by Lance Turner
Posted 12/21/2012 08:17 am
Updated 2 years ago
Incoming U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., an Iraq war veteran, outlines his opposition to Chuck Hagel as defense secretary today in a column in the Wall Street Journal.
Hagel, a Repunlican and former Nebraska senator, is said to be on the president's short list for the post. He's already been facing criticism for his take on gay rights.
Cotton doesn't get into that. His criticism begins with a 2006 Washington Post column Hagel penned advocating for a "phased troop withdrawl" from Iraq, and Hagel's opposition to George W. Bush's troop surge there.
Though his record on Iraq alone should disqualify Mr. Hagel from leading our troops in a time of war, his views on current issues are no less alarming and show he has not learned from his errors. Unlike the current secretary of defense, Mr. Hagel seems willing to accept devastating cuts to defense spending, calling the U.S. military “bloated” and in need of being “pared down.” He also has expressed a desire to accelerate the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan (a war for which he also voted).
This is not the record of a leader who can be counted on to stand by our armed forces. While Mr. Obama has every right to choose his secretary of defense, I urge him not to nominate Mr. Hagel. If he is nominated, I urge the Senate not to confirm him. Our fighting men and women deserve so much better.