Ed Koch, a prominent backer of President Barack Obama, blasts Tom Friedman for endorsing Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of state:
In his December 26 New York Times editorial, Tom Friedman wrote in support of former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel and the possibility that he will be chosen by President Barack Obama as Secretary of Defense. He stated: “So, yes, Hagel is out of the mainstream. That is exactly why his voice would be valuable right now. Obama will still make all the final calls, but let him do so after having heard all the alternatives.” By “mainstream,” Friedman apparently means overwhelmingly supportive of Israel. Hagel’s position is, as Friedman states, “out of the mainstream” with respect to Israel.
Imagine what would happen across our government if President Obama put that course of action into effect.
Friedman is in effect saying to President Obama that he should choose, as an example, a Secretary of the Treasury who believes in cutting expenses in the budget with no increase in taxes for the wealthy, noting that as President he makes the policy and can overrule his appointees; choose a Secretary of the Interior who has the same philosophy as many Alaskans which is to open every square inch of Alaska for oil production. After all, as Friedman says, the President makes the final decision. In the Defense Department, put someone in charge who disagrees with the current stated policy of the President and the Congress toward Israel. We’ve heard the President say, “I’ve got Israel’s back.” Hagel couldn’t care less; he’d rather talk to Hamas. Hagel’s point of view, according to Aaron Miller in his 2008 book, “The Much Too Promised Land,” is clearly hostile to Israel. Miller wrote: “The American Israel Public Affairs Committee comes knocking with a pro-Israel letter, Hagel continued, and ‘then you’ll get eighty or ninety senators on it. I don’t think I’ve ever signed one of the letters’ – because, he added, they were ‘stupid.” Hagel also said, ‘The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,’ but ‘I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator.’” For the record, more Christians support Israel in the U.S. than do Jews, who are a much smaller part of the U.S. population.
Obama has been rumored to be thinking about picked Hagel for the top Pentagon job.