The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has applauded the 15 senators who wrote today to President Barack Obama, urging him to withdraw his nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel for the post of Defense Secretary, and has joined them in urging President Obama to do so.
In a letter to President Obama, Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Graham (R-SC), Wicker (R-MS), Vitter (R-LA), Cruz (R-TX), Lee (R-UT), Toomey (R-PA), Rubio (R-FL), Coats (R-IN), R. Johnson (R-WI), Risch (R-ID), Barrasso (R-WY), Coburn (R-OK) and Scott (R-SC) wrote:
“It would be unprecedented for a Secretary of Defense to take office without the broad base of bipartisan support and confidence needed to serve effectively in this critical position. Over the last half-century, no Secretary of Defense has been confirmed and taken office with more than three Senators voting against him. Further, in the history of this position, none has ever been confirmed with more than 11 opposing votes. The occupant of this critical office should be someone whose candidacy is neither controversial nor divisive …
“Senator Hagel’s performance at his confirmation hearing was deeply concerning, leading to serious doubts about his basic competence to meet the substantial demands of the office. While Senator Hagel’s erratic record and myriad conversions on key national security issues are troubling enough, his statements regarding Iran were disconcerting. More than once during the hearing, he proclaimed the legitimacy of the current regime in Tehran, which has violently repressed its own citizens, rigged recent elections, provided material support for terrorism, and denied the Holocaust.
“Regarding U.S. policy on Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Senator Hagel displayed a seeming ambivalence about whether containment or prevention is the best approach, which gives us great concern. Any sound strategy on Iran must be underpinned by the highly credible threat of U.S. military force, and there is broad bipartisan agreement on that point. If Senator Hagel becomes Secretary of Defense, the military option will have near zero credibility. This sends a dangerous message to the regime in Tehran, as it seeks to obtain the means necessary to harm both the United States and Israel.
“We have concluded that Senator Hagel is not the right candidate to hold the office of Secretary of Defense, and we respectfully request that you withdraw his nomination” (Letter to President Obama on Hagel Nomination, February 21, 2013).