NSC Advisers Defend Chuck Hagel


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The letter below ran as a Letter to the Editor at the Washington Post yesterday, on 25 December.  While this letter criticizes the Washington Post for this article and defends Hagel’s character, the more interesting line I think is the one implying that the White House tolerance of pre-official nomination torture.

Regarding the Dec. 21 front-page article “Vietnam scars still show in Hagel’s policies“:
We strongly object, as a matter of substance and as a matter of principle, to the attacks on the character of former senator Chuck Hagel.

Mr. Hagel is a man of unshakable integrity and wisdom who has served his country in the most distinguished manner in peace and war.
He is a rare example of a public servant willing to rise above partisan politics to advance the interests of the United States and its friends and allies. Moreover, it is damaging to the quality of our civic discourse for prospective Cabinet nominees to be subjected to such vicious attacks on their character before an official nomination.

This type of behavior will only discourage future prospective nominees from public service when our country badly needs quality leadership in government.

James L. Jones, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci

The writers are former U.S. national security advisers.

What has really changed the game for the White House choice of Leon Panetta’s successor as Secretary of Defense is this article by Tom Friedman at the New York Times:  “Give Chuck a Chance.”  I recommend a full read.

What becomes clear is that the attempts by the neoconservative community to portray monolithic Jewish-American opposition to Chuck Hagel’s nomination just shattered.

— Steve Clemons is Washington Editor at Large at The Atlantic, where this post first appeared. Clemons can be followed on Twitter at @SCClemons


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