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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:09 PM

Chuck Hagel Allies Fire Back; Critics Push For Michèle Flournoy

After days of attacks on the man said to be Barack Obama’s top pick to be his next Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel’s friends are speaking out on his behalf.

As for his adversaries, they’re pushing somebody else to run the Pentagon: Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy.

First, Hagel’s allies: In response to sustained criticism by pro-Israel voices, Hagel’s former aides on Wednesday released a fact sheet outlining his positions on national security, Israel and the Middle East.

"Chuck Hagel is being misrepresented as anti-Israel and 'soft' on Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. These accusations misrepresent Sen. Hagel's positions on national security, Israel and the Middle East," according to the fact sheet.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/chuck-hagel-allies-fire-back-critics-push-for-michele-flournoy-85336.html#ixzz2FcncmI77

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Reply Chuck Hagel Allies Fire Back; Critics Push For Michèle Flournoy (Original post)
Purveyor Dec 2012 OP
leveymg Dec 2012 #1

Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:59 PM

1. Flournoy best known for her "premature" attack on Iran remark to Israel

Michèle Flournoy was part of the group of Obama Administration officials that visited Israel early last summer at the time that Netanyahu was making sabre-rattling noises in the direction of Iran. She is quoted by the NYT as making an interesting argument to an audience of Israeli defense and foreign policy officials in which she argued against a preemptive Israeli strike against Iran. Her reasoning is less that such an Israeli attack would be bad in itself than an argument that it is "premature" and interferes with US efforts to put together a consensus for such an war, and "undermine the legitimacy" of an attack if increasing sanctions fail to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/07/world/middleeast/us-continues-to-assure-israel-about-efforts-on-iran.html?_r=0

Ms. Flournoy, who now advises the Obama campaign, devoted most of her remarks in Tel Aviv to making the case that Israel should not launch a premature or unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Such an attack, she said, would set back the Iranian nuclear program, at most, one to three years. And it could splinter the coalition the United States has assembled to impose crippling sanctions on Tehran.

“Here’s the rub,” Ms. Flournoy said at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. “If Israel or any other country were to launch a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear program prematurely, before all other options to stop Iran have been tried and failed, it would undermine the legitimacy of the action.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Ms. Flournoy said she was encouraged because several Israelis approached her at the conference to express opposition to an Israeli strike and skepticism of the government’s assertions that the window was fast closing for a military attack that would incapacitate Iran’s nuclear abilities.

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