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February 22, 2013 10:37 am

Senators Ask Obama to Withdraw Hagel Nomination

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Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense.

Fourteen U.S. senators asked President Barack Obama to withdraw his nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel, who continues to come under fire for his record on Israel and other areas of foreign policy, for Secretary of Defense.

In a letter dated Feb. 21, the senators—all Republican—said Hagel in his confirmation hearing “displayed a seeming ambivalence about whether containment or prevention is the best approach [to Iran’s nuclear program], 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,” the senators said. “If Senator Hagel becomes Secretary of Defense, the military option will have near zero credibility.”

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The senators also questioned the Hagel nomination based on its lack of near-unanimous support.

“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,” they said. “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.”

The letter’s signatories were as follows: Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), David Vitter (R-LA), Edward Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Coats (R-IN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Risch (R-ID), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Tim Scott (R-SC).

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  • Jeremy

    All Republicans to block a member of their own party because of his position on Iran when it was republicans who for years blocked sanctions on Iran while people like Mitt Romney invested in Iran. I don’t know how much I trust the intentions of people who would endorse someone who invested in Iran or the party that blocked sanctions on Iran. Hagel isn’t my first choice here but I also have a hard time taking the republicans at face value here. Truth is when it comes to fabricating controversy and being divisive in support for Israel and US-Israel relations is the republican equivalent of pretending they care. They don’t like Jews anymore then they like any minority group, all you get is lip service and a disregard for the interests of others over their own.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    It is a wonder why many more senators from both sides of the aisle do not call for the withdrawal of Mr. Hagel’s nomination. After these weeks of revelations and a still-born vetting process, it would seem only understandable that the Senate show solidarity in requesting that President Obama propose another more competent candidate for secretary of defense. Will Mr. Hagel be selected because of a good-will vote on behalf of a duly elected senate making such a remarkably indecisive, indolent, inept, intolerant man the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America; or will pellucid thinking and perspicuous judgment demonstrate that the United States Senate is an assembly of august, respectable, dignified, well-meaning statesmen and stateswomen whose impeccable probity is reflected in their resolve to nominate the very best candidate for Secretary of Defense of the United States of America? Ladies and gentlemen, stand up and be counted before the entire world!

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