- Unlike The Washington Post, The New York Times has yet to publish an opinion piece opposing Hagel's nomination. Apparently, Andrew Rosenthal is of the belief that balance is not required on his editorial page.
- Not one of the Times's opinion pieces praises Hagel's intellect or accomplishments as a US senator.
- Not one of the Times's opinion pieces examines in any depth Hagel's complacency toward Iran, which regularly calls for the extermination of Israel; Hagel's call for talks with Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis; or Hagel's refusal to sign a Senate letter calling upon the EU to brand Hezbollah, which was responsible for the 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing that killed 241 American soldiers, as a terrorist organization.
"Critics are pounding President Obama’s choice for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, as soft on Iran, anti-military and even anti-Semitic. This is a grotesque caricature of a man who would make a terrific defense secretary.
It’s true that Hagel harbors a healthy skepticism about deploying American troops. That’s because he also harbors shrapnel in his chest from Vietnam and appreciates the human costs when Pentagon officials move pins on maps."
Hagel is indeed a Vietnam War hero; however, there are thousands of other wounded American veterans who are smarter than Chuck and better equipped to manage the bureaucracy of the Defense Department (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/chuck-hagels-vietnam-experience-is-not-much-of-a-qualification-for-defense-secretary/2013/01/09/6ce0089a-59b4-11e2-9fa9-5fbdc9530eb9_story.html?hpid=z2).
Hagel is not an anti-Semite? I have never met Hagel and can't make that determination, but then Kristof also does not claim to know this man on an intimate basis. Kristof tells us that Hagel's reference to a "Jewish lobby" is not enough to brand Hagel as an anti-Semite. Yet, Kristof makes a point of not referring to Hagel's response to efforts to keep the USO open in Haifa, i.e., "Let the Jews pay for it" (see: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/mr-hagel-and-jews_693993.html). At a minimum, this demeaning comment should bestir concern.
Kristof goes on to say:
"As for Iran, Hagel will need to sound more hawkish in public to mesh with the administration, and it is useful for Iran to worry about a military strike. But I hope that Hagel, in private, continues to be cautious. Obama has been painting himself in a corner so that if a nuclear deal with Tehran isn’t reached, he would have to order bombings sometime in 2013 or 2014. A skeptic at the Pentagon would be a useful addition to that debate."
Or in other words, Hagel should now disguise his opposition to any confrontation with Iran, because it is useful that Iran remain worried. The problem with this inane argument is that Iran is fully aware of Hagel's position and has endorsed his appointment as US Secretary of Defense (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2013/01/iran-endorses-obamas-nomination-of.html#comment-form). Iran's Press TV has even declared that Hagel is "anti-Israeli" (http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/01/05/281902/antiisraeli-tops-obama-pentagon-choice/).
Discussion by Kristof of Hagel's disparaging comments regarding gays? Not a chance.
Women in Obama's cabinet? Why should Kristof care?
Mention of the fact that Obama is now seeking to populate his cabinet with something considerably less than the best and the brightest, i.e., Hagel, Kerry and Brennan? No way. I don't care for Hillary Clinton, but intellectually, there is no denying that she can run circles around Kerry, who referred to Assad as his "dear friend." Brennan? Peculiar how when Brennan was listed as a candidate for the position of CIA director four years ago, he walked away owing to questions regarding interrogation of terror suspects while Bush was president.
Thanks, Obama, for drafting these mediocre White men to do your bidding. It just can't get any worse.
Hypocrisy on Kristof's part? You bet!