Hagel Is Under Scrutiny Today
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) is under scrutiny today, and for good reason.
President Obama nominated Hagel to be our country’s next Secretary of Defense and today he is responding to his critics during a confirmation hearing. A number of GOP senators, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) prominent among them, are eager to “erode support” for this nomination.
A source close to Hagel said “once people are able to hear him lay out his worldview in the open, I think it will really re-frame the way that the conversation has gone.” He’s confident that his record will speak for itself – in his favor.
Conversely, “Republicans are just as hungry for the clash,” and again, for good reason.
But this isn’t just about butting heads, adrenalin rushing, and having a contentious debate. It’s about the future security of our country. It’s about how we as a nation will deal with the problems we face in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. It’s about our relationship with Israel. So, yes, we are all ears with regard to Hagel’s worldview.
To be clear, we’ve already had an eyeful.
The Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes recalls the “lovefest” that was Secretary of State-designate John Kerry’s hearing last week. He calls on Senators to take today’s hearing seriously, as there is issues of tremendous significance that need to be discussed and debated.
Brookes lays out several questions that should be asked of Hagel and suggests that there are legitimate reasons for concern. With regard to the defense budget, he states:
Some believe Hagel is being sent to the Pentagon with a cleaver to hack away at an already-shrinking defense budget; his past comments on Pentagon spending makes this concern credible.
Additionally, Hagel’s position on nukes is no less disconcerting:
The prez sees himself as a modern-day proliferation Pied Piper, believing he can lead the likes of Russia, North Korea and, eventually, Iran down the road to total nuclear disarmament or “Nuclear Zero.”
Hagel is reportedly in sync with Obama on this issue. Considering the world today, does the prospective secretary really believe further reductions, including possible unilateral U.S. disarmament, are wise?
Again, the way Hagel answers the questions posed to him will indicate the kind of Defense Secretary he will be…assuming he is in fact confirmed. His answers may not be satisfactory and may not convince the senators that he would be the best individual for the job. Indeed, “the concern… is that Hagel – like Kerry – will push U.S. foreign and defense policy violently left, more in line with Obama’s real sentiments.”