The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense early Tuesday evening, with 58 senators supporting his nomination and 41, all Republicans, opposing. The boss, in his capacity as the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, responded in a statement:
We fought the good fight, and are proud to have done so. We salute all those -- Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews -- who joined with us in the effort to secure a better Secretary of Defense. We are heartened that the overwhelming majority of senators from one of the two major parties voted against confirming Mr. Hagel. We take some comfort in Mr. Hagel's confirmation conversions on the issues of Israel and Iran, and do believe that, as a result of this battle, Mr. Hagel will be less free to pursue dangerous policies at the Defense Department and less inclined to advocate them within the administration. And since hope is an American characteristic and a Jewish virtue, we will also say that we hope Mr. Hagel will rise to the occasion and successfully discharge his weighty duties. In this task we wish him well.
This battle against Chuck Hagel is over. The fight for a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy goes on.
The Senate voted for cloture on the debate over the nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel for defense secretary Tuesday afternoon. Seventy-one senators, including 18 Republicans, voted to end the debate and move to an up or down vote on Hagel. Carl Levin, the chairman of the armed services committee, said he expects a vote on the nomination later on Tuesday afternoon.
In September 1993, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin received a request from the U.S. commander in Somalia for extra tanks, armored vehicles, and AC-130 Spectre gunships to support U.S. operations in Mogadishu. Aspin refused the request. The White House was not involved in the decision. Days later, 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in Mogadishu, some 84 were wounded, two U.S. choppers were shot down, and one pilot was captured. Aspin, who later conceded he had erred in denying the commander’s request, appeared weak when responding to detailed questions during a congressional hearing.
Last week, Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacondiscovered a contemporaneous account of a 2007 speech Chuck Hagel gave at Rutgers University. The account, from Hagel supporter George Ajjan, was posted on Ajjan’s website the day after the speech. During the Q&A segment of his appearance, Hagel argued the U.S. State Department had become an adjunct of the Israeli government.
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham has just sent a letter to Barack Obama's defense secretary nominee, Chuck Hagel. Graham asks if, at a 2010 appearance at Rutgers University, Hagel said Israel "was risking becoming an apartheid state."
Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama's defense secretary nominee and a former Nebraska senator, said in a 2008 interview that he agreed that the United States has not been a "fair or credible peace broker" in the Middle East, specifically with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina pledged last night on Fox News to block President Obama's secretary of defense nominee, Chuck Hagel, until Leon Panetta testifies on the Benghazi terror attack: