Chuck Hagel’s Bad Company

Chuck Hagel has acquired another dubious supporter in his bid to become Secretary of Defense: former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel. Gravel’s political history is checkered, to say the least. He served two terms as a Democratic senator from Alaska, and eventually joined the Libertarian Party. Gravel first became known as a rabid opponent of the Vietnam war. In later years, he bitterly opposed the Iraq war and has expressed support for 9/11 trutherism. Perhaps most pertinent to Gravel’s support for Hagel is the fact that he authored a book titled A Political Odyssey: The Rise of American Militarism and One Man’s Fight to Stop It.

Perhaps even more notable than Gravel’s support for Hagel is the venue in which he expressed it: Iranian state television. FrontPage has the story:

Iran’s English language propaganda arm said last week that the choice of Chuck Hagel for secretary of Defense indicates that the United States would allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb rather than confront the Islamic Republic. The Iranians used a former Democratic Senator, Mike Gravel, as the centerpiece of this report.

Press TV, the Iranian regime’s English language mouthpiece, spoke “exclusively” with former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska for a report on what Hagel’s nomination means to any future confrontation between the two nations. The report stated:

I think if [Chuck] Hagel gets appointed or confirmed by the Senate for the Defense Department, I think that will be a plus from Iran’s point of view because I do not think he would get involved in any plan to go to war with Iran,” said former US Senator in San Francisco Mike Gravel in an exclusive interview with Press TV.

Gravel also told Press TV that he didn’t believe Hagel’s nomination would have major consequences for the US’s relationship with Israel. However, he also said that “Hagel would not be a friend of Israel. He would not be an enemy but he would certainly be a lot more circumspect with our relationship with Israel.”

It is quite remarkable that President Obama has nominated a Secretary of Defense who is applauded by eccentric opponents of American strength like Mike Gravel, and bitter enemies of the U.S. like the government of Iran. In a parallel universe inhabited by reporters, this would be a news story.

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