The anti-Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary campaign subsided a bit on Monday after President Obama nominated the former Republican senator to be the next Pentagon chief. But while some of Hagel’s detractors continue to lob vicious and unsubstantiated attacks, Hagel continues to pick up high-profile endorsements. The Veterans of Foreign Wars piled on the pro-Hagel camp on Monday. “It is not the place for America’s oldest and largest combat veterans organization to advise or recommend to the President who he should nominate for cabinet positions,” said a statement from the VFW executive director. “However, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. considers Chuck Hagel — a twice-wounded Vietnam War infantryman and former two-term U.S. senator from Nebraska — to be uniquely qualified to lead the Department of Defense.”
In other news:
Reuters reports that Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon had warm words for Hagel. “I have met him many times, and he certainly regards Israel as a true and natural U.S. ally,” Ayalon said.
The New York Times reports: Iran’s oil minister acknowledged for the first time on Monday that petroleum exports and sales had fallen by at least 40 percent over the past year, contradicting his previous denials and providing an unusual public admission that the cumulative impact of Western economic sanctions has grown more severe.
Bloomberg News reported on Monday that “Israel is again turning up the pressure on the Obama administration to issue an ultimatum threatening military action if Iran refuses to abandon its suspected pursuit of an atomic weapons capability.”
The Times also reports that the unanimous international backing against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against using his stockpile of chemical weapons against rebels there may have stopped the chemical mixing and the bomb preparation.
(Photo: The New York Times)