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Alan Reynolds
Alan Reynolds
19 Nov 2012
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President Obama has succeeded in making the fiscal cliff debate about whether or not the Republicans will … Read More.

5 Nov 2012
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2 Nov 2012
Awaiting Answers on Libya

Americans still don't know exactly what happened during the assault Sept. 11 on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi,… Read More.

Hagel Proves Obama Won't Stop Iran


Does it matter that a nominee for secretary of defense doesn't particularly care for American power?

Speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2007, Sen. Chuck Hagel revealed the kind of prejudices regarding American military strength most frequently found in the pages of the Nation magazine or among protesters at Occupy rallies. Distancing himself from Republicans he regarded as too bellicose, Hagel said, "Rather than acting like a nation riddled with the insecurities of a schoolyard bully, we ought to carry ourselves with the confidence that should come from the dignity of our heritage, the experience of our history, and from the strength of our humanity, not from the power of our military."

This is a familiar leftist critique of America, a psuedo-psychological analysis of our foreign policy as a form of pathology. For a certain set of people, the problems in the world are never (fill in the blank): Soviet aggression and expansionism, communist repression and adventurism or Islamic radicalism and terror. No, the problem is always America's neurotic need to throw its weight around, alienating benign foreign powers and creating discord and trouble.

Whereas fair-minded people the world over consider the Islamic Republic of Iran to be a terror-sponsoring gangster regime, Sen. Hagel described the Iranian regime at his confirmation hearing as an "elected and legitimate" government. A friendly Democratic senator later offered him an avenue for retreat, which he grabbed, saying, "What I meant to say — should have said — it's recognizable." What regime isn't "recognizable"?

What solicitous Democrats cannot obscure is that Sen. Hagel has a long record of softness toward Iran. He voted against designating Al Quds a terrorist entity, advised direct negotiations with the mullahs, opposed sanctions, and suggested that a military response to Iran's nuclear program is not a "viable, feasible, responsible option." In a 2007 speech, he praised Iran's cooperation with the U.S. in Afghanistan and noted that our two nations had found "common interests." From these, Hagel continued, "emerged common actions working toward a common purpose."

This is sheer fantasy — disturbing enough in a U.S.

senator but profoundly unsettling in a secretary of defense. Just two months before Hagel sprinkled these rhetorical rosebuds at the mullahs' feet, an Al Quds units had attacked our forces in Karbala, Iraq. We were not at war with Iran (or not consciously). Time magazine reported the ambush: "In the back of two of the vehicles were the four Americans. One of them was alive, though barely. Handcuffed, he had been shot in the back of the head, but he was breathing. The other soldiers were already dead. One had taken bullets in both legs and his right hand, and at some point the kidnappers had torn open his body armor and fired bullets into his chest and torso. Two others were handcuffed together, with one's right hand joined to the other's left. Two shots in the face and neck had killed one. Four bullets in the chest had killed the other."

The Al Quds terrorists had stolen all of the men's ID tags. Before dying, one of them had scrawled his name in the dust of the jeep.

Hagel is not worried about a nuclear Iran. In his 2008 book, he notes blithely, "The genie of nuclear weapons is already out of the bottle no matter what Iran does." In that same year, Hagel proposed that the State Department open an "interests section" in Tehran.

Before the Hagel nomination, we lived with the polite fiction that President Obama was determined to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. The president has reiterated this position consistently since 2007. Mr. Hagel demonstrated confusion about it during his confirmation hearing, mumbling, "We have no position on containment." For clarity, Sen. Carl Levin (another helpful Democrat) corrected Hagel. "We do have a position on containment, and that is, we do not favor containment."

As recently as last September President Obama said, "Make no mistake: A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. ... The United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

But who can take that boilerplate seriously now? The president has nominated a man for defense secretary who warms the heart of the terror regime in Tehran, a man who despises U.S. power, a man who opposed not just military action but even sanctions against Iran. That the president refuses to withdraw this nomination makes nonsense of his repeated pledges to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. If ever a nomination were filibuster worthy, this is it.

To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... We cannot possibly take on all of Islam to mention only one of our enemies, and be successful... Any Gullivar can be tied down by a multitude of threads... Our method of fighting in Afghanistan, fighing an unconventional war in a conventional fashion is simply idiotic... We could have went back ten times for the price of staying once, and accomplished more.... The problem is getting off the dime... Inertia is the great enemy of initiative, but the fear of leaving with work unfinished only means that for lack of intelligence we will be finished when the war can no longer be afforded...Because we stayed, we will never be able to return...
As much as you want to claim liberals are suffering psychological issues, it is the right that is not a little mad, but flipping insane... It is likely that 90% of the billions spent on these wars of choice never leaves the country.... And; there is no realistic objections considered before a rush to war... JFK ramped up Vietnam for political considerations, and out of deference to the dominoe theory... Really??? All those people killed for a theory??? One of our best men, MacArthur, on his death bed warned Kennedy out of Vietnam... No soldier worth spit would give the enemy interior lines, but even then, presidents were the prisoners of ideology.... No soldier worth a stripe would ever travel so far and cart the baggage of war at so steep a price for so little chance of gain... I am not saying the war was a loss... It helped to break the Soviet Union, but what exactly was the gain in that...
Good commanders do not turn in high loses, and some day those loses should be paid for by our government... It is only fair that the republicans should be kept out of the presidency if they are profligate when ever the rich demand a war, and plead poverty every time the poor need help... It is past the time when you can drag this country into war with 51% of the vote, and have the support of the whole people... We know these endless wars are only an excuse to load this people with debt, and keep them down with police powers.... You chicken hawks are not just enemies of humanity, but are the enemies of the Americans whose lives you piss away...
God would be kind to us if the death you wish were your own; but while you encourage war, you will likely live a long time... The urge to attack Iran is encouraged by Israel... Who else besides Israel stands to gain by taking Iran, and what practical chance do we have to hold it if we take it??? It never dawns on the gutless old men who see our youth killed that such an injury to a family and to a nation can never be paid for with promises... It is true that you can get many young men deprived of opportunity to become mercenaries under our flag, but if they are not sent to war by necessity or driven by pure patriotism, they will be a thorn in our side... How do you think it makes our soldiers feel to see contracters who are death by the dollar getting fat while their friends suffer privation and danger for chicken feed... In Islam, again, not our only enemy we are meeting a serious foe which should not even be a foe at all... Now Israel wants the destruction of Iran... How about we let them do their own dirt and shame them for it after???
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:18 PM
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