By Christopher Holton
President Obama has selected one of the worst possible candidates imaginable to become Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel has a history of being weak on Jihad and terrorism, the greatest threat to American lives and national security today.
Hagel’s nomination should become a “teaching moment.” Just because someone served honorably in the uniform of the United States military or has an “R” instead of a “D” after his name, does not automatically mean that the person is strong on national security policy.
Chuck Hagel is as bad on the threat of Jihadist terrorism as anyone in America. Not only has he been on the wrong side of votes on the issue, but his votes demonstrate a lack of commitment on the issue, as well a tendency to enable Jihad:
• Wrong on Iraq
Initially, then-Senator Hagel voted in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to overthrow Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. But when the insurgency did not go so well, Hagel flip-flopped and called for a withdrawal of US troops in just 120 days back in 2007.
Had such a policy been implemented, Al Qaeda and other Jihadist elements would have emerged victorious in Iraq and the US would have been seen as clearly losing Iraq to Al Qaeda. This would have energized Al Qaeda and given it the biggest recruiting boost since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States homeland. This would have essentially allowed the global jihad to morph at an accelerated rate.
Then, when the US announced the surge counteroffensive in Iraq, Senator Hagel said it would be “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out.”
Hagel is clearly no military strategist. The surge broke the back of the insurgency, drastically reduced the violence in Iraq and allowed the US to draw down its force levels in a secure manner.
To be sure, Iraq is no utopia today, but violence levels there are no where near what they were during the insurgency and, most importantly, Al Qaeda was denied victory in Iraq due to the surge.
Wrong on Hezbollah
In 2006 Hagel was one of a just 11 senators who refused to sign a letter urging the European Union to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Hezbollah not only killed 241 Marines, soldiers and sailors in Beirut, Lebanon on 23 October 1983, they also kidnapped and murdered US Marine Colonel William Higgins in 1988 when he was on UN Peacekeeping duty. More recently, Hezbollah was active in fighting US GIs in Iraq and Hezbollah members captured, tortured and killed US GIs in Iraq.
Wrong on Iran
Chuck Hagel has a shamefully weak record on Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of Jihadist terrorism and a serial proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.
His weakness on Iran goes way back to August of 2001 when he was one of just two US Senators to vote against renewal of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act was set up to punish entities for investing in Iranian or Libyan petroleum industries, aiming to prevent Tehran or Tripoli from gaining petroleum profits that could be used to develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction or to finance terrorism.
In September 2007, Hagel voted against designating the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity. 76 Senators voted for the bill in an overwhelming bipartisan vote.
In July 2008, Hagel voted in the Senate Banking Committee against legislation imposing sanctions on countries conducting certain business with Iran. The legislation passed 19-2.
In October 2008 Hagel single-handedly killed Senator Gordon Smith’s (R-Oregon) S.970 Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, a bill that had 71 co-sponsors, 36 Republican and 35 Democrat. This act would have strengthened the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (now referred to simply as the Iran Sanctions Act).
Chuck Hagel: Wrong for America
Leftist pundits are creating a straw man argument by promoting the meme that only the “Jewish lobby” is opposed to Hagel because of his record of not supporting Israel.
This dishonest tactic is merely meant as a smokescreen to mask Hagel’s shamefully weak, longstanding record on Jihad and terrorism primarily directed against the United States and its citizens.
Call and write your Senator and tell him/her to oppose the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. America cannot afford to have someone as weak on Jihadist terrorism as Chuck Hagel.