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April 26, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Obama’s savvy pick for defense job

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It was a brilliant move by President Barack Obama to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Hagel has been supported for the job by many, including Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and retired Gen. Colin Powell, a Republican. Hagel is a Vietnam combat veteran with two Purple Heart awards and a hater of war.

It will be interesting to see how the Republicans line up on Hagel’s confirmation for the job.

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  1. Savvy pick? No, not really. Mediocre at best. Chuck Hagel is a Viet Nam NCO and purple heart recipient. Some call him a war hero. Hagel is also a personal friend of President Obama with a friendship that goes back to their Senate days together. Hagel is more left politically than Obama, and many democrats, on defense and gutting of the Pentagon budget. If these are the qualifications for a Defense Secretary now-a-days then Hagel is a good choice. Make no mistakes, Hagel is a lightweight when it comes to a Senator and by all accounts has an indefensible voting record as a Republican in the Senate. Still he will likely be confirmed after a fight and be the Defense Secretary. But I can almost guarantee with absolute certainty that Hagel will serve only under Obama and not be asked to stay on with another democratic/republican President after 2016. I hope with all my heart I am completely wrong. For the good of our country and the world.


  2. From all accounts, Hagel is a modern day Neville Chamberlain who underestimates the true nature of those opposed to the United States and other Western-style countries. He, like the guy with the Cheshire Cat grin, thinks that by bowing and scraping to those who detest the United States and what it once stood for, they will "like" us. Nothing could be further from the truth since all they respect is those that stand up to them in a determined fashion. Anything else they see as a sign of weakness. Insulting our allies, such as Israel, and toading up to the mullahs will get us only more of the same - upheavals, unrest and violence. When Osama Obama steps onto Air Force One and the pilot asks, "Where to?" The lowlife replies, "Anywhere. We've got troubles everywhere."

  3. Bradley,

    Thank you for your support on my current letter to the editor.

    Pres.Obama's pick of Sen.Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary is about as in your face of a nomination the Pres.could ever put forward. If you think Pres. Obama isn't trying to out fox the Republicans,guess again.

  4. "Yeah, I'll say Carmine, for a Republican to have those credentials; I can see why all you right-wing fanatics would oppose Hagel's confirmation." @ BChap

    I am none of these. And neither should be a good Secretary of Defense. And the same should be true for the Def Sec on the other side of the political aisle. As I recall here, you were pushing Colin Powell for Secretary of State and Def and I told you it would never happen for either.


  5. "If you think Pres. Obama isn't trying to out fox the Republicans,guess again." @ samspeaks

    It's not the Republicans that will do Hagel's nomination in. It's the Democrats. Here's a wonderful quote from the Karate Kid that applies:

    "Mr. Miyaki: Are you ready Daniel?
    Daniel: Yeah, I guess so.
    Miyagi: [sighs] Daniel-san, must talk.
    [they both kneel]
    Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later
    [makes squish gesture]
    Miyagi: get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so,"
    [makes squish gesture]
    Miyagi: just like grape. Understand?
    Daniel: Yeah, I understand.
    Miyagi: Now, ready?
    Daniel: Yeah, I'm ready."
    The Karate Kid

    Now look at Hagel's voting record in the Senate. And tell me what side of the road he walks on?


  6. Carmine,

    Their is an old saying fight fire with fire.This is exactly what Pres. Obama is doing with the Republicans.Even you can see that.

  7. Sam:

    If that's the President's motive, and it surely should not be for his nominee as Sec of Def, then Hagel is a good choice. It accomplishes the former, but is not the best qualifications for the latter.


  8. Hagel is a reasonable choice. He put his life on the line and did his duty in Viet Nam. So if the "enemies of this country" think we can't WHEN WE NEED TO, they might remember that when you attack the U.S., you get a real response. He also sees the NEED to CUT DEFENSE. Hundreds of American bases and posts throughout the world without contribution to our security. What a waste of our money and life styles.

  9. Carmine,

    I dosn't matter who the Pres.picks. Even when he picks a Republican there's no support from the party.

    When Sen. Hagel left the senate Sen. Mitch McConnell called him "a clear voice on foreign policy and national security".

    During a pre-taped appearence on on ABC's this week McConnell appeared to back off that view.Saying only that Sen.Hagel has been outspoken on foreign issues.

    It dosn't get any clearer that this, even when it's one of your own Republicans. If he or she has a different view,out come the fangs.

    Sen.McConnell will pay dearly in the midterm elections for his nutty performance in past few years.

  10. It remains to be seen just how much the DOD will be able to refrain from chalking up even bigger debts under any Sec of Defense for either party.

    The world is a dangerous place, with lots of instability, and the US can no longer afford to be the only defender of the world's population.

    If the politicians really want balanced budgets and deficit reduction with minimum revenues they must accept that we cannot be so heavily invested in wars around the globe.

    Mali is the latest mess, with France sending troops, Britain, Germany and the US supporting logistically. Let's see what happens there.

    Why is it that we think the answer to everything is killing? The world must find just ways to reduce poverty, then the extremist organizations would be less attractive and have less influence and power.

  11. ByPress,

    I just might do that!!!

  12. Comment removed by moderator. ALL CAPS

  13. If the U.S. wasn't sitting there with hundreds of thousands of personnel and Billions in equipment, other nations would INVEST SOMETHING in their own defense. Witness France today--unable to refuel their aircraft?? So U.S. runs in and does it for them.

  14. Of course Hagel will have problems with Republican'ts during his confirmation process. He appears to agree with Eisenhower's warning against the military/industrial complex we currently enjoy - thanks cons. He wasn't KILLED, he was only wounded - twice. He appears to have voted his convictions - REPEATEDLY! He was, after all, only an NCO - not an officer and, worse, not even in a "good" war but in Vietnam, of all places. Finally, his most serious crime: he was nominated by OBAMA!

  15. Chuck333,

    "Sam I'm surprised that you feel that the President should try to out fox,instead of to do whats in the best interest of the nation".

    I'm more surprised in you that you have not picked up on the Republican Minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell who does this every day.He introduced a bill(debt ceiling) and when the Pres.said he would go along with that Sen. McConnell objected. Both sides play the same game,some are more obvious and cunning than others like,(Sen.McConnell).

  16. Sam:

    Hagel will be confirmed after a fight. Presidents usually get their way except under rare instances. With events in the world, like Mali and Algiers, and others that have been festering for the last 6 years, Hagel has his work cut out for him. I don't think he's up for the job. [I hope I'm wrong, as I said]. Sec. Panetta said early on he would not stand guard over the Defense Department while it's budget is gutted . One of the reasons he's leaving and not being held over. Hagel will [cut the Def budget]. Obama wants the funds for social programs instead. Hagel will accomodate him.

    On January 22, Clinton will testify before Congress on Benghazi. She will be asked and have to answer why weren't military resources requested from areas adjacent to Libya to save the murdered Americans. Like our Air Base in Aviano, Italy. Just hours away. Recall it was 9-11 and all our troops were on high alert in the region. Listen carefully to her answers and then relate it back to what I said above about cutting/gutting the Def budget.


  17. Carmine,

    "Hagel has his work cut out for him.I don't think he's up for the Job".

    The reason you don't think he's up for the job is because Pres.Obama Picked a Republican (Hagel).You sound a lot like Sen.Mitch McConnell who praised Hagel after he left the Senate,and who now says negative things about him. Try and find a way to look at the man or woman rather than the party,it's more honest and healthy.

  18. "The reason you don't think he's up for the job is because Pres.Obama Picked a Republican (Hagel)." @ samspeaks

    Not at all. I'm against him for the same reason Sec Panetta said he would not continue in the job. He [Panetta] doesn't want to have the Defense budget gutted on his watch. Panetta said that several times. Hagel will cut the Defense budget. Why? Because that's what Obama wants and Hagel will do it. Now, with all the troubles in the world, and I'll be happy to list them all for you, is the absolute worse time to cut the Defense budget. Why does Obama want it gutted? Obama wants to use the defense savings to reprogram into social programs.

    Watch the Benghazi hearings. Follow the questions asked of Clinton next week. Why US troops weren't sent to save the murdered Americans. And listen to the answers she gives.


  19. Carmine,

    Leon Panetta is not leaving because of any so called defense budget cuts.He's leaving because he never signed on for another 4 years.Leom Panetta has made it clear the he is concerned about congress threatening the Defense Dept.with budget cuts with the debt ceiling uncertaintly.

    You know as well as any body that Sen.Chuck Hagel
    has no authority to cut defense spending as you have suggested he will do.I might remind you to check your sources.

    "A top news story of the day is that Pres.Obama is SUPPOSEDLY cutting almost half-a-trillion dollars from the defense budget.But this is simply not true.Pres.Obama is not cutting a single dime out of military budget.He's actually INCREASING military spending over the next several years.Washington has again cleverly disguised a SPENDING increase as a CUT".

    Military SPENDING will continue to rise under Pres.Obama's plan,just at a slower rate.(source) Pres.- Obama-is-not-actually-cutting-military-spending

  20. "Military SPENDING will continue to rise under Pres.Obama's plan,just at a slower rate.(source) Pres.- Obama-is-not-actually-cutting-military-spending" @samspeaks


    In Washington DC budget parlance, slower growth is a "cut." And for the Def budget/Sec who presides over it, at the worst possible time to do so with world events on the cliff everyway.


  21. Carmine,

    "In Washington DC budget parlance,slower growth is a "CUT". And for the Def budget/Sec who presides over it,at the worst possible time to do so with world events on the cliff everyday".

    Spoken like a true Republican, calling a INCREASE in defense spending a "CUT". Sen. Mitch McConnell has to be proud of you. Changing the wording to convince yourself won't work. Americans are waking up to the tea baggers.The midterm elections will do the same amount of damage to the Republican party as the last re- election did on Nov.6,2012 when Pres.Obama won by a big majority.

  22. BTW Sam: Senator Schumer from NY, who I like personally, is a Harry Reid wannabe. He has never served on the Armed Services Committee in his entire tenure in the Senate which I believe started in 1998. He doesn't know a good Sec of Def from a city dog catcher. He says after a 90 minute meeting with Hagel, based on the answers to his questions, that Hagel is the right choice for the job. Yeah, right. Schumer wants Reid's job as Speaker and he's not going to make waves on this nomination so he can get it.


  23. "Spoken like a true Republican, calling a INCREASE in defense spending a "CUT". Sen. Mitch McConnell has to be proud of you. " @ Samspeaks

    I'm not a Republican. I'm an Italian American like you. Born and raised Democrat. It's not political party talk. It's budget talk. Less growth is a cut. You may not agree but I don't make the budget rules. Washington does.


  24. BTW Sam I can't stand McConnell. When he talks I keep wanting to pull the words out of his mouth. He's the only Senator who takes an entire session to speak his name and the state he's from.


  25. Ever notice Sam that whenever McConnell is addressing the Senate there is nobody there except him. ;-) I opine other Senators have the same feeling as me about Mitch.


  26. Carmine,

    "I'm not a Republican,I'm an Italian American like you.Born and raised Democrat".

    I don't believe I ever questioned your heritage.Yes I am Italian American like you.We just differ on our views,and party support.I do regard you as a true patriot,like most of our fellow commenters here in the LVS opinion page.

    I also believe that it is very important to not get mad and hold any animosity toward one another,because of opposing views.

  27. Sam:

    I don't think we disagree on the important issues as much as it seems. I'm a contrarian thinker. Something I picked up from my studies of Latin and some of the great thinkers including Hegel [not Hagel]. The law of opposites: Thesis, antithesis and synthesis.


  28. BTW Sam, if I were a Senator, and had the opportunity to vote for a Sec of Def, I would vote for Chuck Hagel. He has three attributes, among others, that I admire: He was an NCO in the Army, as I was;he abhors war, as I do; and he is very loyal to his family and friends, as I hope and try to be. He wll likely be confirmed, albeit with a nasty fight, and I wish him well and hope and pray he performs admirably in the job.