“The only thing standing between Israel and national suicide any more is America and its willingness to tell Israel the truth,” Friedman wrote Dec. 25. “But most U.S. senators, policy makers and Jews prefer to stick their heads in the sand, because confronting Israel is so unpleasant and politically dangerous. Hagel at least cares enough about Israel to be an exception.”
Hagel’s unease about a pre-emptive strike to derail Iran’s nuclear ambitions makes him too “soft” in some critics’ eyes. But this caution stems from doubts about the efficacy of such a strike, which might entail a substantial follow-up deployment of ground troops.
Far from being “soft,” Hagel simply doesn’t want to botch something America can’t afford to get wrong. Such prudence would be welcome at the Pentagon.