Chuck Hagel's conformation, which seemed to be a sure thing a few days ago is in limbo - at least for now.
The Democrats, led by majority Leader Harry Reid attempted to shove his confirmation through by were three votes shy of the sixty votes needed to override Senator Lindsay Graham's hold. Essentially, this is now a filibuster situation.
Senator Reid had the gall to accuse Republicans of disloyalty. Reis qangrily made a huge point about Leon Panetta was leaving his post at noon that day, saying the country would be without a defense secretary.
“In less than two hours, our country will be without a secretary of defense at a time when we have a war going on in Afghanistan, there are about 70,000 troops there, we have a nuclear weapon that was detonated in North Korea a few days ago,” Mr. Reid said.
Yes, Senator Harry Reid..Senator 'The war is lost', the man who did his best to sabotage the surge strategy. This was the senator who hearted MoveOn, the man who petulantly blocked an appropriation bill that included a pay raise and badly needed supplies for our military because he was angry after he introduced a bill to cut all funding for the Iraq War while our troops were under fire and even some of his fellow Democrats shied away from voting for it.
Would someone like Senator Reid even remotely understand what loyalty to country means?
And for that matter, as usual he lied. As the White House confirmed, SecDef Leon Panetta had already agreed to stay at his post until a successor was confirmed.
What tripped Hagel up was not his obvious unfitness for the position, but his refusal to answer senate questions about his financial dealings and the Obama White House's continuing stonewall of Republican efforts to find the truth about the Benghazi disaster. This deviousness even convinced Senator John McCain to vote against cloture.
Today, some other information surfaced about Hagel that ought to preclude his becoming Secretary of Defense to any sensible person.
As a product of his public fondness for Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran, Hagel's made a few dollars over the years speaking to rabidly anti-Israel, pro-Arab groups such as the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and anti-semite James Zogby’s Arab American Institute.
Hagel failed to disclose these speeches to the senate.That alone ought to deep six him.
The one to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee must have really been something, because they're outright refusing to release the tape of Hagel's remarks.
But unfortunately for Hagel, a partial account of his speech to Zogby's Arab American Institute has surfaced, from a journalist and Hagel supporter who was there:
Hagel said the U.S. Department of State was an adjunct of the Israeli foreign minister’s office, according to a contemporaneous report of the event.
Republican political consultant and Hagel supporter George Ajjan wrote about the March 2, 2007, speech on his website the following day, writing a description “point by point through some of the more important elements of his speech.”
The State Department has become adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office…Reached by phone, Ajjan confirmed his 2007 account of the event, saying he was “taking notes as [Hagel] was speaking.”
Wow. A very bold statement by Hagel bound to further raise the ire of the “Jewish Lobby” (yawn…), but it does express his strong belief in a comprehensive solution to problems in the Middle East. Hagel mentioned this theme several times – comprehensive, he said, in the sense that all tools should be used to achieve American foreign policy objectives (diplomatic, political, economic, and military), but also comprehensive in the James Baker sense of addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict holistically as both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have proved too lazy and too incompetent to do.
“If I wrote it, then that’s what happened at the time,” Ajjan told the Free Beacon.
He added that the event, which was cosponsored by the Rutgers University Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the American Iranian Council, was closed to the press.
“When [Hagel] said the State Department was becoming an adjunct of the Israeli ministry, I think that was during the Q&A,” said Ajjan. “Even in the blog, I was surprised that he said that. It was a very bold statement.”
Rutgers is a hotbed of vociferous anti-Israel activity, and its Middle East Studies Depart has enjoyed significant funding from the Saudis and others who, shall we say, are not exactly friendly to Israel. Hagel was obviously in his element and felt he could open up.
Ajjan, by the way, is vehemently anti Israel, going back a long way.
No wonder Hagel didn't disclose this.
The Senate should insist that Hagel disclose full information about these and any other speeches he made, as well as the financial disclosures demanded by the senate.
I have to wonder at the Democrats still backing Hagel. His views on Iran directly contradict what President Obama has said publicly. What message do they think his appointment would send to the Ayatollahs? And what kind of message would it send to Israel?
And that's particularly true of Democrats like Chuck Schumer, whom claim to be pro-Israel. It's time they stood up and sent this remarkably unqualified and unfit candidate back to his career shilling for Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas and performing for the other demented purveyors of the myth of the 'Jewish Lobby'.