Bill Kristol and his Weekly Standard magazine has led the campaign against Hagel’s potential nomination as the next Defense Secretary. They and other neocons claim the Nebraska Republican is anti-Semitic and anti-Israel and they have attacked Hagel for issuing caution about attacking Iran over its nuclear program.
But Hagel now has defenders coming from all across the ideological spectrum, from a bipartisan group of former national security advisers and former senior military brass to former U.S. ambassadors and a number of prominent journalists, including those from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Daily Beast and the New Republic.
And today, the VoteVets.org petition piles on in defense of Hagel:
We, the undersigned, strongly reject the neocon smears being launched against Vietnam Veteran and former Senator Chuck Hagel. We will strongly back his nomination for Secretary of Defense, should you choose to nominate him. In fact, we urge you to not be deterred from nominating him, simply because of the right-wing noise machine.
The reason they’re swiftboating Senator Hagel is clear. Chuck Hagel, as a Vietnam Veteran, would put troops first. He has a record of challenging neocon dreams of preemptive use of force – and winning that debate. He has a record of challenging wasteful Pentagon spending, taking on the military-industrial complex, to ensure our defense dollars are responsibly spent on equipment we actually need. As Defense Secretary, he would do the same, and thoroughly embarrass and expose Kristol and his neocon buddies.
It would be unfortunate for our Troops and our nation if we allowed neocons to rob us of a potentially great Secretary of Defense. We urge you to not give in to them.
In a statement released this afternoon, VoteVets.org says that more than 12,000 have signed the petition so far, including more than 8,000 veterans and military families. VoteVets says it and the petition’s signatories “are standing up for former Senator Chuck Hagel, and urging President Obama to stand up to right-wing swiftboating of him.”