When 140 Characters Isn't Enough
Defense: The president's selection as defense secretary has called for direct negotiations with the mortal enemies of our closest ally in the Middle East and said the administration's gutting of defense hasn't gone far enough.
If personnel is policy, President Obama's selection of former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Leon Panetta's replacement as defense secretary should put the lie to the administration's already tarnished claim to be a strong supporter of Israel.
"Not only has he said you should directly negotiate with Iran, sanctions won't work, that Israel must negotiate with Hamas, an organization, terrorist group, that lobs thousands of rockets into Israel, he also was one of 12 senators who refused to sign a letter to the European Union trying to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on CNN, adding that Hagel would be "the most antagonistic defense secretary towards the state of Israel in our nation's history."
In a 2006 interview with author and former State Department official Aaron David Miller, in which he spoke about the power of the Israeli lobby in the U.S. capital, Hagel said that "the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people" on Capitol Hill, adding, "I'm not an Israeli senator, I'm a United States senator."
Hagel has criticized discussion of a military strike by either the U.S. or Israel against Iran. He also has backed efforts to bring Iran to the table for talks on future peace in Afghanistan.
"It's a signal you're sending to Iran at the worst possible time and to our allies," Graham said.
Supporters note that Hagel is being nominated for secretary of defense, not state. But he will have the ear of the president, and it's another step in the wrong direction to have a defense secretary with such a jaundiced position on the Middle East and the threats to Israel.
On defense cuts, Hagel made news in 2011 when he told the Financial Times, shortly following a trim of $487 billion from the Pentagon budget, that he wanted to see the department pared down even further.
Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/010713-639633-chuck-hagel-...