As Right Turn and others have reported, Chuck Hagel did his confirmation confession routine for Jewish leaders who were so unimpressed they would only issue a neutral statement. At least we have established that the Hagel everyone knew couldn’t be confirmed. That’s important. But it is equally important to examine whether, to be blunt, this is a transparent deception to get him his high office.

Chuck Hagel (Dave Kaup/Reuters)
Chuck Hagel (Dave Kaup/Reuters)

Now senators may see through this act, as they would if Rick Santorum came up for health and human services secretary and proclaimed his devotion to a woman’s right to choose or if former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) were nominated for United Nations ambassador and declared himself to be an internationalist. But for those on the fence, it is important to test Hagel. For someone willing to lie under oath and/or ready to change his views at the drop of a hat cannot be fit for a Cabinet role. Right?

Let’s take a few of his turnarounds. He repeatedly opposed unilateral sanctions against Iran. Now he says he’s on board. Here are the pertinent questions:

When did he change his mind? If it was before his nomination why did he not tell anyone?

 

Was his initial position wrong and dangerous? Had it been followed would the U.S. be less safe now?

 

How do we know he won’t change his views again?

 

Why would the Iranians believe him and believe we remain committed to sanctions?

 

What changed in the world between his negative votes against sanctions (which the nominee for secretary of state, the current president and outgoing secretary of state all favored) to get him to recognize the utility of sanctions? Did he not foresee Iran was embarking on its aggressive course? Was he fooled by Iran’s words back then?

Let’s take his Global Zero proposal, embraced just a few years ago to eliminate much of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Peter Huessy in U.S. News and World Reports explained:

 First, experts like Gen. Larry Welch, the former Air Force chief of staff and Strategic Air Command chief, point out that such an effort would be largely unverifiable, and would lead to a “rush to re-arm” among numerous nations in the event of a crisis.

 

Second, and even more worrisome, are the detrimental effects that Global Zero would have on America’s strategic capabilities. If the United States eliminates any nuclear role from our 450 missile-strong land-based ballistic missile deterrent and strategic bombers, as has been suggested by proponents of Global Zero, it would mean that, for the first time in the nuclear age, the United States would be, perhaps inadvertently, moving toward higher instability in the global nuclear balance.

 

Most problematic of all, however, is that the idea of Global Zero has little grounding in reality. The current political landscape makes it obvious that an agreement with Iran or North Korea, let alone China, to cap or even curtail their nuclear weapons or associated programs is highly unlikely. Yet proponents of Global Zero still say that international disarmament can be achieved by 2030—a date that lies closer in our future than the end of the Cold War does in our past.

In other words this is radical, entirely out of the mainstream stuff. So for Hagel:

Does he still support this?

 

If not, when did he change?

 

Isn’t this a dangerous plan, as virtually every military leader has said?

 

How could he support something so radical in scope and reliant on the good will of nations like Russia and China?

 

If we followed his advice wouldn’t we be in peril from nuclear blackmail?

 

Why should we trust his advice in the future about the U.S. nuclear arsenal?

You see even if you are going to suspend disbelief about Hagel’s change of heart (and I don’t for a minute think you should, in part because the hard anti-Israel left that knows him and likes him better than anyone doesn’t think he’s abandoned them) why would we put someone in charge of our military who changes his mind, embraces rotten ideas and shows terrible judgment over and over again? Ya got me.

Oh yes, the president wants him. Umm, yes, that is scary in and of itself. But he doesn’t necessarily get someone whose character, judgment and preparation are so questionable and whose views, if adopted, would have imperiled the United States. Simply because Obama doesn’t seem concerned about our national security doesn’t mean the Senate has to enable him or give him cover in the guise of “bipartisanship.”

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.