John Barrasso: Chuck Hagel's Unsettling History





Dr. Barrasso is a Republican senator from Wyoming.

I recently returned from meeting in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in Afghanistan with U.S. generals and troops in the field. The discussions touched on some common themes: supporting Israel, America's strongest ally in the region, and protecting U.S. interests in the Middle East.
 
These talks have reinforced my understanding of the tremendous challenges the next secretary of defense will face on a range of national-security issues. Strong leadership and sound judgment will be required day in and day out.
 
Since Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator, was nominated to be the next defense secretary, there is new attention on his many controversial statements. One of them, his remark that "the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people" on Capitol Hill, I found to be particularly offensive and wrong.
 
As a senator required to provide "advice and consent" on his appointment, I recently asked Mr. Hagel about his comment. He apologized for it and explained that he was only commenting on the strength of the lobby. While I respect his apology, I can't respect his explanation. My national-security votes are based on America's national security—not lobbyists' issues, interests or intimidation.
While Mr. Hagel's troublesome and insulting words matter, his policy positions matter even more. He has a record of votes and decisions that are far outside the mainstream of foreign policy supported by both Republicans and Democrats...



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