Military Leaders Oppose Hagel as SecDef – Letter to Senate

By Frank Gaffney – Center for Security Policy

(Washington, D.C.): A distinguished group of fourteen retired generals and admirals, representing all branches of the United States Armed Forces, has signed a letter opposing the nomination of Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.

The letter – addressed to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), respectively, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee – raises several concerns about the nomination of Sen. Hagel, including:

Sen. Hagel’s support for further cuts to the defense budget. Sen. Hagel stated in late August 2011 that the Pentagon is “bloated” and needs to be “pared down”, contrary to Sec. Panetta’s and Chairman Dempsey’s views that sequestration – the additional hundreds of billions in across-the-board cuts to defense that go well beyond the $787 billion in cuts already sustained by the Department since Sec. Gates’ tenure – would be “disastrous for the defense budget” and “very high risk” to national security;

Former U.S. Senator Hagel walks past U.S. President Obama after being nominated to be Defense Secretary at the White House in Washington

Sen. Hagel’s support for the global elimination of nuclear weapons. Sen. Hagel is a public supporter of the “Global Zero” Initiative, the goal of which is the “elimination of all nuclear weapons.” This stance is ill-advised for any Secretary of Defense, as Russia and China continue to modernize their nuclear capabilities while North Korea and Iran move closer to obtaining them.

Sen. Hagel’s hostility towards Israel. Sen. Hagel has demonstrated an abiding hostility towards Israel, a view that would be detrimental to our national defense and perhaps perilous to our only stable, reliable ally in the Middle East were he to become Secretary.

Sen. Hagel’s outlook towards Iran. Sen. Hagel repeatedly opposed sanctions against Iran while serving in the Senate, and in 2006 stated that “a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option” – an ill-advised statement that undercuts the effectiveness of both diplomatic and military policies to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities.

The signers of the letter are:

    • Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, USN (Ret.)
    • Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, USA (Ret.)
    • Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, USN (Ret.)
    • Lt. Gen. E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr., USAF (Ret.)
    • Maj. Gen. Thomas F. Cole, USA (Ret.)
    • Maj. Gen. Vincent E. Falter, USA (Ret.)
    • Rear Adm. H.E. Gerhard, USN (Ret.)
    • Rear Adm. Robert H. Gormley, USN (Ret.)
    • Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Higginbotham, USMC (Ret.)
    • Rear Adm. Don G. Primeau, USN (Ret.)
    • Maj. Gen. Mel Thrash, USA (Ret.)
    • Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, USA (Ret.)
    • Brig. Gen. William A. Bloomer, USMC (Ret.)
    • Brig. Gen. Ronald K. Kerwood, USA (Ret.)

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, which facilitated this letter, stated: “These military leaders deserve our profound thanks for once again acting in service to our nation – in this instance, for the purpose of raising awareness of the risks associated with confirming Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.

This group knows firsthand that the United States military requires leadership that recognizes the need for a defense budget commensurate with the threats we face; the need for a credible, reliable and effective nuclear deterrent; and the need to support our allies and not accommodate our adversaries. Sen. Hagel lacks these qualities, and hopefully the United States Senate will heed the concerns of these flag and general officers during the course of his confirmation process.”

Read the letter here:

29 January, 2013

Dear Chairman Levin and Ranking Member Inhofe:

As individuals who were privileged to serve our country as flag and general officers in the United States military, we write to you to express our deep concerns about the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense.

Our nation faces enormous national security challenges as we enter 2013. Addressing those challenges will require leadership at the Pentagon that recognizes the gravity of the threats we face and understands the requirement for a formidable military capable of deterring and, if necessary, overcoming them. Senator Hagel’s record on key issues indicates he is not such a leader.

First, Sen. Hagel stated on 29 August, 2011: “The Defense Department, I think in many ways has been bloated…I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down.” This statement seems to ignore the fact that, the Budget Control Act of 2011 had already cut $487 billion from the defense budget over ten years — let alone that this round of reductions comes on top of the more than $300 billion in cuts that took place under then-Secretary Robert Gates.

Recall that Secretary Leon Panetta on 4 August, 2011 stated that hundreds of billions more in cuts over ten years that sequestration will bring about will be “disastrous to the defense budget.” JCS Chairman General Martin Dempsey has indicated that sequestration poses “very high risk” for national security. Consequently, Sen. Hagel’s assertion that still further cuts are warranted is at odds with the judgment of the Pentagon’s current civilian and military leadership. It suggests a disqualifying lack of understanding of the dire effects such reductions would have on our defense capabilities.

Second, Sen. Hagel is a signatory of the “Global Zero” Initiative, which describes itself as “the “international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.” At a time when Russia and China are increasing and modernizing their nuclear capabilities, North Korea is enhancing its long-range nuclear delivery systems and the weapons they will carry and Iran is moving ever closer to obtaining such arms, we cannot responsibly abandon our deterrent. It would be ill-advised and possibly very dangerous to have as a Secretary of Defense someone who believes otherwise.

Third, Sen. Hagel has demonstrated an abiding hostility towards Israel, a view that would be detrimental to our national defense and perhaps perilous to our ally were he to become Secretary. For example: In 2009, he urged President Obama to undertake direct negotiations with Hamas. In October 2000, he was one of just three Senators to refuse to sign a letter expressing support for Israel during the second Palestinian intifada. In 2002, following several deadly Palestinian suicide-bombing attacks in Israel, he authored a Washington Post op-ed asserting that “Palestinian reformers cannot promote a democratic agenda for change while both the Israeli military occupation and settlement activity continue.”

Israel is our only stable, reliable ally in an increasingly turbulent and hostile Middle East. Given Sen. Hagel’s record of hostility towards the Jewish State, his confirmation could signal to Israel’s enemies and ours that this important bilateral relationship is unraveling. That perception could invite aggression and perhaps another, otherwise avoidable regional war.

Another matter of profound concern is Sen. Hagel’s outlook towards Iran — a country that, among other acts of war against our country, employed its proxy, Hezbollah, to bomb the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, resulting in the deaths 241 American servicemen. Sen. Hagel has repeatedly refused to support sanctions against Iran while in the Senate, and in 2006, he stated that “a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.” This ill-advised statement telegraphs to Tehran that it should not fear a U.S. military response to the continued pursuit of Iranian nuclear weapons. Whichever policies are pursued with the objective of preventing a nuclear Iran can only have hope of success if backed by a credible military deterrent. It would be unwise to confirm a nominee for Secretary of Defense who has already publicly taken that option off the table.

For all of these reasons, it is our professional assessment that confirmation of Sen. Hagel to be Secretary of Defense would be contrary to the United States’ vital national security interests.

Sincerely,

Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, USN (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, USA (Ret.)
Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, USN (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr., USAF (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Thomas F. Cole, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Vincent E. Falter, USA (Ret.)
Rear Adm. H.E. Gerhard, USN (Ret.)
Rear Adm. Robert H. Gormley, USN (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Higginbotham, USMC (Ret.)
Rear Adm. Don G. Primeau, USN (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Mel Thrash, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. William A. Bloomer, USMC (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Ronald K. Kerwood, USA (Ret.)

For more information, contact Ben Lerner at (202) 835-9077 or lerner@securefreedom.org<mailto:dreaboi@securefreedom.org

Give the Pulitzer Prize back – Levin proven wrong again!

By Scott W. Winchell, Editor-in-Chief – How many times does one have to endure being investigated, cleared of all charges each time, and then investigated again? Apparently Senator Carl Levin thinks at least four.

Yet, despite failing to prove his accusations and all his demagoguery, he is still adamant that there was some sort of propaganda machine pushing the US to war in Iraq. Those of us who are intimately aware of the facts leading up to that war, the existence of WMD, and the end of Saddam Hussein’s murderous rule, know that the only propaganda that took place was the anti-war machine, led by people like Senator Levin and the NY Times.

They just didn’t like facts because they hate the military and they had already made up their minds. Despite proving Albert Einstein’s definition of stupid, they keep accusing and demanding further investigations, expecting a different outcome each time.

David Barstow - NY Times Pulitzer Prize Winner De-Bunked

The left was looking for Donald Rumsfeld’s head on a platter and they beat the propaganda drums with their loyal aids in the Main Stream Media, trying to ruin the reputation of many retired flag and command officers who spoke the truth on the air. When do these folks get their reputations back? Who is going to compensate them for lost income?

When will the Pulitzer Prize Committee demand the return of the award they gave NY Times’ David Bartsow for printing the story that accused so many great people of wrongdoing.

From Democracy Now:

David Barstow, investigative reporter at the New York Times, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for his articles Message Machine: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand and One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex.

In his first national broadcast interview, New York Times reporter David Barstow speaks about his 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning expose of the Pentagon propaganda campaign to recruit more than seventy-five retired military officers to appear on TV outlets as military analysts ahead of and during the Iraq war.

Apparently with the Pentagon releasing information to the public that you don’t agree with or like is propaganda. That is what Barstow and Levin apparently thought when they saw Pentagon documents and heard of briefings where Military EXPERTS attended and were given permission to speak about the content on air. Unfortunately, its not propaganda when one speaks truth, a concept that the left cannot comprehend. Its all fine when they (the left) twist the truth, demagogue, manipulate data and stats, and promote conspiracy theories. What is pricelss is that since they do it all the time, they think everyone does.

The left just flat out hates the military, so they try everything they can to de-fund it, cast aspersions upon it, and attempt to ruin the reputations of its American citizen soldiers. Apparently defending America is a bad thing, even after eons of proof that appeasement of mad men does not work. Let’s go and talk with Iranian mad men until they die of boredom?

Pentagon’s inspector general finds no misconduct in briefing program

Concludes three-year investigation

By Rowan Scarborough

The Washington Times

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin pressed for a probe of a government briefing program, but no misconduct was found. (Associated Press)Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin pressed for a probe of a government briefing program, but no misconduct was found. (Associated Press)

Senator Levin - Wrong AGAIN!

The Pentagon’s inspector general has released his final report on a Donald H. Rumsfeld-era program for briefing TV and radio military analysts, concluding for a second time that there was no wrongdoing.

The three-year investigation by the inspector general marks the fourth time a federal agency has found no improper conduct in the program.

The probes involved some of Washington’s most influential voices.

Some of the accused Military Analysts - Exonerated - AGAIN!

There was a powerful journalism institution. The investigations were spurred by a 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times story that strongly implied the practice of giving briefings to retired military analysts (RMAs) violated Pentagon rules against propaganda.

The story also suggested the ex-officers, some of whom worked as defense contractors, received financial favors from the Pentagon because of their roles.

There was Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin, who pressed the inspector general to find that the program was improper.

And there were the analysts themselves, some war heroes, boasting three and four stars during long military careers, who went on the air to comment on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

They repeatedly denied they had done anything wrong.

  • In the end, no agency found wrongdoing.
  • The first inspector general’s report, in 2009, said the briefing program was legitimate.
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ auditing arm, later said the program followed regulations.
  • Democrats pressed the Federal Communications Commission to find that the analysts had violated federal law, but the FCC has issued no report.
  • Mr. Levin, Michigan Democrat, pressed Pentagon Inspector General Gordon S. Heddell for another probe, and his findings were just released.

On the main issue, the new report says: “We found that the [Pentagon public affairs office] conducted the RMA outreach activities in compliance with policy and regulation.”

On the second issue of whether the retired officers gained financially, the report concludes: “Based on interviews, we did not identify that the RMA outreach activities provided a financial benefit to those RMAs affiliated with a defense contractor. Our review of relevant procurement ethics rules and regulations identified nothing that would preclude the RMAs with such an affiliation from participating in the events.”

On possible wrongdoing cited in the 2008 New York Times story, the report says: “We also reviewed the specific examples mentioned in the New York Times article. Based on our interviews, we did not find that the RMA outreach participants used the RMA outreach activities to further their own or the affiliated Defense contractor’s interests.”

Mr. Levin’s spokeswoman had no comment Thursday.

The Washington Times reported Sept. 24 that a draft report had cleared the briefings’ participants of wrongdoing.

The Times also reported Nov. 3 that Mr. Levin had intervened in the probe via a senior aide who, according to a source close to the investigation, was communicating with the inspector general’s office in an effort to get some findings changed.

Mr. Levin did not comment to The Times but later acknowledged the contacts to Fox News.

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is conducting a review to determine whether there was an attempt to influence the inspector general.

Said retired Army Col. Ken Allard, one of the investigated military analysts: “Where do we go to have our reputations restored after four federal investigations and who knows how many millions spent? I meant every word of that letter I sent to Issa: This was a media-political cabal of congressional Democrats and the New York Times. And, oh, by the way, it turned out that, just as in war, the first reports were wrong.”

Said Keith Urbahn, spokesman for former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld: “Two things ought to happen, though they never will. One, the New York Times should give back its Pulitzer for a story that is now proven to be a fabrication. And two, Sen. Carl Levin should reimburse U.S. taxpayers for what must be the millions of dollars squandered in pursuit of repeated investigations that he ordered to fit his partisan agenda. And while they’re at it, the New York Times and the senator from Michigan ought to apologize to the uniformed military officers whose reputations were maligned by their attacks.”