Chuck Hagel, former Republican Senator from Nebraska, is a leading candidate to become the next secretary of defense. Hagel served as an Army Sargent in Vietnam (1967-1968). He was an infantry squad leader and was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Army Commendation Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Combat Infantryman Badge. No one can question Hagel's courage or his dedication to fellow veterans.
The extreme White wing of the Republicant Party has accused Hagel of being "anti-Semitic." Their "evidence" is an old quotation from a book written by Aaron David Miller where Hagel said, "The political reality is that ... the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here [on Capitol Hill." Hagel believes that AIPAC (the Jewish Lobby), like the NRA, is powerful enough to sometimes intimidate legislators. Everyone agrees. But the White wingers are rewriting history again and they claim it's "the worst kind of anti-Semitism" because it means Hagel "believes in the existence of a nefarious Jewish lobby that secretly controls U.S. foreign policy." The nefarious Jewish lobby is AIPAC and they openly try to influence (they don't "control") U.S. foreign policy. Incidentally, the guy that wrote the book, Aaron David Miller, said that Hagel is not "anti-Semitic."
Chuck Hagel also faces opposition from the left.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Chuck Hagel, the former U.S. senator believed to be President Barack Obama's leading choice for defense secretary, has apologized for remarks he made in 1998 about an openly gay nominee for an ambassadorship. In a brief written statement issued Friday, the Republican said his comments about James C. Hormel were "insensitive" and did not reflect his views.
In an interview with the Omaha World-Herald in 1998, Hagel said he believed that for a U.S. ambassador, in his words, "it is an inhibiting factor to be gay." He went on to call Hormel "openly, aggressively gay." Hagel apologized Friday to Hormel and to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Americans who may question his commitment to their civil rights. Hagel says he supports "open service" and is committed to LGBT military families.
Then there's Hagel voting record in the Senate. He voted for the Bush tax cuts both times, he voted for the war in Iraq, he voted for the Patriot Act, and he voted against the McCain-Feingold bipartisan campaign finance law. Hagel became an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq in 2005. Then in July 2007, Hagel was one of three Republican Senators who supported Democratic-proposed legislation requiring a troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin within 120 days. In 2008 Hagel was a principal co-sponsor with two other military veterans in the Senate of Senator Jim Webb's "21st Century GI Bill". (http://www.ask.com/wiki/Chuck_Hagel#Senate_voting_record).
Since Hagel faces opposition on the left and the right, it may be difficult for him to be confirmed as Sectary of Defense.
But that's a good thing because there's another individual who has the experience to run the Department of Defense. Colin Powell brings a resumé that is unbelievable. Colin Powell served in the Army from 1958-1993. Powell participated in the Vietnam War (two tours), the Invasion of Panama and the Persian Gulf War. Powell received many awards including: Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4), Army Distinguished Service Medal (2), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (2), Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989) and as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989). Colin Powell rose though the ranks to become a Four Star General and eventually became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-1993). Then he became the Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005.
Colin Powell, unlike Hagel, won't face opposition from the left for his statements about homosexuals. In late May 2012 he expressed support for the legalization of same-sex marriage. He had earlier supported the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. The left may have some questions about some of the intelligence he quoted in statements about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. But he represented the Bush Administration and was using the intel they provided.
Colin Powell is uniquely qualified to be the Secretary of Defense. Some republicans may oppose him because he supported Obama in the last two elections. I think his support for proves that he is not a partisan politician and that he is intelligent. We need a non-partisan Secretary of State.