Former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) is doing what he must to win enough Democrat votes for confirmation–this includes promising abortion for women in the military and changing his stance on the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
For example, in a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.), Hagel promises he “will ensure female service members are given the same reproductive rights as civilian women.”
This means he thinks that he, as Sec. of Defense, will be able to unilaterally make abortion coverage available to servicewomen. But the Sec. of Defense does not make law–Congress does. And the law, as it now stands, “denies coverage of [abortions]…for service women unless their lives are endangered by the pregnancy.”
To be fair, Hagel says he will allow abortion within the current law. How he’ll do that no one knows; he may just be hoodwinking Boxer.
His change of stance on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” looks somewhat desperate. As a Senator, he was firm in his opposition to the repeal but now, with a Cabinet post possible, the repeal was the right thing to do.
It should also be noted that Sen. Boxer is a Jewish Democrat. So Hagel made sure to tell her that he now understands his 2006 statement about how “the ‘Jewish Lobby’ tends to ‘intimidate lawmakers'” could be “misconstrued as anti-Israel.”
He even expressed support for sanctions against Iran and described Hezbollah as a terror group. It should be noted, however, that he refused to sign a letter declaring Hezbollah a terror group in 2007.