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

Armendariz EPA Crucify Video Pulled – Too Late

Editor’s Note – The big news yesterday about the EPA addressed the ideology of those who were appointed to very powerful positions by Obama. The EPA has unprecedented power, and this issue was personified by Al Armendariz, who heads the EPA’s Dallas office. The story and the video were all over the news, yet You Tube pulled the video and scrubbed the site. TOO LATE! It’s everywhere now!

YouTube pulls Armendariz ‘crucify them’ video

By Caroline May – Daily Caller

The YouTube channel where Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe’s office originally discovered the video of EPA official Al Armendariz speak about his “crucify them” enforcement philosophy has scrubbed the original video and lodged a complaint against Inhofe to YouTube.

The source and now YouTube complainant, David McFatridge of “Citizen Media for We The People,” is an environmentalist and, according to Inhofe’s office, has eliminated all content related to Armendariz’s speech from his YouTube channel.

The original video now turns of an error notice that reads: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by David McFatridge.”

McFatridge’s complaint comes despite the fact that his page reads, “Consider ALL video Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)”.

Inhofe spokesman Matt Dempsey told TheDC they are working to connect with a YouTube representative.

Dempsey also explained that Inhofe’s office covered their bases with their use of the video.

“In short, the video we cut and posted to our YouTube channel came from a YouTube channel, “Citizen Media for We The People,” that said reuse is allowed and we attributed the site in the description of the video,” he explained in an email to reporters. “Further in our original website post for our media advisory, we also included a link to the original source.”

EPA official blasted over ‘crucify’ oil and gas comments

By Todd Sperry, CNN Senior Producer

Washington (CNN) — The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency are distancing themselves from controversial remarks that surfaced this week by a regional administrator attacking the oil and gas industry.

Al Armendariz

In a video made in 2010, Al Armendariz, who heads the EPA’s Dallas office, suggested his approach to dealing with noncompliant oil and gas companies is “like when the Romans conquered the villages in the Mediterranean, they’d go into little villages in Turkish towns and they’d find the first five guys they saw and crucify them.”

Sen. James Inhofe, who posted the video online Wednesday, blasted the EPA administrator’s comments on the Senate floor during a 30-minute speech attacking the Obama administration’s energy policy. “His comments give us a rare glimpse into the Obama administration’s true agenda,” the Oklahoma Republican said.

The White House and the EPA were quick to clarify they didn’t agree with Armendariz’s remarks. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday, “The official’s comments are inaccurate as a representation or characterization of the way the EPA has operated under President Obama.”

The EPA released a statement on its website, saying, “It is deeply unfortunate that in a 2010 video an EPA official inaccurately suggested we are seeking to ‘make examples’ out of certain companies in the oil and gas industry.”

Armendariz, appointed by President Obama in 2009, apologized for the remarks, “It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation’s environmental laws.”

But Inhofe rejected the apology. “Administrator Armendariz apologized yesterday for his ‘poor choice of words’ when he admitted that EPA’s ‘general philosophy’ is to ‘crucify’ and ‘make examples’ of oil and gas companies, but he did not apologize for EPA’s actions towards its apparent crucifixion victims.”

Inhofe added, “Take the word ‘crucify’ out of Administrator Armendariz’s statement and nothing has changed: You still have a rogue agency following through on President Obama’s ‘general philosophy’ to increase the price of gas and electricity.”

The EPA did not respond to multiple attempts from CNN to answer questions regarding Armendariz’s future with the agency, whether he’ll face disciplinary action or if EPA Chief Lisa Jackson has spoken with him directly.