A president should have the cabinet he wants. He has to work with these people, and they have to represent faithfully his intentions. Congress is empowered to advise and consent on the matter, but if the president wants a vile antisemite and a soft-headed moron to lead the defense of this country, he should have his man. Who better to speak for this administration?
An Open Letter to Sen. Charles E. Schumer
by Daniel Pipes
I write to encourage you to review and reconsider your endorsement of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. The new information that has appeared since your meeting with him on Jan. 14 suggests that his weak policies vis-à-vis Iran and his reprehensible views toward Israel run even deeper than we realized at that time.
We now know that he referred to Israel’s self-defense in 2006 as a “sickening slaughter.” That he preposterously stated in 2007 that “The State Department has become adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office.” That he obnoxiously said in 2010 (according to a paraphrase) that Israel was “risking becoming an apartheid state.”
Rep. Eliot Engel has characterized Hagel’s outlook as having “some kind of endemic hostility toward Israel.” I have written that Hagel “is known for only two foreign policy/defense views: being soft on Iran and hostile to Israel.”
Chuck, you and I go back to our many long dinners and debates in the college dining room in the late 1960s, when your sensible moderation first became evident. A hallmark of your career since then has been consistently to show good sense and courage on Middle Eastern issues.
As you noted with pride in an April 2010 interview, your family name “comes from the word shomer, which means guardian” in Hebrew. You mentioned that your ancestors were guardians of the Jewish ghetto in the Ukraine, adding: “I believe HaShem [God], actually, gave me my name, as one of my roles that is very important in the United States Senate is to be a shomer for Israel. I will continue to be that with every bone in my body.”
You expressed having had “genuine concerns” about Hagel prior to your White House meeting with him; now is the moment for you to follow the dictates of your conscience. I hope you will now come out against the Hagel nomination, a shift that will have profound repercussions for the country and secure your reputation as a shomer for U.S.-Israel relations.
We haven’t focused on Hagel as much as we might have. In part, that’s because the truth of his loathing of Israel has come only in drips, most of which he has either refuted or rescinded. But with each revelation that Hagel holds opinions of Israel that sane and decent people hold of the criminal state of Iran—and vice-versa—it deserves at least our attention.
But if we are to be honest, Aggie and I have to apply our dictum that “elections have consequences” uniformly. This is the man President Obama wants to lead the defense of our nation, and Obama is the man we reelected to be commander in chief. We may call them both out for being the hateful men that they are—vain, narcissistic, imperious, dumb as a brick—but we have empowered them.
Let them do their jobs. And let America and Israel suffer the consequences, however dire they will certainly be.
What could go wrong?