Voice of the People
Hagel is wrong choice for defense
Mr. "Chuck" Hagel, former Republican senator from Nebraska, was chosen by our president as the next Secretary of Defense, the ministry with the largest budget in government. Now his confirmation hearing is facing a stalemate, with Democrats for his appointment and Republicans against it. Much of the hearings were concerned with Hagel's foreign policy views, not his portfolio, a job reserved for our new Secretary of State.
I am a Democrat and support our president in most of his efforts to get the nation back on track. But I do question his choice of Mr. Hagel to run a cabinet, and for personal reasons.
Mr. Hagel, when asked about the possible closure of the USO (United Service Organization) office in Tel Aviv, Israel, in a home-state meeting, responded, "let the Jews pay for it."
The USO has been around since 1941, providing our troops overseas with entertainment, relieving soldiers of the stress of combat, a moment for remembering home, in short, what they are fighting for. Some of our greatest stars, from night clubs, Broadway, Hollywood and TV, actors and actresses, comedians, musicians, have contributed to the USO.
Although private, the USO has always received federal support. Now, according to Mr. Hagel, the Israeli port which serves our naval fleet in the Mediterranean should be paid for by American Jews. And, perhaps the Indian Ocean ports by American Hindus, the west Atlantic by American Christians, the Pacific by American Buddhists, the east African coast by American Muslims ? .. You get the picture.
Most troubling, combined with Mr. Hagel's other statements regarding the so-called "Jewish lobby." At my age, I recall other such guarded statements, and they call for caution.