Chuck Hagel’s confirmation-day conversion

Chuck Hagel is pictured. | AP Photo

From, By SEN. TED CRUZ, 2/1/13 – Chuck Hagel is a decorated Vietnam veteran with an honorable history fighting  for his country, and I commend his personal valor and sacrifice.

But the man who testified before Congress Thursday to become our nation’s  next secretary of Defense sounded very different from the one who, for the past  two decades, has advocated that the U.S. adopt a weakened posture on the world  stage.

As a two-term senator and active participant in foreign policy  discussions, Hagel repeatedly declined to support measures to crack down on  state sponsors of terrorism, belittled the notion of using any means to prevent  a nuclear Iran, advised U.S. leaders to engage in direct negotiations with rogue  nations and hostile terrorist groups, and expressed remarkable antagonism  towards the longstanding U.S. alliance with Israel. Since Hagel has been  nominated to become Defense secretary, however, he’s disavowed each one of these  positions.

It all amounts to quite the confirmation day conversion.

Some of my Senate colleagues may be satisfied that the pledges he has made in  recent days are more meaningful than his policy record compiled over the past  fifteen years. I am not.

Of course, anyone can change their mind on one particular issue; reasonable  people do so all the time. However, when a nominee tries to disavow his past  positions on virtually every foreign policy issue, all at the same time, it  raises serious questions.

There is a reason the Washington Post described Hagel’s views as placing him “near the fringe of the Senate.”

On Iran, Hagel voted against economic sanctions in 2001, 2007, and 2008.  Today, he says he supports sanctions.

In 2007, Hagel voted against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard — which was then actively providing explosively formed projectiles to kill U.S.  servicemen in Iraq — as a terrorist group. Today, he agrees that they are  terrorists.

In 2006, he said, “a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not  a viable, feasible, responsible option.” Likewise, in 2010, Hagel told the  Atlantic Council that he was “not so sure it is necessary to continue to say all  options are on the table” regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Today, he says all  options (including military force) should be on the table.

On Hamas, in 2005, he declined to join a bi-partisan group of 70 senators  (including Senators Clinton and Kerry) who signed a letter to President Bush  urging that the Palestinians demand that Hamas reject terrorism before  participating in the democratic process. Today, he says Hamas must renounce  terrorism.

On Hezbollah, in 2006, he declined to join a bi-partisan group of 88 senators  (including Senators Biden, Clinton, Kerry, and Obama) urging the European Union  to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Today, he says Hezbollah is, in  fact, a terrorist organization.

And on Israel, no senator in recent times has demonstrated as  much consistent antagonism as has Hagel. In 1998, he said that the U.S. had “tilted too far towards Israel in the Middle East peace process.”

In 2000, he declined to join a bi-partisan group of 96 senators (including  Senators Biden and Kerry) urging President Clinton to express “American  solidarity with Israel at this crucial moment, to condemn the Palestinian  campaign of violence.”

In 2006, on the floor of the Senate, he accused Israel of carrying out a “sickening slaughter” in Lebanon (and charged Lebanon with doing the same).

Also in 2006 he said “the Jewish Lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” and he boasted about his ability to resist their views.

Today, he says he will strongly support Israel.

And on America’s role in the world, in 2009 he explicitly agreed with a  questioner on Al Jazeera that the “reality” is that the U.S. is “the world’s  bully”—a remarkable statement for a prospective Defense secretary to make on a  foreign network broadcasting propaganda to nations that have deep hostility to  the United States.

Today, he says America is not a “bully.”

It all begs the question, how could someone who has been so engaged in major  foreign policy debates so radically reverse his views on so many important  matters?

Or, today, is he just telling senators what they want to hear?

In my view, peace through strength has always been the wisest course for our  nation. And the principal job of the Defense secretary is to help provide a  credible threat to deter those who would seek to harm U.S. national  security.

Hagel’s nomination has been publicly celebrated by the Iranian government — surely an occurrence without precedent for a nominee for secretary of Defense.  And Iran’s belief that Hagel will not stand against their acquiring nuclear  weapons capacity makes it more likely they will charge ahead, which makes it  more likely the United States will be drawn into military combat.

I hope that senators in both parties will examine his record closely; as for  me, this is a nomination I cannot support.

Sen. Ted Cruz is a Republican from Texas.

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One response

  1. “Ted Cruz’ Post-Election-Day Conversion”.

    As I recall, Ted Cruz campaigned as the Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate. The Tea Party was originally started as an anti-government, anti-taxes, grass-roots organization. Yet, Cruz has apparently transformed himself into just another globe-trotting, empire-peddling RINO – RepubliCON in name only. Cruz is proof-positive that the Tea Party has been wholly and completely usurped by the RepubliCONs.

    Cruz gives disingenuous lip service to Hagel’s military service in a veiled preface to the character assassination he is preparing to give in the remainder of his chop piece on Hagel. In fact, Hagel’s military service in Vietnam was less-than-honorable as accurately reflected by author Nick Turse in this eye-opening article…

    As Turse explains, Chuck Hagel’s own brother, Tom Hagel, revealed the Secretary of Defense nominee’s presence at the scene of war crimes in Vietnam…such as the .50-caliber machine-gunning of a children’s orphanage in retaliation for an earlier and unrelated enemy attack. No one in the two brothers’ Army unit even went to check for dead and/or wounded. The commander of their unit, the 9th Infantry Division, was known as “the Butcher of the Delta”. Nice.

    Google the difference in 5.56 mm “assault rifle” ammo compared to .50 caliber machine gun ammo…literally “David vs Goliath”. .50 caliber slugs go through wall after wall after wall after wall.

    At least the Sandy Hook massacre wasn’t perpetrated by an active member of the U.S. Military. If Ryan Lanza had lived, we could have nominated him for SecDef and Cruz could have given him a big endorsement. Those who reel at such comparisons are usually the same ones who wrap themselves tightly in the Amerikan flag, practice Amerikan nationalism, and embrace Amerikan exceptionalism that places a very high value on the lives of Amerikan children while labelling the lives of scores of foreign children killed by the the U.S. Military, CIA paramilitary forces, and U.S. contractors as simple “collateral damage”. In their world, God only loves little Amerikan children.

    But, give Chuck Hagel some credit. He apparently reconsidered his unquestioning support for military-intel-complex gunboat diplomacy to continue paving the way for Wall Street to expand into global markets under the red herrings of “anti-communism”, “human rights”, and the more recent and palatable “anti-terrorism” cover stories made up for the naive Amerikan public.

    But, Ted Cruz can’t tolerate a human rights change of heart…a defense secretary who might question the ulterior motives of owned U.S. or Israeli politicians…not from the proposed head of the most powerful military force in the world…a military that spends more money than the next 19 countries in the world combined as regards annual total military spending.

    When Cruz recklessly labels Chuck Hagel as having “advocated that the U.S. adopt a weakened posture on the world stage”, that is the Washington, D.C. double-speak of a relentless “war hawk”…a politician who will continue higher and higher taxes for U.S. military adventurism in the face of an ever-weakening U.S. economy and the slow-motion collapse of the world reserve currency, the doomed U.S. dollar.

    Cruz also seeks to pawn off the same Wall-Street-owned U.S. Government on the rest of the world that he apparently falsely claimed to be going to Washington to protect the Amerikan people from.

    Chuck Hagel was right to question Iraq…to question the motives of the Israeli Zionists who own our banks, our media, and our government…and to tell the truth that Iran is a threat to no one in the world.

    Ted Cruz said what he needed to say to get elected. Now, he has morphed into a career CONgress critter and knows he won’t get re-elected without the endorsement of the Jewish mafia front known as AIPAC (American-Israeli Political Action Committee).

    Cruz’ domestic policy mantra?

    “Let the good times roll! Keep those funny-money printing presses running in high gear! The party is still going! Eat, drink and be merry!”

    Cruz’ foreign policy mantra? (Has he seen a war he doesn’t like?)

    “If you don’t do what we tell you to do, we’ll bring you Democracy too!”

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