In Opposition to Hagel's Confirmation

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
An excerpt by Mauricio Claver-Carone in NBC Latino:

In contrast to his harsh views on a free democracy and U.S. allies like Israel, Hagel has repeatedly opposed sanctions against dictatorships and enemies like Iran, Qaddafi’s Libya, and even Cuba.  In fact, Hagel said Jimmy Carter was “exactly right,” agreeing with the former president in opposing U.S. pressure on the Communist Cuban regime.  Hagel labeled Castro as a “toothless old dinosaur” in 2002, and soon thereafter the regime executed three young Cubans for trying to escape the country, began the most extensive repressive sweep in the modern history of the Americas (known as the “Black Spring”) and has had thousands of peaceful activists tortured and arrested.  The Castros are no less toothless than Hagel’s comment was offensive. 

Hagel also said that labeling Castro as a threat was “just goofy.”  Perhaps Hagel should remember that the Cuban regime continues to harbor anti-American terrorists and fugitives from U.S. justice and now holds hostage an innocent U.S. civilian, Alan Gross.

Some argue that Hagel’s record is not important because only the President’s policies really matter.  But not only do presidential appointments impact policy, they reflect the President’s priorities.  If Obama had chosen former California Governor Pete Wilson as Secretary of Homeland Security, everyone would be rightfully questioning the President’s commitment to immigration reform.

Supporting deep cuts to defense and America’s nuclear arsenal… Condemning Israel but opposing sanctions on rogue regimes…  This is the Hagel record in the past; this could be the Pentagon policy in the future if he is confirmed.  For the sake of our country and people everywhere who seek freedom, we can and must do better.