The Chuck Hagel Defense Team™ is reporting for duty. Now that Hagel is considered the leading candidate to be the new Secretary of Defense, Hagel’s former Senate aides have gone on the attack to protect their former boss from criticism of his views on Israel and the Middle East.
They have released a statement that maintains Hagel is “a strong supporter of Israel,” claiming Hagel:
had an unbroken record of substantive support for Israel–support that strengthened military cooperation and enhanced Israeli security in a troubled region. He voted time and time again to provide billions of dollars of U.S. military and security assistance for Israel… Chuck Hagel is being misrepresented as anti-Israel and “soft” on Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah… These accusations misrepresent Sen. Hagel’s positions on national security, Israel and the Middle East.
As previously reported, Hagel’s defenders are standing on weak ground; not only is his coddling of Iran’s genocidal mullahs a monumental threat to Israel, but he also has failed to acknowledge the danger posed by Israel’s deadly foes:
He is in favor of leaving Iran to its own devices; hoping that sanctions will stop the Iranian fanatical mullahs from pursuing nuclear weaponry. He has suggested giving the Iranians “a couple of face-saving ways out of this thing.” Hagel believes internal changes in Iran should be trusted to take care of the problem: “Let that play out… We’ve got some time. You cannot push the Iranians into a corner where they can’t get out… You’ve got to break into some creative thinking here.”
Hagel hopes sanctions will work? He is the biggest of hypocrites; in 2001, when the Senate voted for renewing the Iran Libya Sanctions Act 96-2, Hagel was one of the two senators voting nay. In 2002, when the Senate voted 88-10 to ban the import of Iraqi oil until Iraq stopped payments to the families of Palestinian Arab suicide bombers, Mr. Hagel was one of the ten voting nay.
On Israel, Hagel is frightening, too. He was one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization, in 2000 he was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel, and in December 2005, Hagel was one of only 27 Senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush to pressure the Palestinian Authority to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.