Dear NORPAC Members
NORPAC is opposing the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. This position represents the single most important Cabinet and Administrative position other than the President. Senator Hagel’s history on opposing action on the threat of Iran can be best described as a fringe position. His refusal to acknowledge the danger of a Nuclear Armed Iran to America and all it’s allies, and his consistent opposition to every legislative effort to contain Iran is in contrast to almost every other member of the Senate. We are concerned that his judgment on these matters is either severely flawed or affected by prejudices. We are asking you to call the legislative leaders outlined at the bottom of this email to ask them to oppose this nomination.
Talking or Writing Points
I hope this email finds you well.
I am writing to express my concern with the possible nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. The most outstanding thing about the Senator’s record on the threats America and its allies face is the consistent solicitude he has shown toward Iran and the terrorist organizations and states it funds: Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria.
In October 2000, when Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (PA) launched a terror war against Israel after rejecting without counter-offer a plan for Palestinian statehood accepted by Israel, Hagel was one of only four senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.
In July 2001, Hagel was in a minority of only two senators to vote against extending the original Iran-Libya sanctions bill, designed to deny both regimes revenues that would assist their weapons of mass destruction programs.
In April 2002, Hagel was one of only 10 senators to oppose banning the import to America of Iraqi oil until Iraq stopped compensating the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. In November 2003, he failed to vote on the Syria Accountability Act (passed by 89 to 4) imposing sanctions on Syria for its support of terrorism and occupation of Lebanon.
In 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran’s nuclear program at the G-8 summit.
In 2006, at the outbreak of the Lebanon war, Hagel argued against giving Israel the time to break Hezbollah, urging instead an immediate ceasefire. The following month, he was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization. The same year, he gave an interview to former Middle East negotiator, Aaron David Miller, which appeared in Miller’s 2008 book, ‘The Much Too Promised Land,’ in which he said that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill.
In 2007, Hagel declined to support the bipartisan Iran Counter Proliferation Act aimed at targeting governments and businesses that assist Iran’s nuclear program. The following year, a congressional aide told the Huffington Post that Hagel was “solely responsible” for blocking an Iran sanctions bill.
In 2009, Hagel signed a letter urging President Obama to begin direct negotiations with Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist group committed in its Charter to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. Just a few weeks ago, the Atlantic Council, which Hagel chairs, published an article entitled ‘Israel’s Apartheid Policy,’ equating Israel with South Africa’s historic racist policy. Hagel also serves on the board of directors of Deutsche Bank, which is currently under probe in Washington for possible violations of sanctions Hagel opposed as senator.
Senator Hagel’s statement “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” denigrates faithful citizens whose families have been persecuted throughout the millennia, and intimates that American Jews have an agenda other than the survival of their beloved America and the Jewish Homeland, Israel.
A great threat to America and its allies is Iranian expansionism, its state sponsored terrorism, and its developing nuclear weapons program. At the risk of stating the obvious, this solicitude for America’s enemies is out of step with the solid bipartisan consensus on Iran and those on its payroll. We need a Secretary of Defense who is able to recognize the danger and is inclined to addressing this issue.
Finally, Hagel’s stance against Women’s rights and Gays is indicative of someone who should not run the nation’s largest employer, the Department of Defense.
Other Problems with Chuck Hagel
His opposition to the rights of women are well known.
Senator Hagel repeatedly voted against amendments to allow servicewomen to pay for abortion services at military hospitals out of their own pockets. He also opposed abortion in cases of rape and incest because those cases are “rare.”
His discrimination against Gay Rights is offensive.
When Hagel served in the United States Senate he consistently voted against gay rights; his record earned him a zero-per-cent rating (three times) from the Human Rights Campaign, the leading LGBT rights lobby. Among other things, Hagel voted against extending basic employment nondiscrimination protections and the federal hate-crimes law to cover gay Americans.
In 1998, after President Bill Clinton nominated a prominent gay-rights advocate from San Francisco, James Hormel, to be the ambassador to Luxembourg, Hagel, then a Senator, seemed to go out of his way to malign not only Hormel-“openly, aggressively gay”-but gay Americans generally, with comments that were blatantly offensive even then; they suggested that the very fact of being gay should disqualify one from representing America abroad. Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/01/judging-chuck-hagels-gay-rights-record.html#ixzz2I3K8Cyf2
There are many qualified individuals of both parties who would make a superb Secretary of Defense and further the interests of the United States – but Senator Hagel is not one of them.
Very truly yours,
Contacting your Senator
Since the Presidential pick for Secretary of Defense must first pass through the Senate Armed Services Committee, it is important to focus initial efforts on contacting those Members who serve on the Committee. However, regardless of their committee appointment, it is imperative to get the support of your local U.S. Senators in deterring the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel. Listed below is the contact information for Senators in the NY-NJ-CT tri-state area.
If you live in New York:
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
478 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee
322 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
If you live in New Jersey:
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
528 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.menendez.senate.gov/contact/
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
324 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
If you live in Connecticut:
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
702 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact/
Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
B40A DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510