On Monday, Barack Obama made another appointment nomination, in addition to John Brennan as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Obama nominated former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to take over as Defense Secretary for Leon Panetta. Panetta commented that he would be returning to be with his family at his walnut farm where he can deal “with a different set of nuts.”
In his remarks, Panetta praised Obama and thanked him for the opportunity to serve in his administration over the last four years. He also commended Obama for his selection of Hagel as his replacement and also the appointment of John Brennan as head of the CIA.
“Chuck Hagel is a patriot, he is a decorated combat veteran, and he is a dedicated public servant,” Panetta said. “I believe his experience, his judgment, his deep understanding of the security issues facing this country make him the right choice to be Secretary of Defense.”
Panetta then spoke about his retirement. “As for me, after close to 50 years of serving the American people,” he said, “which began in 1964 when I served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army and then in both legislative and executive branch positions in Washington, the time has come for the time has come for me to return home to my wife Sylvia, our three sons, their families, our six grandchildren, and my walnut farm. Dealing with a different set of nuts. I want to deeply thank my family for giving me the fullest measure of love and support during my many absences from home throughout my long career in public service.”
Panetta came under attack last year when he was interviewed on CBS’ 60 Minutes and said, “If someone is a citizen of the United States and is a terrorist (I’ll note, is not proved to be a terrorist, just claimed to be one by the government) who wants to attack our people and kill Americans (again that would make a person a suspect and should be innocent until proven guilty) in “my book” that person is a terrorist.”
Hagel, 66, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and the first veteran of enlisted rank, to head the Department of Defense. Though Hagel has an “R” behind his name, indicating that he claims to be a Republican (You never can be too sure these days), several Republicans question his nomination.
Jon Swaine writes,
Hailing him as an “American patriot” who “bears the scars and the shrapnel of battles fought in our name”, Mr Obama said: “Chuck knows that war is not an abstraction”.
The selection of Mr Hagel, who once criticised intimidation of US politicians by “the Jewish lobby” has been sharply criticised as an insult to Israel that could jeopardise a key alliance.
Mr Obama on Monday praised Mr Hagel’s “willingness to speak his mind”, stating that he “understands that America stands strongest when we stand with allies and with friends”.
Lindsey Graham, a Republican Senator for South Carolina, has said Mr Hagel “would be the most antagonistic secretary of defence towards the state of Israel in our nation’s history”.
Mr Hagel has also been criticised for opposing additional unilateral sanctions on Iran and for urging Israel’s government to engage in direct talks with Hamas, the militant Islamic group.
Sen. Graham also claimed that Obama’s choice of Hagel was an “in-your-face nomination….Quite frankly, Chuck Hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking on most issues regarding foreign policy.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that Hagel would be given a fair hearing based upon his record, but stopped shy of saying whether or not he would actually support the former Senator.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was not supported in 2008 by Hagel due to difference in foreign policy and McCain has expressed reservations about supporting his confirmation.
It seems the Obama administration is getting an extreme makeover.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.