Former National Security Advisers Defend Chuck Hagel

Allies are pushing back at the character critique leveled at the former senator from Nebraska.

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Below is a Letter to the Editor that rain in Washington Post yesterday, the 25th of December.  While this letter criticizes the Post for this article drawing a connection between Hagel's Vietnam experiences and his foreign policy views and defends Hagel's character, the letter also notably implies that the White House is too tolerant of the attacks on potential Cabinet nominees.

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 could really change the game for the White House choice of Leon Panetta's successor as Secretary of Defense? This article by Tom Friedman at the New York Times:  today, "Give Chuck a Chance."  I recommend a full read.

It makes it clear that attempts by the neoconservative community to portray monolithic Jewish-American opposition to Chuck Hagel's nomination just shattered.

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Steve Clemons is Washington editor at large for The Atlantic and editor of Atlantic Live. He writes frequently about politics and foreign affairs. More

Clemons is a senior fellow and the founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a centrist think tank in Washington, D.C., where he previously served as executive vice president. He writes and speaks frequently about the D.C. political scene, foreign policy, and national security issues, as well as domestic and global economic-policy challenges.

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