U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is urging his colleagues in the U.S. Senate to keep an open mind when it comes to the process of examining the president’s pick for secretary of defense. Chuck Hagel is a former Republican senator from Nebraska with whom Durbin has served. His nomination has caught some flack because of charges that he is a weak supporter of Israel. Hagel has also been criticized for his opposition to some sanctions against Iran.
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Despite the criticism, Durbin says his colleagues must keep an open mind. “I would urge all my colleagues, give our former colleague Chuck Hagel that courtesy of allowing his nomination to go forward and the right questions to be asked and answered,” Durbin said. “Then let’s decide if he can serve as well as secretary of defense.”
Hagel served as a sergeant in Vietnam and has been endorsed by former Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state; and by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.