Representative Vern Buchanan, FL CD-16, sent the below letter to President Obama expressing concern over his nomination of former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense. Buchanan stated, “I simply cannot support someone whose commitment to Israel remains a disturbing question mark.”
Mark Landler from the New York Times wrote, “Mr. Hagel, a Republican, has been skeptical about the efficacy of American sanctions against Iran, has opposed efforts to isolate militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and has spoken candidly about the influence of what he once referred to as the “Jewish lobby” on Capitol Hill.”
January 07, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
I am writing to express my deep concern over your selection of Chuck Hagel as your nominee for Secretary of Defense.
Mr. Hagel is an honorable man who has served his country with distinction. However, his track record on foreign policy leads me to believe he is not the best person to assume this critical post.
Specifically, Mr. Hagel’s commitment to Israel, our most trusted ally in the Middle East, remains a disturbing question mark. As the co-chair of your intelligence advisory board, Mr. Hagel has said the U.S. should open discussions with Hamas, a terrorist group that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Mr. Hagel has also repeatedly voted against sanctions on Iran, even opposing sanctions aimed at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Furthermore, he wrote that “the genie of nuclear weapons is already out of the bottle, no matter what Iran does.” I find his indifference to Iran possessing nuclear capabilities alarming and dangerous.
Please remember that the Iranian regime has stated its desire to wipe Israel off the map. Let me also remind you that Iran has armed and funded Hamas, Hezbollah, and other militant groups opposed to Israel’s existence.
We live in a dangerous world and the defense secretary is a key person to protecting Americans at home and abroad. I urge you to please reconsider your nomination.
Member of Congress