and disseminate the results.
Israeli Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte on Thursday said Senate Armed Services Committee, I plan to vigorously question him on his prior statements, and [his positions on Israel and Iran],
Any government employee that puts the interests of Israel ahead of his own country should be named an Israeli employee and should be shipped to Israel .
Hagel is the very best the Republicans have but he does have some questionable dealings in his past.
It does surprise me that there is not one qualified Democrat?
Comments are closed.