. 24/7 Space News .

Obama's Pentagon pick to face critics at Senate hearing
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 30, 2013

The Vietnam War veteran picked to lead the Pentagon, Chuck Hagel, will face a tough grilling Thursday from Republicans who have painted him as hostile toward Israel and ready to appease Iran.

When Hagel appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing, Republican critics are expected to hammer him over his blunt comments in years past and to paint him as naive when it comes to national security.

"Too often, it seems, he is willing to subscribe to a world view that is predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends," Senator Jim Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote in a recent commentary in The Washington Post.

But despite the harsh criticism and a conservative media blitz against Hagel, the White House is optimistic that the Senate will approve his nomination in the end, albeit with little support from the Republican minority.

Prominent Republicans view Hagel, a former senator, as a traitor to their party for breaking with ex-president George W. Bush over the Iraq war, which he reluctantly supported before becoming disillusioned.

A fellow Vietnam veteran, Senator John McCain, is expected to take Hagel to task over his opposition to the troop surge in Iraq, which Hagel at the time referred to as "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."

Hagel's off-the-cuff references to the "Jewish lobby" and that he was "not an Israeli senator," along with some of his stances while in Congress, have provided ammunition to some pro-Israel lobbyists and politicians who say he cannot be trusted to back the close US ally.

To soothe those concerns, Hagel has promised to stand by Israel and held a flurry of meetings with lawmakers, including Democrat Chuck Schumer, seen as an influential Jewish senator who had expressed ambivalence about Hagel's nomination.

After their meeting, Schumer came away satisfied, saying Hagel had cleared up questions related to past positions and had vowed to do "whatever it takes" to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

In written answers to senators before the hearing, Hagel echoed the same theme and made no reference to the skepticism he has sometimes expressed about a military confrontation with Iran.

"I agree with the president that the United States should take no options off the table in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," he wrote to the committee.

"If confirmed, I will focus intently on ensuring that the US military is in fact prepared for any contingency."

Hagel added that there was still time for diplomacy but "the window is closing" and "Iran needs to demonstrate it is prepared to negotiate seriously."

A decorated Vietnam War veteran who was wounded in the conflict, the 66-year-old Hagel is known for a fiercely independent streak and caution about resorting to military action.

Inhofe and other Republicans say Hagel appears ready to gut military spending, citing his comment that the Pentagon's budget was "bloated."

In his responses to the committee, however, Hagel said he shared the outgoing defense secretary's view that looming budget cuts -- including automatic reductions due to kick in if Congress fails to break a stalemate -- would be disastrous and "hollow" out the armed forces.

Hagel's nomination has sparked an unprecedented advertising campaign by conservative activists, who began airing ads not long after Obama announced his choice for the Pentagon.

Though the ad campaign likely will fail to derail the nomination, the attacks serve as a warning to Hagel should he revert to some of his past positions.

Bankrolled by anonymous donors, the advertisements urge Democratic senators in several states to vote against Hagel's nomination, alleging he would make the United States "a weaker country."

Asked in the committee's questionnaire what qualified him to be defense secretary, Hagel cited his harrowing time in the jungles of Vietnam.

"I served a twelve-month tour which included the Tet Offensive in 1968... I understand what it is like to be a soldier in war.

"I also understand what happens when there is poor morale and discipline among the troops and a lack of clear objectives, intelligence and command and control from Washington."

He said his experience would help him to "ensure that we are cautious and certain when contemplating the use of force."


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Japan ex-minister warns of Okinawa unrest, secession
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 31, 2013
A former Japanese minister has warned domestic terrorists could strike Tokyo if the government fails to address anger in Okinawa over a heavy US military presence there. Shozaburo Jimi, minister in charge of financial services and postal reform, under the last government, suggested Wednesday that residents of the sub-tropical island chain may also push for secession from Japan. "Okinawa ... read more

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Mission would drag asteroid to the moon

Is there life on Mars?

Opportunity At Work At Whitewater Lake

Thawing Dry Ice Drives Groovy Action On Mars

Mars Rover Curiosity Uses Arm Camera at Night

TDRS-K Offers Upgrade to Vital Communications Net

How to predict the future of technology

Iran Manufacturing Hi-Tech Spacesuits

TDRS-K Offers Upgrade to Vital Communications Net

Reshuffle for Tiangong

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

NASA to Send Inflatable Pod to International Space Station

ISS to get inflatable module

ESA workhorse to power NASA's Orion spacecraft

Competition Hopes To Fine Tune ISS Solar Array Shadowing

Russia Set for Year's First Baikonur Space Launch Feb. 5

First Ariane 5 For 2013 Ready For Loading

Azerspace And Africasat-1a "fit" for Ariane 5 launch

NASA Selects Experimental Commercial Suborbital Flight Payloads

The Origin And Maintenance Of A Retrograde Exoplanet

New Evidence Indicates Auroras Occur Outside Our Solar System

Glitch has space telescope shut down

Earth-size planets common in galaxy

Bioinspired fibers change color when stretched

Stanford Researchers Break Million-core Supercomputer Barrier

Scientists trick iron-eating bacteria into breathing electrons instead

NTU research embraces laser and sparks cool affair

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement