President's pick ill-equipped?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Chad Groening (

A national defense analyst and Pentagon advisor agrees with a number of GOP senators who don't think former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel (R) is qualified to be secretary of defense.

Hagel, ChuckAfter several weeks of speculation, President Obama has officially nominated Hagel to replace Leon Panetta, who wants to return to private life during Obama's second term. In choosing Hagel, the president is reportedly signaling he is ready for a contentious confirmation fight, likely dominated by questions about Hagel's stance on Israel and Iran. (Hagel to face rough going in Senate)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has joined other Senate Republicans -- including Roger Wicker of Mississippi and newly seated Ted Cruz from Texas -- in criticizing Hagel, mostly for his virulently anti-Israel and pro-Iranian foreign policy positions. Graham told CNN over the weekend that Hagel is a controversial choice, as his thinking on most issues of foreign policy is out of the mainstream. He also questions Hagel's management experience.

Maginnis, BobLt. Col. Bob Maginnis (USA-Ret.), now senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council (FRC), says Hagel does not have the experience needed to run a vast and complex operation like the U.S. Department of Defense.

"You have a budget of $660 billion a year. It's a place that should be run by people who have spent their entire life learning these processes, and unfortunately, Mr. Hagel hasn't spent much more than two years in the Army -- 45 years ago," Maginnis points out. "That does not qualify him to run the most complex armed forces in the world today."

And the FRC senior fellow suspects Hagel will be totally in line with the president on foreign policy.

"He even changed his position on use of forces against Iran to align himself with the president," Maginnis notes. "So the guy's an opportunist, evidently -- willing to change his opinions in order to get the position that he wants."

And though some of Hagel's former Senate colleagues assert that he will face tough questions during his confirmation hearing, a Christian law firm has launched a national petition campaign aimed at derailing him from taking the position.

Sekulow, Jordan (ACLJ)Citing Hagel's refusal to sign a letter supporting Israel, but going out of his way to back Israel's enemies, Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) submits the Republican lawmaker is one of the most anti-Israel politicians in history.

"He voted against sanctions on Iran. He voted against labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terror organization. He encouraged the EU not to vote and adopt Hezbollah as a terrorist organization," the attorney lists. "He encourages direct dialogue with Hamas, direct dialogue with Hezbollah, direct dialogue with Iran without any consequences for them, like sanctions. This is the wrong person to be secretary of defense."

And Sekulow asserts that Republicans are not the only ones concerned about this nomination. "There are plenty of Senate Democrats who may be very liberal but have a strong background in supporting Israel and their constituencies as well," he points out.

The ACLJ has created an online petition for people to send their senators, encouraging them to vote against Hagel.

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