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With new group against Hagel, will his Cuba policies draw more fire?

A new conservative group, Americans for Strong Defense, has been formed to take on Chuck Hagel's defense secretary nomination by President Obama.

While most of the attention against the former Republican Nebraska senator has centered on his positions regarding Israel and (to a lesser degree) gays in the military, Hagel's stances on Cuba could get more attention. A prominent anti-Castro activist, Maurico Claver-Carone, sits on Americans for Strong Defense's board and recently his Capitol Hill Cubans blog  featured an editorial bashing Hagel. Rep. Ileans Ros-Lehtinen has expressed concern with Hagel. Sen. Marco Rubio has as well.

Americans for a Strong Defense is running ads targeting senators in five states (Florida isn't one of them). The ads, however, don't mention Cuba and instead focus on the threats of Iran, North Korea and Russia.

Here's the press release:

Americans for a Strong Defense will make the case to voters and elected officials that Senator Hagel holds out-of-the-mainstream views that send a dangerous message to our adversaries and weaken our ability to defend ourselves.  While ASD lauds Hagel’s service to our nation both in uniform and public office, his record on a range of foreign policy and defense issues is deeply troubling.

The former Nebraska Senator supports massive defense cuts and the elimination of our nation’s nuclear weapons, which would result in huge job losses, invite challenges from our rivals and weaken America.  Furthermore, Hagel’s stances – his opposition to sanctions, his belief that America is too powerful and plays too prominent a role in the world, his view that America can convince rogue states to disarm only if we disarm first – send a dangerous signal to nations such as Iran and North Korea.

“Senator Hagel isn’t the right choice for the Pentagon.  We can do better.  His views on our national defense and key foreign policy issues are deeply troubling, and they send the wrong signal to America’s allies and adversaries,” said Brian Hook, board member for Americans for a Strong Defense (ASD).

Mauricio Claver-Carone, a board member for Americans for a Strong Defense (ASD) stated, “Senator Hagel’s views are clearly outside the mainstream and will only serve to embolden America’s foes throughout the world.  Americans for a Strong Defense will work to ensure that Senators understand a vote for Hagel will weaken America’s strong stance against terrorists and tyrants.”

The ad (Louisiana version):


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Karen Holmes

The real issue is the direction U.S. foreign policy is leaning as President Obama is starting to surround himself with a more peace-loving cabinet.

Can America bring peace by going to war?

Obama declared he is turning his attention from the Middle East to the Asian countries. We have treated Asian nations as our allies, but in truth they are our competitors, and this is our next major crisis.

We are borrowing money from China now to pay for our wars. China can call in its debts at any time, and how can we pay them off? China now has its first aircraft carrier, and its navy is gaining experience as they address their dispute with Japan. China manufactures parts for some of our most vital military weapons. Can we afford to fight the rest of the world?

Milton Sanchez-Parodi

ASD is trying to use Iran and North Korea to piggyback their anti-Cuban policy.

Senator Hagel has much more experience in war, business, government and foreign policy than all the anti-Cuban members of congress combined.

We can continue to squander our treasure on manufactured wars and sacrifice our young people in search of global control.

Perhaps it may be better to strengthen our nation with a novel idea. Make friends not enemies. Our troops marching in foreign soil will not make us stronger and only create more antagonism. Have we not learn form the the European Wars, Korean War, Vietnam, the changes in Latin America and the Middle East. Now we want to fight China and Iran? Talk about big government.

Juan Lopez- Pena

It is time to begin dialogue on a new US / Cuba policy, Senator Hagel and Senator Kerry are the men to begin this dialogue.


Capitol Hill Cubans? Lol, those kooks are irrelevant. This isn't 2004. The Bush years are long gone, thank goodness. Hagel will be our next SecofD.

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