Former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s ability to sway Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to support his nomination for Defense secretary doesn’t say much for the constancy of Hagel’s views, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial
In talking to Schumer, Hagel dropped his former opposition to unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran or military strikes against it. And he jettisoned his former support for the idea of direct talks with the leaders of Hamas.
Hagel reversed his former opposition to repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gay soldiers. And he expressed regret to Schumer for using the term “Jewish lobby” in reference to pro-Israel groups.
“So there you have it. The man whose chief recommendation to be Defense Secretary is supposed to be his courageous willingness to say what's on his mind no matter the political consequences has now shown he'll say whatever Chuck Schumer wants him to say to be confirmed by the Senate,” Journal editors write.
In his Senate testimony, Hagel will try to worm out of his former positions, the editorial predicts.
But, “senators should insist on an accounting of his past support for ‘engagement’ with Hamas, Iran and the Assad regime in Syria,” the editors say.
“They should want to know what lessons he draws from warning that the surge in Iraq would be one of the greatest foreign policy blunders of all time. They should have a clear sense of what he thinks the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan in the wake of U.S. withdrawal would mean for regional and American security.”
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