Monday, January 7, 2013

Sen. Tim Kaine’s statement on Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense

Richmond, VA – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) released the following statement on President Obama’s nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to serve as the next United States Secretary of Defense.

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I look forward to considering President Obama’s nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.  Hagel is a decorated war hero with a strong record of bipartisanship on foreign policy and defense issues. I will do all I can to ensure the confirmation hearing addresses important questions regarding the future of our military, the current budgetary challenges facing the country and other important security issues such as U.S. policy towards Iran.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: National, Politics


Comments (2)


January 10th, 2013 at 2:12 PM    

I hope Senator Kaine will vote no.
Although I am grateful for his service in Vietnam, I believe he is such a terrible choice. that even a filibuster is better than his confirmation.

Hagel has no natural constituency, except perhaps for those who want a foreign and defense policy that is tougher on Israel and softer on Iran.

The very serious harm a Hagel confirmation would have on any chance of Iran settling peacefully in negotiations is certainly reason enough to vote no.

Israel would be clear that Obama views the Jewish state with hostility. Iran would be clear that it has nothing serious to fear from the Obama administration.

Nothing else can explain this odd nomination. Team Obama tried to couch it as a bipartisan act, inasmuch as Hagel was a Republican Senator. But key Republican Senators have made it clear that they don’t want Hagel at the Pentagon. Key Democrats have also failed to express enthusiasm over that prospect. If there’s a bipartisan consensus around Hagel, it’s that Obama should nominate someone else.

His policies have been anti gay (even now after his late and self serving apology he doesn’t support equal benefits for gay military families.

there are many ways a Secretary of Defense could help gay military families no matter how DOMA is decided and Hagel has not come out in favor of any of these.

Reports to the contrary, LGBT equality is not yet a done deal in the military. There is still the matter of partner benefits. There still remain a handful of regulations that could be revised independent of the Defense of Marriage act that could bring some equity of compensation and benefits to gay and lesbian service members. but remain denied due only to Department of Defense foot-dragging:

Included in the discretionary benefits currently denied are spousal identification cards, and shopping at the PX, the former cited in the Pentagon’s own Working Group study as not requiring DOMA repeal to deliver.

His remarks about the Jewish lobby having too much influence would be seen as bigoted if you substitute any other minority group’s lobby. Try NAACP or La Raza and see how long you would be considered.

With a 11/100 rating from NAACP and admires Strom Thurmond as a great role model. anti Woman (vs choice and contraception)
By contrast, he has a 100% rating from the NRA.

Of course, you could also easily believe that he is not a bigot, just someone very right-wing on minority groups and
as Missouri’s Senator has said doesn’t mind stepping on other people’s toes.

Hagel believes that most of the money spent in Virginia on the nation’s defense is wasted money and should be eliminated.


Hagel has drawn additional heat from insiders who claim he lacks the credentials needed to manage a department as large and essential as the Pentagon.

“Yes, Hagel has crazy positions on several key issues. Yes, Hagel has said things that are borderline anti-Semitism. But above all, he’s not a nice person and he’s bad to his staff,” said a senior Senate aide who has close ties to former Hagel staffers.

“Hagel was known for turning over staff every few weeks—within a year’s time he could have an entirely new office because nobody wanted to work for him,” said the source. “You have to wonder how a man who couldn’t run a Senate office is going to be able to run an entire bureaucracy.”

Others familiar with Hagel’s 12 year tenure in the Senate said he routinely intimidated staff and experienced frequent turnover.

“Chuck Hagel may have been collegial to his Senate colleagues but he was the Cornhusker wears Prada to his staff, some of whom describe their former boss as perhaps the most paranoid and abusive in the Senate, one who would rifle through staffers desks and berate them for imagined disloyalty,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “He might get away with that when it comes to staffers in their 20s, but that sort of personality is going to go over like a ton of bricks at the Pentagon.”

Multiple sources corroborated this view of Hagel.

“As a manager, he was angry, accusatory, petulant,” said one source familiar with his work on Capitol Hill. “He couldn’t keep his staff.”

“I remember him accusing one of his staffers of being ‘f—ing stupid’ to his face,” recalled the source

Sources expressed concern about such behavior should Hagel be nominated for the defense post. With competing military and civilian interests vying for supremacy, the department requires a skilled manager, sources said.

“The Pentagon requires strong civilian control,” a senior aide to a former Secretary of Defense told the Free Beacon. “It’s already swung back in favor of the military over the past five years. A new secretary of defense should push it back in its rightful place, but it’s doubtful Hagel would be that guy.”

“It’s not clear that [Hagel] has the standing, the managerial prowess, or the willingness to gore some oxen,” said the source.

One senior official warned that Hagel is ill informed about many critical foreign policy matters.

“He’s not someone who’s shown a lot of expertise on these issues,” said the source, referencing a recent Washington Post editorial excoriating Hagel’s record. “That [op-ed] was extraordinary.”

“Only in Washington,” the official added, “can someone like [Hagel] be seen as a heavy weight. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

Hagel’s reluctance to chastise Iran also remains a central concern.

As chief of the Pentagon it is expected he would avoid planning for a military intervention should Tehran refuse to end its clandestine nuclear enrichment program.

“The military brass is already reluctant to offer up any military options on Iran even though it’s their job to have something on the books and to leave the options of the commander in chief open,” said the aide. “Hagel will only reinforce these worrisome tendencies.”

“Chances are he’ll view any legitimate effort to talk about military options with Iran as some plot by the ‘Israel Lobby’ to box him in,” the source said.

There is no reason to believe his appointment would change Israeli policies except maybe pushing Israel towards an attack on Iran.

As one Mossad head has said Israel cannot live every day wondering if the Iranians are crazy enough to drop
a nuclear bomb on Israel that day.

But there is a very strong likelihood that it would be a fatal blow to the chances of a negotiated settlement with Iran.

Iran would have to conclude that it doesn’t have to fear finishing it’s nuclear weapons program. In time if it doesn’t start a nuclear war it will end up continuing towards ICBM’s pointing at America.

Other issues like massively cutting the Pentagon’s budget, and how to
withdraw from Afghanistan, could be handeled better
with someone with
more mangerial experience.

Democratic senators, several of whom have already voiced concern, should vote no on someone who’s views on many major issues are opposite of the President’s and who’s language is not compatible with an effective manager, and instead insist he appoint a better person like Michelle Flournoy.

Flournoy closely mirrors the previous stated policies of the President, the Democratic Party, and the American people.


January 11th, 2013 at 8:11 PM    

I hope if he is confirmed that none of his “poor choice of words” affects his duties.

Agree we need someone with managerial experience and the ability to adjust to the new threats and spending cuts. We need the pentagon to work smarter.

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