Dear Honorable Senators Blunt and McCaskill:
As the United States Senate proceeds to deliberate over President Barack Obama’s nomination for Secretary of Defense, former Senator Chuck Hagel, we respectfully request that you have our concerns in mind as you review the credentials and views of this nominee.
As a decorated hero, having received the Purple Heart, Senator Hagel will make an excellent Secretary of Defense. He will be the first enlisted man ever to serve as Defense Secretary, giving him a profoundly unique perspective over any of his predecessors. He will personally understand the enormous risks and challenges faced by the brave men and women who proudly wear our Nation’s military uniforms, both in combat and upon their return to civilian life.
While some have questioned Senator Hagel’s nomination as representative of a wavering of the Administration’s resolve to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, Senator Hagel’s perspective gives the President a broad spectrum of options. Senator Hagel told himself in Vietnam: “If I ever get out of this and I’m ever in a position to influence policy, I will do everything I can to avoid needless, senseless war.” As the strongest nation on earth, that sort of perspective is sorely needed. We believe that Senator Hagel will add a critical-thinking voice that supports a results-oriented strategy to contain Iran. He supports the current sanctions that continue to apply serious, tangible pressure on the Iranian regime and has never ruled out military intervention, if necessary.
A careful examination of Senator Chuck Hagel’s record reveals a sober, analytical mind whose loyalty lies with the United States of America, independent of the self-interests of lobbyists, special interest groups, five star generals, or foreign influences. The primary function of the Secretary of Defense is to secure and protect the U.S., and not any other country. While our allies need to be protected, the test of a United States cabinet member is whether he or she will base policy decisions on promoting the interests of the U.S. first, and there can be no doubt in the integrity of Senator Hagel in this regard.
We applaud Senator Hagel’s service to our Nation as a soldier and statesman and are proud that a Republican is willing to serve his Nation for a Democratic President. The dangerous geo-political environment faced in these times call for our leaders to put the interests of our Nation first rather than the interests of party, political desires, or special interests.
For these reasons, we, the undersigned, strongly urge you to join us in support of the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and vote for his confirmation by the Senate.