Ten Important Reasons to Oppose Chuck Hagel Becoming Defense Secretary
February 13, 2013


Incoherent, contradictory and wrong about major policy issues

Hagel lacks policy grasp. At his Senate confirmation hearings, he was confused and contradictory about containing Iran and had to be informed by Senator Carl Levin that the Obama Administration’s policy is that Iran not obtain nuclear weapons, not that it seeks to contain a nuclear Iran. 

In 2007, he outspokenly opposed President George W. Bush’s surge in Iraq, calling it the “most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.” In fact, the surge prevented a humanitarian and politician catastrophe in Iraq and an Al-Qaeda victory. Though opposed to the surge at the time, President Obama said in his 2009 Cairo speech that “I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.”



Won’t disclose his foreign funding

In an extraordinary move, Hagel is refusing to disclose his financial dealings to the Senate Armed Services Committee. There is reason to believe that Hagel is doing so because of unsavory sources of funding, including a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.’ Hamas is a terrorist group that has murdered U.S. citizens and calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. All Republican members of Senate Armed Services Committee have written to Hagel saying, “Your refusal to respond to this reasonable request suggests either a lack of respect for the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent or that you are for some reason unwilling to allow this financial disclosure to come to light … Until the Committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine wither you should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.”



Opposes any measures to compel Iran to desist seeking a nuclear weapons capacity

In 2001, Hagel was one of only two senators to vote against extending the original Iran-Libya sanctions bill, which was designed to deny both regimes revenues that would assist their weapons of mass destruction programs.

In 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging Bush to highlight Iran’s nuclear program at the G-8 summit.

In 2007, Hagel declined to support the bipartisan Iran Counter Proliferation Act aimed at targeting governments and businesses that assist Iran’s nuclear program.

In 2008, Hagel prevented action on a Senate bill – sponsored by then-Senator Barack Obama – proposing economic sanctions against Iran.

In a speech to a left-wing Jewish group in 2009, Hagel said that he opposed isolating Iran  through diplomacy and sanctions, saying, “How in the world do we think isolating someone is going to bring them around to your way of thinking?”



Wants to legitimize terrorist groups which have killed Americans

In 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to declare Hizballah a terrorist organization.

In 2009, Hagel signed a letter urging President Obama to begin direct negotiations with Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist group committed in its Charter to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. 

In 2009, Hagel said that he wants the Fatah/Palestinian Authority to merge with Hamas. 



Wants to gut the armed forces

At this time of international instability and multifaceted and increasing security threats, Hagel thinks the Defense budget is “bloated.” In his confirmation hearings, he said that defense spending accounts for about 5% of GDP. He had to be informed by Senator Lindsey Graham that it accounts for 4% of GDP, including war funding and that base defense spending is only 3.4% of GDP.




In 1998, as Senator, Hagel opposed the appointment of James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg on the grounds that Hormel is “aggressively gay.” Hagel apologized to Hormel – in December 2012, when his nomination as Defense Secretary was imminent.



Harshly critical one of our closest allies, Israel

In a 1998 speech, at a time when Israel had made dramatic concessions to the Palestinians, Hagel claimed that Palestinian terrorism was the result of Israeli actions – “Desperate men do desperate things when you take hope away. And that’s where the Palestinians are today.”

In 2000, when Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority launched a terror war against Israel after rejecting without counter-offer a plan for Palestinian statehood accepted by Israel, Hagel was one of only four senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel. 

In 2001, Hagel was one of only 11 senators who refused to sign a letter urging President George W. Bush not to meet with Yasser Arafat until Arafat forces ended terrorist violence against Israel.

In 2002, Hagel was one of only 10 senators to oppose banning the the import to America of Iraqi oil until Iraq stopped compensating the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

In 2003, Hagel said that Israel was “keep[ing] Palestinians caged up like animals” (Lincoln Journal Star, January 12, 2003).

In a 2006 Senate speech, Hagel stated that Israel’s military campaign against Hizballah attacks from Lebanon was a “sickening slaughter.”

In a 2009 Al Jazeera interview, Hagel responded to a questioner who asserted among other things that Israel was committing war crimes against the Palestinians. Hagel then responded by saying, “Well, I think you’re exactly right.”



Lack of executive experience

Hagel has never headed a city or state government or corporation. In his 12 years in the Senate, he drafted no legislation or distinguished himself by memorable work on any piece of legislation.



Promotes Anti-American views

In a 2009 Al Jazeera interview, in response to another questioner who asserted that the U.S. was both perceived to be and was in fact “the world’s bully,” Hagel replied, “Well her observation is a good one and it is relevant, yes to her question.” 

In the confirmation hearing, Hagel claimed not to have heard the questioner make this assertion about America and also claimed contradictorily that he had merely agreed there was a perception of the U.S. as a bully but had not endorsed that view, which he had in fact obviously done. 



A bad record on Jews

When Hagel served as the president and CEO of the World USO from 1987 to 1990, he proposed closing the USO in Haifa, a facility run by the UNited Services Organization, a non-profit that provides programs, services and live entertainment to United States troops and their families. Hagel told Jewish leaders lobbying him to keep the post open, “Let the Jews pay for it.”

In 1999, Hagel was the only senator to refuse signing a letter to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, later published in a New York Times advertisement, decrying the rise of anti-Semitism in Russia.

In a 2006 interview, Hagel said that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill, making them do “stupid things,”, suggesting that venal legislators support Israel, not because the American public overwhelmingly does, but because of nefarious Jewish influence. When quizzed on this in the confirmation hearings, Hagel could not name one single example of a “stupid thing” done by his fellow legislators or a single Member of Congress intimidated by it.

Hagel also once called a Jewish Republican activist “Nothing but a f**king tool for AIPAC.”


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