Ken Blackwell

He seems to be telling us it isn’t a problem all the wild things I’ve said because I will not be in a policy-making position. If he is confirmed and not making policy, that fact would speak volumes about this administration’s lack of seriousness on national defense.

Since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947, the civilian head of the Pentagon has performed a vital role in the highest counsels of government. In 1948, it was the new department’s critically important task to integrate the U.S. Armed Forces—and to undertake the defense of encircled West Berlin through the now-famous Berlin Airlift.

Throughout the decades since, some Secretaries of Defense have been deeply controversial—like Robert Strange MacNamara during the Vietnam War. Some have been great and capable leaders—like Caspar Weinberger during the highly successful Reagan years. But we have never had a Secretary of Defense who promises on entering office to be inconsequential.

For President Obama to go forward with this deeply flawed nomination now is to take upon himself the responsibility for inviting chaos and confusion at a time of international peril. The prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of the mullahs in Tehran who invented suicide bombing should concentrate the thoughts of even our distracted Washington policy makers.

Democrats should privately, or publicly if necessary, appeal to the president to reconsider this nomination. We are reminded of the brave stance of the late Paul Weyrich. This conservative leader testified against the nomination of former Sen. John Tower in 1989, not because of Tower’s record on defense issues, with which Weyrich largely agreed. But Weyrich said he had seen the Texan’s all-too-frequent inebriated state. It took courage for Paul Weyrich to put country above party then, and it’s what we ask of Democrats now.

President Obama has successfully avoided serious questioning about his foreign policy.

We have praised his raid to take out Osama bin Laden. We remain concerned that the president does not take seriously enough the menace of Iranian nukes.

Yesterday’s hearing makes clear why the Iranians might want Chuck Hagel leading the Pentagon; it does not make clear why most Americans should. It seems the president chose an old Senate chum who could be relied upon to rubber stamp the administration’s social engineering of the military.

The first duty of the President of the United States is to safeguard the American people and our Constitution. If he goes forward with this flawed nomination, President Obama will be saying loudly on national defense: Whatever.

Mr. President: Now is the time to prevent future grief for our nation and our all-volunteer military. Now is the time to withdraw this nomination. Chuck Hagel.


Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
 
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