- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2013

Those making nuclear-related and other decisions in the Islamic Republic of Iran should follow with glee the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to be our next secretary of defense (“Hagel a poor pick for Pentagon chief,” Commentary, Jan. 9). While Mr. Hagel’s reputation as anti-Israel is still unsettled, his refusal to brand Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group is certainly welcome news to the mullahs, as is his reluctance to view Hamas and Hezbollah as founts of terror. Both organizations are armed by Iran and both agitate for the elimination of Israel.

Even more to the mullahs’ liking may be having Mr. Hagel’s voice in the discussions of possible military intervention against Iran if Tehran’s relentless quest for nuclear weapons cannot be stemmed by the combination of sanctions and negotiations. Mr. Hagel appears averse to the projection of military power to achieve our ends, or so it seems when parsing his opposition to the surge in Iraq, a strategy that allowed us to emerge with some honor from what had become a quagmire.

We can only hope that Mr. Hagel will be closely questioned on these issues and others — including his attitude toward homosexuals and his views on abortion for female members of the military — during his confirmation hearings, and that senatorial courtesy for a former colleague does not still the tongues of his inquisitors.

PAUL BLOUSTEIN

Cincinnati