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More Congressmen Register Hesitation About Hagel

January 11th 2013

Chuck Hagel

Responding to the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Defense, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, voiced serious reservations on Thursday regarding Hagel's fitness to serve.

"As a member of Congress and the House Armed Services Committee, I join many of my Congressional colleagues in holding the most serious of reservations to the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to lead our nation's Department of Defense," said the six-term congressman.

"The Department of Defense (DoD) is facing more challenges today than I have seen in my lifetime. If sequestration goes into effect, we are facing the smallest Army since 1950 and the smallest Navy since 1915. While I believe that every single government agency has room to cut wasteful spending, I agree with current DoD Secretary Panetta that an across the board cut to defense spending will prove 'devastating,'" Franks stated.

Franks pointed out that former-Senator Chuck Hagel, when asked about sequestration, refused to concur with Secretary Panetta's assessment and, instead, agreed that the DoD needs to be 'pared down.'" Rep. Franks claims that possibly just as alarming as Senator Hagel's congruency to the Obama sequestration plan, is his stance on our closest and most strategic friend and ally, Israel. It's a matter of public record that Senator Hagel's has been -- and continues to be -- soft on Iran while being hard on Israel. Franks stated that Hagel's record mirrors that of the Obama administration, and as such "should make all Americans apprehensive of his ability to serve as Defense Secretary."

As evidence, Franks points to Senator Hagel's refusal to cosponsor the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act and that he was one of only two United States Senators to vote against the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act.

Equally disturbing, according to Congressman Franks, Hagel also refused to sign many pro-Israel letters and is on record agreeing that the President of the United States should open direct talks with the terrorist group, Hamas, in spite of U.S. policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

In fact, Hagel's Republican and Democratic critics have pointed to his hostile remarks and attitudes toward both Israel and relations with Jewish organizations during his tenure as a senator in his home state of Nebraska.

"The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people," Hagel said in 2006, adding that "I've always argued against some of the dumb things they do, because I don't think it's in the interest of Israel," according to the Times of Israel.

"The next Secretary of Defense must show a commitment to strengthening our military force and defense capabilities. The Obama Administration's ongoing practice of betraying our friends and emboldening our enemies has the most profound of implications to our national security and to human freedom in the world. If confirmed, I deeply hope Senator Hagel will reassess and reject these dangerous policies," said Congressman Franks.

Trent Franks's lengthy record of achievement includes being a member of the Judiciary Committee, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and a member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law. He is also a member of the Armed Services Committee, where he serves on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.

Jim Kouri writes for The Examiner, from where this article is adapted. He is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.

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