October 22, 2014

Hagel plans to meet with senators privately before public hearings

Former Senator Chuck Hagel

Former Senator Chuck Hagel

Defense Secretary nominee and Nebraska native Chuck Hagel is planning to meet with several U.S. senators over the next few days prior to his confirmation hearings.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’ll ask the fellow Republican about his thought process regarding U.S. actions in the Persian Gulf region.

“He supported invading Iraq but he was against the surge which is what made it possible for us to succeed,” Grassley says, “so, why the change in attitude?”

Hagel is a North Platte native, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and served a dozen years in the U.S. Senate. Hagel would become the first Vietnam veteran and the first enlisted soldier to serve as the head of the Pentagon.

Grassley also has questions for Hagel regarding Iraq’s neighbor to the east, which has been a source of tension for decades.

“He’s against sanctions for Iran,” Grassley says. “How are you going to, if you don’t use military action and diplomacy won’t accomplish it, why shouldn’t sanctions be used?”

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

Hagel has been criticized by some as being anti-Semetic and Grassley says he’d like to hear from his former colleague directly on that issue, too.

“What’s he got against our relationships with Israel and why does he talk against that relationship?” Grassley says. “Why does he keep referring to the strength of a Jewish lobby in Washington D.C.?”

Hagel served with the Army in Vietnam in the late 1960s and was awarded two Purple Hearts. He won two terms as U-S Senator in Nebraska, serving from 1997 to 2009.

He has been the co-chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and a member of the Secretary of Defense’s Policy Board. Hagel teaches at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.