Military veterans on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees are urging their Senate colleagues to vote against President Joe Biden’s Pentagon nominee Colin Kahl, telling the Washington Free Beacon that Kahl is a pro-Iran “ideologue” whose “only policy store he’s qualified to run is in Tehran.”
The congressmen are speaking out because Kahl’s nomination for undersecretary of defense for policy is stuck in the Senate Armed Services Committee, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) still undecided. Republican senators have already spoken out against Kahl, pointing to his anti-GOP and anti-pro-Israel ramblings on Twitter, as well as his support for anti-Israel policies and the Iran nuclear deal. As Kahl’s nomination approaches a vote, vocal opposition from war veterans in Congress is likely to draw the attention of key senators.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), a Navy Reserve lieutenant and member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Free Beacon this week that Kahl is “an ideologue who has personally attacked several Republican officials.”
“The last thing the Pentagon needs is another hyper-partisan,” said Banks. He went on to say that Kahl has drawn moral parallels between Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and our allies on several occasions. The Pentagon exists to defend all Americans, and its leadership should embody those ideals. Colin Kahl is completely out of touch.
As for Kahl’s role in drafting the Iran nuclear deal, it would be irresponsible to confirm the principal architect of the flawed deal to lead what is intended to be a nonpartisan policy store at the Pentagon, according to Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), a retired US Navy rear admiral who served as a White House physician for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
He went on to say that Iran used our money to purchase missiles and bombs, as well as to support terrorist proxies and militias such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda, while Colin Kahl famously said that Iran would buy “butter, not weapons.” “The only policy shop he’s qualified to run is in Tehran,” Jackson added.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a retired Army National Guard colonel, called Kahl “a dangerous pick for our national security.”
Wilson, who also cited Kahl’s opposition to the airstrike that killed IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, said that for the past decade, Kahl has opposed bipartisan legislation suggesting sanctions against Iran, as well as the bipartisan designation of the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps], a group with American blood on its hands, as a terrorist organization.
Wilson stated that we must not forget the hundreds of American troops killed in Iraq by IEDs planted by the IRGC and its militias. In foreign policy, there are a number of capable, skilled, and mainstream Democrats, but Colin Kahl is not one of them.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), an Army veteran who also serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Kahl’s nomination is “unacceptable” because he has “a grave misunderstanding of Iran’s capabilities and consistent endorsement of terrorism.”
Steube stated that the threat posed by Iran is very real and very serious, as some of his House colleagues have seen firsthand through their military service and deployments to the Middle East. He went on to argue that appointing someone with this viewpoint in such a high-ranking position jeopardizes our national security, offends Israel’s allies, and reinforces our enemies.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) said he opposes Kahl’s nomination because it indicates the Biden administration’s intention to keep the Obama administration’s Iran policy in place.
According to Gallagher, a retired Marine officer, President Obama’s policy made America dangerous and was a radical departure from the policies of every president since Jimmy Carter. He went on to say that he believes it is his duty to oppose appointments by officials in the Biden administration who want to normalize Obama’s policy abnormality.
Kahl’s attempts to secure sanctions relief for Iran as part of the original nuclear deal jeopardized American troops in the area, according to Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), a combat-decorated veteran who also worked in the Pentagon’s policymaking department.
Waltz, who said to have witnessed firsthand how Iranian weapons and missiles threaten U.S. forces in the region—weapons that Tehran could not have purchased without the cash windfalls provided by the former Obama administration—said Iran is “inflicting direct casualties on us with cash that we unleashed, and weapons that they’re buying from our adversaries, the Chinese and Russians.”