Thomas Friedman Goes to Bat for Chuck Hagel

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


Just as news has surfaced that President Obama may be reconsidering his controversial nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman advises us to “Give Chuck A Chance,” advocating for the former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to replace out-going Secretary Leon Panetta. “I am a Hagel supporter,” Friedman wrote. “I think he would make a fine secretary of defense – precisely because some of his views are not ‘mainstream.’”

Friedman thinks it is “disgusting” that Hagel has been criticized for snidely labeling Israel’s many supporters in the United States as the “Jewish lobby.” Friedman also argues that just because Hagel has been unwilling to go along unswervingly with everything the Israeli government decides to do, including its expansion of settlements, it doesn’t mean that Hagel cannot still be a friend of Israel (albeit a friend with tough love).

No wonder Friedman did not have any trouble with Hagel’s “Jewish lobby” remark. Last year, in another of his columns, Friedman himself said that the only reason Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a standing ovation during his address to a joint session of Congress was that the “ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” Friedman couldn’t conceive of the fact that maybe the ovation was in appreciation for the courageous leader of our closest ally in the Middle East, who is trying to preserve a modern day democracy in a neighborhood of regressive nihilists bent on his country’s destruction.

Whether or not Hagel would back Israel as secretary of defense if the chips were down is anyone’s guess. But whatever the answer may turn out to be – which I suspect will be no – Hagel does not deserve the cabinet position in any event. The reason is because Hagel’s views are too in synch with the Obama administration’s engage-with-the-enemy philosophy. He will be a close appeasement soul mate with Hillary Clinton’s likely replacement as Secretary of State, John Kerry, who not too long ago was one of Syrian President Assad’s biggest boosters.

Hagel’s tilt towards engagement with Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran proves his lack of judgment to lead the Pentagon.

Why was Hagel one of only a dozen senators who refused to write the European Union asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization? That was back in 2006.  Once again, the Senate passed a resolution last Friday, before leaving for the Christmas break, that would encourage European countries to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and instructed President Obama to provide information about Hezbollah to our European allies. The EU is reportedly finally considering such a designation. Where does Hagel stand now on this issue? Would his past opposition to such a move when he was in the Senate reassert itself and reinforce the Obama administration’s apparent passivity on this issue?

In December 2005, Hagel was one of only 27 senators who did not sign a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to pressure the Palestinian Authority to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections. The terrorist group Hamas turned out to be main beneficiary of those elections. But that doesn’t seem to bother Hagel. In March 2009, Hagel co-signed a letter urging President Obama to open direct talks with Hamas, which remains to this day committed to the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel. Friedman agrees with Hagel, writing in his December 26th op-ed article that “I don’t think America or Israel have anything to lose by engaging Hamas to see if a different future is possible.”

Sorry, Chuck and Tom, but Hamas’s view of the future is no different than that expressed in its founding charter – the complete liquidation of Israel. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal vowed earlier this month that Hamas would never give up “an inch of the land” to Israel, and he was not just talking about the West Bank and Gaza:

Palestine is ours, from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land. We will never recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.

On Christmas Day, a senior Hamas leader called for another intifada and the resumption of suicide bombings.

What exactly do Hagel and Friedman have in mind as the subject for engagement with Hamas? A negotiated timetable for Israel’s destruction?

Hagel has also consistently opposed tough sanctions against the Iranian regime, something that even the Obama administration reluctantly pursued – finally – after prodding from Congress.

“There are a lot of senators, Democrats and Republicans, who are very outspoken on the need to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability through the imposition of sanctions and demonstration of a credible military threat,” one senior Senate aide was quoted in Foreign Policy as saying. “Chuck Hagel is the antithesis of everything those members believe in.”

Friedman argues that while President Obama will still make all of the final calls, he should do so only “after having heard all the alternatives.”  Friedman thinks Hagel represents that alternative voice, but he is wrong. Hagel would only be reinforcing Obama’s engage-with-our-enemies, bash Israel world view.  Moreover, like Obama, Hagel blames, in his own words, the United States as “a source of significant friction not only in the region [the Middle East] but in the wider international community.”

We need at least one grown-up to serve on America’s national security team during these dangerous times who does not blame America first, who stands by our closest ally in the Middle East and who is willing to deal forcefully with our enemies. Chuck Hagel is not that person.

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  • marylou Smith

    I think that Mr. Friedman is a self-hating jew. Perhaps he should take another look at Daniel Pearl, his head being waved in the wind

    • EarlyBird

      Uh, perhaps he's a good American who thinks that the Hagel would be a good Secretary of Defense for AMERICA. Israel is actually a separate country, have you heard?

      • Ghostwriter

        Well,EarlyBird,I hope you think that way,up until the Iranians launch a nuclear missile at your hometown. Then,you might not be so angry with Israel.

      • F.K. Juliano

        Uh, perhaps anyone other than a Jew-hater realizes America's interests coincide much better with those of Israel than those of Hamas.

        • EarlyBird

          No kidding, Juliano. But it's not either or. It's not either A: Have America's foreign policy be totally co-opted by Israel, or B: Have America's foreign policy be totally co-opted by Islamic madmen.

          America is America. Israel is Israel. The latter depends upon the former for its existence, not the other way around, at the tune of $3.1 billion dollars in direct aid, most of it military. We've been keeping Israel alive since the Camp David Accords by making it our #1 recipient of foreign aid, i.e., military aid.

          I'd like Americans to have as much of a say in America's Middle East policy as do Israeli right wingers. Imagine that.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Uh, perhaps he's a good American who thinks that the Hagel would be a good Secretary of Defense for AMERICA"

        Uh, not. No such sane person could exist. Perhaps he's delusional and otherwise would understand the facts, or perhaps he's a Jew hater. Those are the realistic possibilities since you love to guess.

        "Israel is actually a separate country, have you heard?"

        People like you who think this is news really have nothing constructive to contribute to the debate. You show your ignorance to everyone but those who already sing from the same evil song sheet.

        • EarlyBird

          Gee, what a wonderful grasp of objective facts. I dislike the meddling by Israelis in American foreign policy and choice of Defense Secretaries, so ipso facto I must be a "Jew hater." You're bright.

          Hey, I'm not a big fan of rap music being played outside my house at 3:00 a.m. I guess that makes me a "black hater" too, right? Duh….

    • irateiconoclast

      Yep–he's apparently in the same sordid club that counts Chomsky, Finkelstein, et al. as esteemed members. Friedman is a piece of dreck!

  • jaysonrex

    Thomas Friedman toured the civilized world to promote his book "The World is Flat". After that, nothing interesting was published by him and his income must have started to suffer. Along came The New York Times, the bankrupt organization, and offered him a small contract provided Friedman was ready to abide by the editorial line of NYT. So we are now witnessing The Revival of Thomas Friedman, nothing else. Is is a deprerssing show of human decadence, but we must be tolerant. After all, everyone has the right to earn a living and this includes Mr. Friedman.

    • dnha14

      Please do not worry about Friedman's income. Like Kerry, he married a billionaire. That's why he always wants to raise taxes. He can afford it.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "but we must be tolerant."

      Right. Don't kill or jail him. Just destroy his stupid arguments to expose the fact that he's just another delusional hippy wannabe.

  • elvisbarry

    A vile human being….a self hating jew! he is an embarrassment to the rest of us strong Jews

  • Asher

    What…Give Hagel a chance to further attack and bring down Israel…not on your life Freidman.

    • EarlyBird

      "Attack and bring down Israel?" A bit paranoid, no? Gee, AIPAC has done its job well.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        ""Attack and bring down Israel?" A bit paranoid, no?

        He's obviously a sellout. He assists enemies of the West from the inside. He also attacks Israel verbally. He has a direct hand in attacks on Israel and by extension, Western civilization. But you have a dream for a better civilization without all of the victim's stories? Most of them are lies anyway, so becoming grounded in reality is really the only hope for you or anyone else. Not that you'll listen to reason.

        "Gee, AIPAC has done its job well."

        I doubt you even know what AIPAC is. It's largely grass roots members who are sick of liars and dupes like you. Anyone who even dares to mention AIPAC is some nefarious influence is an absolute more-on, who can't possibly know how stupid that sounds to people who know about the enormous OPEC and IOC funding of outright lies being propagated throughout the world. I mean it takes a real idiot to think that AIPAC has anything to be ashamed of any any way, shape or form.

        You've really outed yourself here.

        • EarlyBird

          Let me be clear: I like and respect Jews a great deal. I admire Israel and believe they are a very important ally, and one which the US is morally required to help defend. But the US has paid a big price for that loyalty. Israel depends upon the US for its very existence (last year Israel received $3.1 billion dollars in US military aid), and what do we get in return? Meddling in our elections, manipulation of our politics, character assassination of our president, and now even manipulation of our choice of Sec of Def.

          You, members of AIPAC and this entire website is an extension of the Israel First lobby inside America which consists of unpatriotic Americans. You're a Jew first, a son of Israel second, an American third.

  • Guest

    Friedman gives new life to that old word "k-ke". I'd be more concerned about his inconsistent views.

  • Questions

    Thomas Friedman has argued many times that Thomas Friedman is the deepest thinker of the last century and possibly in the entire history of Western Civilization. Indeed, he has stated that his own level of insight may never be approached. All hail this great man!!!

    • BethesdaDog

      I've felt for some time that Friedman has become increasingly frustrated and angry that the people who actually have the power in the Middle East, particularly Israel's leaders, don't listen to him. He is just another self-absorbed narcissist who can't tolerate being of so little import and so ineffectual in influencing events by his brilliant insights and prescriptions. His criticisms of and attacks on Israel have become increasingly shrill and angry–of course that's a mental state that is symptomatic of the left generally. Like angry, frustrated little children, they pout, throw fits, and engage in name-calling and emote instead of offering rational insights and ideas. It seems that Friedman has entered his acting out phase. Sometimes, little children need to be ignored when they start doing this.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "He is just another self-absorbed narcissist…"

        True. However, he's far more dangerous than most other narcissists.

        "Like angry, frustrated little children, they pout, throw fits, and engage in name-calling and emote instead of offering rational insights and ideas. It seems that Friedman has entered his acting out phase. Sometimes, little children need to be ignored when they start doing this."

        If only we didn't have a lot more people who recognized this.

      • Questions

        It's not really his left-leaning views; there are plenty of agressive narcissists on the Right (just try having a conversation with an Ayn Rand objectivist and see how much fun it is). The real problem, I think, is that Friedman is one of those people who never quite got over being a straight-"A" student in college and has to keep reminding us of that fact.

  • Mary Sue

    I knew Thomas Friedman is an idiot, but up until this point I hadn't seen his anti-Israel rhetoric. Yeesh, another Liberal (New York?) self-hating Jew.

  • EarlyBird

    Fantatical Zionists on this board act as if the US Secretary of Defense works for Israel! SecDef's job is to make AMERICA secure, by doing everything it can to manage, and where necessary transform, the American military for American purposes. Of course that includes maintaining our alliance with Israel, but not to be Israel's lap dog.

    Sorry folks, but Israel is dependent upon America for it's existence, not the other way around.

    It's just amazing the power of the Israel First lobby in the US, made up of un-patrotic American Jews. The defamation and sliming of Hagel by this group is astonishing.

    • BethesdaDog

      I've reported you for anti-semitic innuendo. Maybe they'll ban you, maybe not. If they don't, it is obviously because they feel it's worthwhile for us to observe bigoted and slanderous drivel as an object lesson in how crazy and irrational the Isael and Jew haters can really be.

      • EarlyBird

        My comment is still there, because it has nothing to do with hating Jews or Israel. I am an American who believes the job of the US Secretary of Defense is to work for the betterment of America. Americans who put Israel first are unpatriotic. Israel is an important ally, it's not one of our 50 states, if you haven't heard.

  • jean

    There are many reasons to oppose Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense besides Israel, Anti-Semitism and Iran.

    Thomas Friedman and many others that are now supporting Hagel are using magical fairy tale thinking not logic and facts. They believe Hagel will slay the ogre Netanyahu and then everyone will live happily ever after.

    if you believe that
    you can argue that singling out only Jews for exerting too much influence is not anti-semetic. You could argue that the US should accept an Iranian nuclear weapons program or even an Iranian ICBM program. You could argue that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 armistice lines from which it was attacked in return for nothing and still be pro-Israel.

    • EarlyBird

      No magical fairy tale at all.

      If you cared to actually read Friedman's article, he points to reasonable criticisms of Hagel's nomination which have nothing to do with Israel. He believes like I do, however, that because Hagel understands the critical need to cut America's defense budget in order for America to stay solvent, and otherwise would be an important voice of dissent on important various taboo topics within the defense community, that he is the right man for the job.

      But nothing matters to the Zionist fanatics on this board, in AIPAC or other Israel First lobbies. If he isn't willing to work for Israel first, he doesn't belong as an American defense secretary and must be slimed as an anti-Semite. It's that simple: Americans must do Israel's bidding or they are slimed.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "He believes like I do, however, that because Hagel understands the critical need to cut America's defense budget in order for America to stay solvent"

        Don't cut aid to our enemies. Keep giving them money and THEN after every other idiotic domestic and foreign program is funded, whine about defense spending because gee, with all of that fun money floating around nobody will fail to love us.

        D E L U S I O N A L

        • EarlyBird

          What?

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "If he isn't willing to work for Israel first"

        Yes, there are only 2 choices in your mind and the false dichotomies you've been indoctrinated with. When people spread lies or support enemies that lie about fundamental facts, that makes those people appeasers and by extension, enemies and traitors. Sounds like you've made the list too.

        There are plenty of benign reasons to argue against certain policies. When you use lies. you lose my support. 100% of it.

        "It's that simple: Americans must do Israel's bidding or they are slimed."

        Wrong. Stop supporting evil liars and their lies, and see how you are treated better by those that know the facts, more-on. I've never met or communicated with an Israeli, and I might have met a Jew or even several of them, but I don't know. I came to my own conclusions without any personal or emotional influence whatsoever. All of your stupid arguments are so easy to destroy because you don't have reason or logic on your side unless you depend on lies. There is a certain logic to their lies if you accept the false Muslim worldview, which as I try to make clear is wholly dependent on lies about objective facts. That's before they even start to engage in political attacks on the West. the lies just get deeper and deeper after that.

        Not too good on discernment. You may have caught the worm, but now you've swallowed the toxic lies.

        • EarlyBird

          What? Is your sarcasm meter that broken? To be clear, I am FOR Hagel, because I think he'll make an all around good Sec of Defense. I am against the campaign to slime him as an anti-Semite, merely because the slimers believe he won't work hard enough for Israel's interests.

  • jean

    But to me he is the stereotypical Archie Bunker type bigot. His policies have been anti gay (even now after his late and self serving apology he doesn't support equal benefits for gay military families. He is anti-African American (with a 17/100 rating from NAACP and admires Strom Thurmond as a great role model. anti Woman (vs choice and contraception)

    and

    Hagel has drawn additional heat from insiders who claim he lacks the credentials needed to manage a department as large and essential as the Pentagon.

    “Yes, Hagel has crazy positions on several key issues. Yes, Hagel has said things that are borderline anti-Semitism. Yes, Hagel wants to gut the Pentagon’s budget. But above all, he’s not a nice person and he’s bad to his staff,” said a senior Republican Senate aide who has close ties to former Hagel staffers.

    “Hagel was known for turning over staff every few weeks—within a year’s time he could have an entirely new office because nobody wanted to work for him,” said the source. “You have to wonder how a man who couldn’t run a Senate office is going to be able to run an entire bureaucracy.”

    Others familiar with Hagel’s 12 year tenure in the Senate said he routinely intimidated staff and experienced frequent turnover.

    “Chuck Hagel may have been collegial to his Senate colleagues but he was the Cornhusker wears Prada to his staff, some of whom describe their former boss as perhaps the most paranoid and abusive in the Senate, one who would rifle through staffers desks and berate them for imagined disloyalty,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “He might get away with that when it comes to staffers in their 20s, but that sort of personality is going to go over like a ton of bricks at the Pentagon.”

    • EarlyBird

      It wouldn't matter if Hagel was the most qualified possible Secretary of Defense in history. Given that he's more interested in putting American strength first, is willing to respectfully disagree with Israel in that he wants Israel to thrive, he is slimed as "anti-Semitic."

      It's disgraceful and typical among Israel Firsters and ultimately degrades support for Israel inside the US. If an American politician doesn't sit up and beg and roll over for Israel, they are slimed as Jew haters.

      • Joseph Klein

        Hagel's opposition to sanctions against Iran, which even Obama came around to belatedly, is indication enough of Hagel's lack of judgment to disqualify him. This is not only an Israeli issue. Iran's nuclear ambitions and sponsorship of Hezbollah as well as Hamas – with whom Hagel also does not seem to have much of a problem engaging – represent an immediate threat to the entire region and beyond.

        • EarlyBird

          Hagel wasnt' against all the sanctions against Iran, just some of them. His desire to speak with our enemies is pretty old school (read, "Reaganite") too. It's only been fairly recently that we didn't want to engage our enemies in conversation. Why? Because it "looks weak," to get inside the mind of our enemies? I'd take that knowledge any day.

          But you know what, Joseph? I'll accept these arguments against Hagel, and I appreciate that you didn't tar him as an "anti-Semite."

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "It wouldn't matter if Hagel was the most qualified possible Secretary of Defense in history."

        1) That is obviously highly subjective analysis

        2) You've given us no reason to trust your analysis and every reason to reject it.

        "Given that he's more interested in putting American strength first…"

        Strength through budget cuts and appeasement of our most intransigent mortal enemies. You see, you made it so easy to destroy your arguments. I didn't even have to say anything, but I'm informing you merely as a courtesy.

        "It's disgraceful and typical among Israel Firsters and ultimately degrades support for Israel inside the US."

        This rhetoric sounds a lot coughing to me, or "yada yada" because you totally ignore the fact that you've already lost the argument. What degrades support for Israel is Jew hatred and delusional freaks who listen to leftist liars and their lies. That and listening to lying jihadis who worship the cheese god.

        So appeasement is not really very smart for those who love America as it exists in the real world, and who care about the values (and laws!) that made it great.

        • EarlyBird

          Um…going bankrupt by feeding a military that takes up more of the national budget than it did at the very height of the Cold War, which still invests in weapons systems intended to be used against the Red Army on the steppes of Eastern Europe, which is bigger than the next 10 miltiary budgets combined IS doing our enemies' work for us.

          Al Queda (and Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.) all want us to go bankrupt by doing exactly what every once-great empire did: get overextended, fight too many wars, have it's fingers in too many pies.

          And meeting with our enemies isn't "appeasement" it's meeting with our enemies. It's getting inside their heads. It's something that Reagan did. It's what serious leaders have done forever. W. Bush was the one who destroyed the very effective tradition of American diplomacy.

  • Ghostwriter

    So sayeth the Jew hating crow,EarlyBird.

    • EarlyBird

      "Jew hating"?! Moi? I love Jews.

  • http://frontpage richard sherman

    Tom Friedman is the Walter Duranty of his generation of journalists….nothing more…nothing less.

    • Questions

      Since when has he downplayed mass starvation or anything like it?

  • F.K. Juliano

    Hagel–and on a much smaller scale, EarlyBird–are the real Israel-firsters. The only twist is that their number one priority is the destruction of Israel, not its preservation. That's why they sympathize with Hamas and the Iranian ayatollahs, both of which are repugnant to any decent human being.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "The only twist is that their number one priority is the destruction of Israel, not its preservation. "

      Precisely. Kill Israeli Jews first, then the Christians in the region, then Europe, Russia and America.

      "First comes Saturday, then comes Sunday"

      Google that you traitors.

      Little to they know China is already hoping for this outcome and if they made it that far, would ruthlessly destroy them. Their evil plans are a joke, but they are also incredibly destructive in any case. And those who appease or otherwise empower them are mortal enemies of the West. It's just that simple.

      You can't be partly pregnant or partly dead. They want us dead, all the way. We must each choose sides and right now, they've joined the enemies of the West.

      • EarlyBird

        Why is W. Bush, who twisted Sharon's arm to have the IDF pull settlers out of illegal settlements, a hero to right wing Zionists, and Obama, who has only asked that Bibi pull settlers off of illegal settlements, a member of Al Queda in the minds of the right wing Zionists?

  • jean

    There are many reasons to oppose Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense besides Israel, Anti-Semitism and Iran.

    Thomas Friedman and many others that are now supporting Hagel are using magical fairy tale thinking not logic and facts. They believe Hagel will slay the ogre Netanyahu and then everyone will live happily ever after.

    if you believe that
    you can argue that singling out only Jews for exerting too much influence is not anti-semetic. You could argue that the US should accept an Iranian nuclear weapons program or even an Iranian ICBM program. You could argue that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 armistice lines from which it was attacked in return for nothing and still be pro-Israel.

    But to me he is the stereotypical Archie Bunker type bigot. His policies have been anti gay (even now after his late and self serving apology he doesn't support equal benefits for gay military families. He is anti-African American (with a 17/100 rating from NAACP and admires Strom Thurmond as a great role model. anti Woman (vs choice and contraception)

    and

    Hagel has drawn additional heat from insiders who claim he lacks the credentials needed to manage a department as large and essential as the Pentagon.

    “Yes, Hagel has crazy positions on several key issues. Yes, Hagel has said things that are borderline anti-Semitism. Yes, Hagel wants to gut the Pentagon’s budget. But above all, he’s not a nice person and he’s bad to his staff,” said a senior Republican Senate aide who has close ties to former Hagel staffers.

    “Hagel was known for turning over staff every few weeks—within a year’s time he could have an entirely new office because nobody wanted to work for him,” said the source. “You have to wonder how a man who couldn’t run a Senate office is going to be able to run an entire bureaucracy.”

    Others familiar with Hagel’s 12 year tenure in the Senate said he routinely intimidated staff and experienced frequent turnover.

    “Chuck Hagel may have been collegial to his Senate colleagues but he was the Cornhusker wears Prada to his staff, some of whom describe their former boss as perhaps the most paranoid and abusive in the Senate, one who would rifle through staffers desks and berate them for imagined disloyalty,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “He might get away with that when it comes to staffers in their 20s, but that sort of personality is going to go over like a ton of bricks at the Pentagon.”

    Multiple sources corroborated this view of Hagel.

  • jean

    “As a manager, he was angry, accusatory, petulant,” said one source familiar with his work on Capitol Hill. “He couldn’t keep his staff.”

    “I remember him accusing one of his staffers of being ‘f—ing stupid’ to his face,” recalled the source who added that Hagel typically surrounded himself with those “who basically hate Republicans.”

    Sources expressed concern about such behavior should Hagel be nominated for the defense post. With competing military and civilian interests vying for supremacy, the department requires a skilled manager, sources said.

    “The Pentagon requires strong civilian control,” a senior aide to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the Free Beacon. “It’s already swung back in favor of the military over the past five years. A new secretary of defense should push it back in its rightful place, but it’s doubtful Hagel would be that guy.”

    “It’s not clear that [Hagel] has the standing, the managerial prowess, or the willingness to gore some oxen,” said the source.

    One senior Bush administration official warned that Hagel is ill informed about many critical foreign policy matters.

    “He’s not someone who’s shown a lot of expertise on these issues,” said the source, referencing a recent Washington Post editorial excoriating Hagel’s record. “That [op-ed] was extraordinary.”

    “Only in Washington,” the official added, “can someone like [Hagel] be seen as a heavy weight. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

    Hagel is likely viewed positively by the administration mainly because he is a Republican who often criticizes his own party, the source said.

    “He’ll dance to a tune played by the White House,” said the former official. “That I think is the real problem.”

    As lawmakers consider a deal to avoid sweeping budgets cuts and tax hikes, Hagel’s support for slashing spending at the Pentagon has irked many defense hawks.

    “This is a time when a secretary of defense needs to be raising hell about the sequestration cuts,” said the Rumsfeld aide. “It’s not clear that Hagel has any interest in picking that fight.”

    Hagel’s reluctance to chastise Iran also remains a central concern.

    As chief of the Pentagon it is expected he would avoid planning for a military intervention should Tehran refuse to end its clandestine nuclear enrichment program.

    “The military brass is already reluctant to offer up any military options on Iran even though it’s their job to have something on the books and to leave the options of the commander in chief open,” said the Rumsfeld aide. “Hagel will only reinforce these worrisome tendencies.”

    “Chances are he’ll view any legitimate effort to talk about military options with Iran as some plot by the ‘Israel Lobby’ to box him in,” the source said.

    If President Obama nominates him even though he is the opposite of what most of his Democratic base believes, he will not get enough Democratic votes to confirm him.

    This would be a major fiasco for his second term. Remember what happened to Bill Clinton when he tried to bring gays into the military early in his term and got pulverized and could never regain power.

    • Questions

      Clinton seemed to do okay in the 1996 election. The reality: Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" gambit was a minor blip on the radar acreen. It hurt him, but only a little, and temporarily at that.

    • EarlyBird

      These are excellent things to know about Hagel, Jean. Thank you.

  • TheDon

    Hagel served in the military. He is as American as you can get. America does not Interfere in Israel government or Israel internal issues. So all you hating on Hagel find something else better to do. I believe he is the right man for the right job regardless of his views. Needless to say more.