The Case against Chuck Hagel; No Time for Mediocrity at the Pentagon

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 26, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Case against Chuck Hagel; No Time for Mediocrity at the Pentagon


Byline: Frank J. Gaffney Jr., SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

This is no time for America to have a mediocre secretary of defense. Under present circumstances - let alone foreseeable ones - it would be the height of folly to give the job to someone even more deficient: Chuck Hagel.

For purposes of calibration, consider just the past two weeks' news: China is threatening war with Japan and massively hacking government and private-sector computers across America. The North Koreans tested a nuclear weapon and are promising to destroy their neighbors to the south if South Korea conducts scheduled military exercises with the United States.

Meanwhile, Russia's nuclear-armed bombers circled U.S. bases on Guam as its foreign minister refused to take phone calls from Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a man who owes his position and probably his life to American protection, has barred our special operations forces from operating in a hotly contested province in Afghanistan.

Welcome to a post-American and increasingly volatile world. It is one where a steady hand at the helm of the Pentagon is absolutely necessary - arguably more so than at any time in decades.

Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, simply does not measure up. Consider just three of the many reasons why his nomination must be rejected by the Senate:

? Unilateral disarmament: Mr. Hagel has called the Pentagon budget bloated and said it needs to be pared. He made such comments even after Congress had set in motion the formula for cuts that incumbent Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have described using terms such as catastrophic.

Then, last May, Mr. Hagel co-authored a report recommending U.S. denuclearization, including unilateral elimination of one or two legs of our strategic triad and de-alerting those that remain. In one of the most dramatic - and implausible - confirmation conversions, Mr. Hagel has disavowed such sentiments, insisting that they were just suggestions and that he doesn't actually subscribe to them.

? Appeasing Iran: Specialists on Iran, including the Center for Security Policy's Clare Lopez and the Foundation for Democracy in Iran's Kenneth Timmerman, have documented Mr. Hagel's ties to the Iranian regime via its lobbyists and fellow travelers here in the United States. These include helping, through his membership on the board of directors of the far-left Ploughshares Fund, the underwriting of the National Iranian American Council. The organization's director, Trita Parsi, was determined by a federal judge to be an Iranian agent. Mr. Hagel also has helped the Iran Project, another group that opposes military action to prevent the mullahs from getting the bomb. This record makes a mockery of Mr. Hagel's confirmation-driven professions of a commitment to prevention of such an outcome.

? Undermining Israel: Mr. Hagel not only has shown considerable sympathy over the years for Iran, but has exhibited a hostility for Israel and its Jewish supporters that smacks of anti-Semitism. …

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