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