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Cornyn Takes a Stand: 'Why I Can't Support Hagel'

9:10 AM, Jan 10, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The number two Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn, explains in an opinion piece why he is unable to support Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense:

To the surprise of many, including me, President Barack Obama has nominated former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel to be his next defense secretary. Like many Texans, I am grateful for Hagel's courageous military service, but I fear he is the wrong man to lead the Pentagon.

One of the biggest foreign-policy challenges of Obama's second term is preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons -- which means we need a defense secretary who understands the nature and magnitude of the Iranian threat. Based on his record, Hagel does not. 

In July 2001, 96 U.S. senators voted to extend sanctions against Iran. Chuck Hagel was one of only two senators who voted against sanctions. A year later, he urged the Bush administration to support Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization.

Even more disturbing, Hagel voted against a 2007 measure that called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be designated a terrorist group. (At the time, the IRGC was aiding and equipping Shiite militias that were murdering U.S. troops in Iraq.) A few weeks after this vote, Hagel sent a letter to President George W. Bush asking him to launch "direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks" with the Iranian government, which the State Department has labeled a state sponsor of terrorism every year since 1984.

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