War is Hell

LIFE magazine war photographer, Larry  Burrows, covered the fighting on the front lines during the Vietnam War and is  now being remembered for his extraordinary work as the 41 year anniversary of  his death approaches.

Mr Burrows captured the compelling images of  Operation Prairie, the U.S. offensive against the North Vietnamese near the  Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), that lasted from August 3 to October 27, 1966.

His photographs of the bloody aftermath of  the attack, juxtaposed against the lush and picturesque scenery of the Southeast  Asian nation, are being revisited on LIFE.comas the  London-born photojournalist is remembered.

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U.S. Marines
 U.S. Marines carry the injured during a  firefight near the southern edge of the DMZ, Vietnam, October 1966
American Marines
 An American Marine during Operation  Prairie

 

During Operation Prairie
American soldier
 Marines carry an injured soldier back to the  medics for treatment following an assault on Hill 484, Vietnam, October 1966  (top). An American soldier (bottom) with a bandaged head wound looking dazed  after participating in Operation Prairie just south of the DMZ

An estimated 1,329 Americans were killed  during the operation. More than 58,000 Americans lost their lives in the  conflict in Indochina that ended in 1975.

One of the most famous images in the  collection by Burrows is the shot ‘Reaching Out,’ the moment when  wounded  Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie, photographed with a blood-stained  bandage tied  around his head, is drawn to his fellow soldier, who lays  wounded on the  ground.

Though some of the pictures by the  renowned  war photographer did appear in the magazine in the 1970s, some  never made it to  publication and are being seen for the first time  in theLIFE.comgallery.

The war correspondent has been praised for  his indefatigable commitment to chronicle the conflict through pictures that  communicated the horror of the fighting and honored the lives lost in the  conflict in a way words just never could fully transmit.

Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie
Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah  Purdie (center, with bandaged head) reaches toward a stricken comrade after a  fierce firefight
American Marine gets bandaged during Operation Prairie
 A dazed, wounded American Marine gets bandaged  during Operation Prairie
Four Marines
Four Marines recover the body of Marine fire  team leader Leland Hammond as their company comes under fire near Hill 484. (At  right is the French-born photojournalist Catherine Leroy)

 

 

 

Burrows himself suffered a tragic end as he  worked on the front lines, he was killed on February 10, 1971 over Laos  when  his helicopter was shot down. He was 44-years-old.

Fellow photographers Henri Huet, 43,  of the  Associated Press, Kent Potter, 23, of United Press International  and Keisaburo  Shimamoto, 34, of Newsweek were also killed in the crash.

Ralph Graves, then LIFE magazine’s  managing  editor, remembered the Englishman as ‘the single bravest and most  dedicated war  photographer I know of,’ in a moving tribute he wrote following Burrows’ death.

‘He spent nine years covering the  Vietnam  War under conditions of incredible danger, not just at odd times but over and  over again.’

‘The war was his story, and he would  see it  through. His dream was to stay until he could photograph a  Vietnam at peace,’  Mr Graves added in the 1971 issue dedicated to the  fallen  correspondent.

 

U.S. Marine Phillip Wilson
 U.S. Marine Phillip Wilson as he fords a  waist-deep river with a rocket launcher over his shoulder during fighting near  the DMZ. Five days after this photograph was taken, he was killed in  combat

 

American Marines
American Marines tending to a wounded soldier  during a firefight south of the DMZ

 

Though the lost photographers were  mourned,  their remains were not discovered until 37 years later thanks to the tireless  effort spearheaded by AP writer Richard Pyle.

The remains of Mr Burrows, Mr Buet, Mr  Potter and Mr Shimamoto now sit in a stainless-steel box beneath the  floor of  the Newseum in Washington, D.C., part of a memorial gallery  honoring  journalists killed in the line of duty.

A total of 2,156 individuals, dating back as  far as 1837, are included in the museum’s memorial.

War correspondentWar correspondent: Terry Fincher of the Express (left)  and Larry Burrows (right) covering the war in Vietnam in April 1968

 

Larry Burrows Vietnam War
Larry Burrows Vietnam War Photographs
In memory: The remains of Larry Burrows and the three  other war photographers killed in the helicopter crash over Laos in 1971 were  finally discovered some 37 years later. They now reside at a memorial (bottom) to  fallen journalists at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Attribution: Leslie Larson, Mail Online

Bomb Proof SUV

The owner of a run-of-the-mill Toyota wasn’t satisfied with the style and protection the car came with, and spent $160,000 to add a champagne bar, a widescreen TV and grenade proof armor.

The Toyota Sequoia SUV, which retails at $48,000, has been converted to withstand driving over a landmine as well as the lavish additions on the inside.

Its exterior remains as anonymous as before, but open the door and the changes are far more noticeable.

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Crib car: Although the Toyota looks the same on the outside, its inside has been significantly spruced upAlthough the Toyota looks the same on the outside, its inside has been significantly spruced up
Expensive wheels: The SUV already costs £30,000 but it wasn't enough for its owner who spent another £100,000 to convert it into a luxurious - and bomb proof - supercarThe SUV already costs $48,000 but it wasn’t enough for its owner who spent another $160,000 to convert it into a luxurious – and bomb proof – supercar. The result is a fortress on wheels which includes a widescreen TV, wood trim, leather thrones, champagne compartments and mounted tablet computers on the side. The outside has been armored to withstand 7.62x51mm rifle rounds, hand grenades and landmines.

Kim Pemberton, director of sales at Lexani Motor Cars said: ‘It is the only Toyota Sequoia we have done although the owner has another one coming next week as well as a Sprinter for us to do.7.62 x 51mm

‘The most popular models are Cadillac Escalade ESV, Chevrolet Suburbans, and GMC Yukon Denali.

‘Our client base comes from affluent professionals and heads-of-state who appreciate luxury but also want something unique that very few will have.’

Pass the popcorn: The car relies on a driver as the divider between the back and front has been turned into a widescreen television and champagne bar The car relies on a driver as the divider between the back and front has been turned into a widescreen television and champagne bar
Terror Toyota: As well as the tablets on the walls, the outside is strong enough to withstand landmines, hand grenades and rifle rounds  As well as the tablets on the walls, the outside is strong enough to withstand landmines, hand grenades and rifle rounds
They see me rollin: The owner has not spared the change for the driver leather with a comfortable wide leather seat and wood panels: The owner has not spared the change for the driver either with a comfortable wide leather seat and wood panels

‘The cost for a Lexani Motors interior on an SUV generally runs around $150,000 give or take depending on options.

‘The interiors are handmade by our craftsmen in house and we are a small boutique company so we don’t mass produce our products like many.’

‘When we are through with our executive vehicles they not only offer the luxurious appointments the client has chosen in designing their environment but also will function as a mobile office.’

Attribution: Daily Mail

Medal Of Honor

A former Army staff sergeant who helped fight  off one of the largest and most brutal attacks against U.S. forces in  Afghanistan will receive the Medal of Honor next month, the White House said  Friday.

President Barack Obama will bestow the medal on Clinton Romesha of Minot, North Dakota, for his ‘courageous actions’ in  Afghanistan in 2009 while he was serving as a section leader during combat  operations against armed enemy forces at Combat Outpost Keating in the country’s  Nuristan Province.

Romesha, 31, will become the fourth living  service member to receive the nation’s highest award for valor for overseas duty  in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Romesha
Romesha's team
 Deadly battle: The attack against Romesha and his  comrades remains one of the deadliest against coalition forces in  Afghanistan

Seven other service members have been  posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in those  wars.

The husband and father of three was a section  leader in B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team,  4th Infantry Division, during the October 3, 2009, attack on the remote  mountaintop in eastern Afghanistan.

The attack remains one of the deadliest  against coalition forces in Afghanistan and is chronicled in the book ‘The  Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor’ written by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Eight U.S. soldiers were killed and two dozen  others were wounded in the battle in Nuristan as they fought against an  overwhelming Taliban insurgent force that launched the hostile attack to overrun  them.

The Taliban had been harassing the troopers  at Keating for several months, attacking them three or four times a week,  according to an account of the battle on Examiner.com.

Location of attack: The October 3, 2009, attack took place on the remote mountaintop in eastern Afghanistan's Nuristan ProvinceLocation of attack: The October 3, 2009, attack took  place on the remote mountaintop in eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province

In total, 50 American, 20 Afghan and two  Latvian soldiers were stationed at the post in addition to a dozen or so Afghan  Security Guards.

Nearby, 19 American and 10 Afghan soldiers at  Observation Post Fritsche also came under heavy fire as well.

The enemy quickly brought mayhem on the two  posts firing a recoilless rifle, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, machine  guns and rifles.

Two minutes into the attack, the first U.S.  soldier was killed as the enemy targeted the COP’s mortar pit and pinned down  the soldiers stationed at Fritsche, preventing them from providing supporting  fire to Keating.

The Afghan troops and security guards  reportedly abandoned their posts, leaving the Americans and Latvians to fight  alone.

Up close look: The attack occurred at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province while Romesha was serving as a section leader during combat operations The attack occurred at Combat Outpost  Keating in Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province while Romesha was serving as a  section leader during combat operations

Within the first three hours of the battle,  mortars hit the two stations every 15 seconds, and in less than an hour, the  enemy swarmed Keating, eventually setting fire to the outpost and destroying  almost 70 per cent of it.

Romesha and his fellow soldiers fought back  for hours as heavy enemy fire came down on them from all directions.

The staff sergeant moved under intense enemy  fire to observe the battlefield and then went to seek reinforcements from the  barracks, according to the citation  accompanying Romesha’s Medal of Honor.

He returned to action with the support of an  assistant gunner, who is identified in ‘The Outpost’ as Corporal Justin  Gregory.

Romesha ‘took out an enemy machine gun team  and, while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by  a rocket-propelled grenade, inflicting him with shrapnel wounds,’ according to  the citation.

Despite his injuries, Romesha continued to  fight, and as another soldier arrived to aid him he ‘rushed through the exposed  avenue to assemble additional soldiers.’

Romesha then mobilized a five-man team, which  he led back to the battle.

Recorded history: The deadly attack on Romesha and his team is chronicled in the book ¿The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor¿ written by CNN¿s Jake Tapper The deadly attack on Romesha and his  team is chronicled in the book ¿The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor  written by CNN’s Jake Tapper

‘With complete disregard for his own safety,  Romesha continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire as he moved confidently  about the battlefield, engaging and destroying multiple enemy targets, including  three Taliban fighters who had breached the combat outpost’s perimeter,’ the  citation reads.

As the insurgent group attacked the outpost  with even ‘greater ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades  and recoilless rifle rounds,’ Romesha ‘identified the point of attack and  directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters.’

As soon as he learned that soldiers at the  other battle position were still alive, he and his team provided covering fire,  allowing three of their wounded comrades to reach the aid station, according to  the citation.

Romesha and his team also ran 100 meters  under fire to recover the bodies of their fallen comrades.

Romesha, the son of a leader of the Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church in Cedarville, California, has been  described as intense, short and wiry, according to Gannett’s Army  Times.

The 31-year-old war veteran will be awarded  the Medal of Honor at the White  House on February 11, according to  the announcement.

Attribution: Daily Mail

No Peace

Shimon Peres: Israel’s government does not want to make peace with Muslim world

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comments by: the Common Constitutionalist [ ]

Intervening in the country’s general election campaign, Israel’s elder statesman warned of the perils of his country isolating itself from America.

President Barack Obama was “not convinced” that Israel’s current leaders truly wanted peace, he said.

“If there is no diplomatic decision, the Palestinians will go back to terror. Knives, mines, suicide attacks,” Mr Peres said in an extensive interview with the New York Times Magazine .

“The silence that Israel has been enjoying over the last few years will not conrocket attackstinue, because even if the local inhabitants do not want to resume the violence, they will be under the pressure of the Arab world. Money will be transferred to them, and weapons will be smuggled to them, and there will be no one who will stop this flow.” [ The Silence that Israel has enjoyed? Really? In 2012 alone, over 2200 Palestinian rocket and motar attacks have rained into Israel. Nice silence Mr. Peres. ]

Most of the world would then blame Israel for the violence and brand it a “racist state”, warned Mr Peres. [ Most of the world already has been convinced they are a racist state by the politically correct left and the Islamic radicals ]

Israel’s current government has offered peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, but has also expanded Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Indeed in recent weeks Mr Netanyahu has angered the US by announcing plans for more than 6,000 new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Mr Peres said this policy risked losing US support by undermining Washington’s belief in Israel’s desire for peace. [ Let’s clear this up once and for all;  Israel does not “Occupy” the West Bank. Israel specifically told King Hussein of Jordan that if his country stayed out of the 1967 war, Israel would not fight against him. Hussein ignored the warning Hamasand attacked Israel in 1967. While fending off the assault and driving out the invading Jordanian troops, Israel came to control the West Bank. Had Hussein heeded the warning, the Palestinians of the West Bank would in all likelihood be living as Jordanian citizens.  By rejecting Arab demands that Israel be required to withdraw from all the territories won in 1967, the UN Security Council in Resolution 242 acknowledged that Israel was entitled to claim at least part of these lands for new defensible borders.]

Asked if Mr Obama believed that Israel shared his ambitions for peace in the Middle East, Mr Peres replied: “Of course he’s not convinced. He demanded an end to settlements and got a negative response, and they [members of Mr Netanyahu’s government] are to blame for the ongoing activity in the settlements. President Obama thinks that peace should be made with the Muslim world. We, the State of Israel, do not appear to be thinking along those lines. [ THE COVENANT OF THE HAMAS (1988): ‘Israel will exist and will continue to  exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.’  Yes, Mr President, the Muslim World wants peace. Right! ]

“We must not lose the support of the United States. What gives Israel bargaining power in the international arena is the support of the United States.”

He added that standing alone from the US, Israel would be “like a lone tree in the desert”.

Mr Peres, 89, became president in 2007 after a 50-year career in the center-left of Israeli politics during which he served as prime minister three times. His comments will draw accusations from Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud-Beiteinu bloc that Mr Peres is breaking the convention that the ceremonial president should remain above party politics. Israel will hold an election on Jan 22 and the polls suggest both that Mr Netanyahu will be re-elected – and most voters are pessimistic or apathetic about the prospects of peace.msg from hamas

Mr Peres shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with the then prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, for jointly forging the ill-fated Oslo agreement. [ Says a lot for the Nobel prize, that the terrorist Arafat won one. Something to be proud of ]

In his series of interviews with the New York Times Mr Peres told the Israeli journalist, Ronen Bergman, that Mr Netanyahu was not providing positive leadership.

“I think that if the people of Israel heard from the leadership that there is a chance for peace, they would take up the gauntlet and believe it,” he said. “There are two things that cannot be made without closing your eyes – love and peace.” [ Quote from a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood: “Every night when I go to bed, I pray to wake up the next day to see Israel is wiped off the map” ]

Although Mr Netanyahu publicly committed himself in 2009 to the principle of Palestinian statehood, he has been dismissive of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and the leader of the moderate Fatah faction. The two men have not met for more than two years. Mr Peres, by contrast, said he had met Mr Abbas several times with Mr Netanyahu’s knowledge and described the Palestinian as an “excellent” negotiating partner. [ Moderate Fatah? You mean the moderate Fatah that has aligned with the Hamas? That one? ]

Mr Peres alluded to Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons by claiming credit for creating hamas-fatah-unity-flagthe country’s nuclear program. “I do not think there are many people in the world who can say they managed to create a nuclear option in a small country,” he said, while reciting the achievements of his long career. Israeli leaders have always held to a policy of “strategic ambiguity”, neither confirming nor denying the possession of an atom bomb.

Mr Netanyahu renewed his attack on Mr Abbas on Thursday by criticizing him for meeting Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader, in Cairo this week.

“Abu Mazen [Mr Abbas] embraces the head of a terrorist organization that declared only last month that Israel must be wiped off the map,” said the prime minister. “This is not how someone who wants peace behaves.” [ Bully for Mr Netanyahu! At least someone has the stones to tell the truth!  There can never and will never be peace with islamists. They must be defeated at all cost. Only then would there be peace. ]

This Ain’t Your Grandpas Field Rations

The Military Is Pushing the Bounds… of Food Science

Tremendous breakthroughs are often born out of military pursuits. In the past, military research has directly or indirectly led to technological innovations like the microwave oven, nuclear power, and the Internet.

You can also add M&M’s to that list — yes M&M’s. Those delightfully crunchy and satisfyingly chocolatey candies that melt in your mouth (not in your hand) were originally intended for American troops in World War II.m & m

Legend has it that Forrest Mars, Sr., while traveling in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, found soldiers eating tiny chocolate pellets coated in hard, sugar shells. Returning to the states in 1940, Mars perfected the candy and negotiated an amicable deal with the Hershey Corporation, which already had an agreement to provide chocolate to the army. When World War II rolled around, M&M’s became an instant hit with the troops because the candies could travel well and withstand high temperatures without melting.

shutterstock_120239824.jpg

Today, M&M’s remain a troop favorite, but the battleground has changed. While the first rendition of the delectable candies could withstand the temperatures of Europe, Africa, and the Pacific fairly well, they were found to be no match for the incessant heat of the Middle East. So, in the midst of Operation Desert Storm, food technologist Tom Yang led a team that redesigned M&M’s so they wouldn’t turn into a “sticky mess.”

“Regular chocolate is protein in the center coated with fat, so that fat can easily melt,” Yang explained to PBS’ NOVA. “So we came up with sort of a reverse phase chocolate, putting the protein on the outside and the fat in the center. And protein is not that easy to melt.”

A Meat Roll-Up

Yang isn’t solely focused on the sweet side of food, however. He’s recently been investigating a method called osmotic dehydration for use in military MREs (meals, ready-to-eat). The process involves rolling meat into thin sheets, extracting water via osmosis, osmotic dehydration of meatthen running the product through a brine composed primarily of an oligosaccharide food additive called maltodextrin. The end product is a meat roll-up, very much like a fruit roll-up.

Yang plans to adapt osmotic dehydration to all sorts of foods. “The beauty of this technology is you can use beef, you can use  pork, you can use poultry or you can even use fish or a combination of  fruit, vegetable and meat together,” Yang said.

Years of Freshness

An American army soldier’s “meat and potatoes” is the MRE. Available in 24 different varieties, the meal must — as described by Director of Combat Feeding Program Jerry Darsch — have at least “a minimum shelf life at three years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, six months at 100. It has to be stored, distributed for minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  It has to be able to be thrown — free fall out of a chopper at 100 feet, and obviously airdropped with parachutes from about 2,000 feet and higher.”

320px-MRE_20071124.PNGIt also has to be at least mildly pleasurable to eat. Military food scientists’ constantly try to balance taste and longevity — a difficult task — but recently they made a breakthrough by creating a sandwich that can stay fresh for three years! The key to the near immortal sandwich was limiting moisture, which is necessary for bacteria to grow. The scientists utilized three surprisingly simple ingredients — honey, sugar, and salt — to retain moisture and seal it off at the same time, thus keeping the sandwich fresh and safe-to-eat. Oxygen, a primary cause of food deterioration, was also limited. A small package of iron filings placed within the sandwich bag traps the gas in a layer of rust.

Another part of the food pleasure equation is warmth. All MREs come equipped with a flameless heater. It’s a small pad filled with magnesium dust, salt, and a little iron dust. Add water, and an oxidation reaction begins that releases a good amount of heat, which can be used to warm the food packages.

Military food scientists continue to push the envelope. During the Civil War, salted pork and hardtack was the faire du jour. Today, it’s lemon pepper tuna, chicken pesto pasta, and beef roast with vegetables. Vast improvements have been made, but the work is never done.

Soldiers have been clamoring for pizza, but technologists have yet to master a version that fits to the MRE’s stringent requirements.

Attribution: Ross Pomeroy, Real Science

Round Trip Ticket

Deported Criminals Return Illegally at Alarming Rate

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There are hundreds of thousands of aliens crossing the US border illegally every year.  Less than half of them are ever detained and even fewer of the detainees are ever deported back to their home countries.  Working under President Obama’s orders most illegal aliens are rewarded for their actions and released back into our society where they steal jobs, food and medical benefits from US citizens and often ruin neighborhoods and property values.

Supposedly, the government concentrates mostly on illegals who already have a criminal record.  (Doesn’t violating our immigration laws automatically classify them as a ICEcriminal?)  In the fiscal year of 2011, a total of 188,380 illegals with criminal records were deported.  However, 86,699 of them had been previously deported at least once.  That’s a return rate of 46%, which indicates that we have a complete failure to secure our borders from known criminal elements.

Additionally, there were another 43,307 illegals without criminal records who had been previously deported and again illegally entered the US.  Even though it is a crime to cross the US border illegally, none of the 43,307 are considered to have criminal records.

According to a report issued by the Center for Immigration Studies:

“It cannot be ascertained from the available data how many of the 86,699 previously deported criminals committed new crimes other than their illegal return, but unless they were detained shortly after re-entering the United States, it is likely that they came to the attention of the immigration authorities as a result of new crimes (committed after their illegal re-entry) for which they were convicted or arraigned.”

“The 46 percent may also be understated due to reclassification of criminal deportees. Thus existing data indicate that a minimum of 46 percent of the 2011 criminal deportees were previously deported and returned to the United States.”

“The high percentage of repeat deportees is due in part to the mexicali-deporteesease of re-entry to the United States for earlier deportees and the knowledge that if apprehended there is only a small chance that they will serve any prison time for illegal re-entry.”

“In nearly all cases the deportee will go undetected unless charged with another crime or if the deportee returns to his old neighborhood and is recognized by local law enforcement officials. Thus the number of deportees who make an illegal re-entry is possibly much higher than indicated.”

“The extent of our revolving door for deported criminal illegal immigrants points to failures in securing our nation’s borders. These failures do not bode well for our future ability to intercept known and unknown terrorists who try to gain access to our country.”

Reports like this clearly indicate that the Department of Homeland Security is doing very little to secure our borders.  Their cavalier attitude towards illegal immigration is a disgrace and an affront to most US citizens.  If this many illegals are returning and many going completely undetected, then how many terrorists are also crossing into our country illegally?

The US-Mexico border is an open door for anyone, including terrorists, to just walk rightbig sis in to the country, where they can then carry out the planning and execution of their jihad activities.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and station them along the US-Mexico borders with orders to detain and shoot if necessary.  Military patrols should be stationed in a line of sight with each other across the entire extent of the border.  They should also be the ones to man and operate all border crossing stations.  This would result in a drastic cut in the amount of illegal aliens and drugs that are currently flowing into the US across the Mexican border.  It would also make it harder for terrorists to gain entry in to the country.  I believe it’s a win-win answer to illegal immigration, drugs and keeping our military safe at home securing our borders instead of the borders of countries that hate us.

Iran Endorsement

Iran Endorses Obama Pick Hagel for U.S. Secretary of Defense

Iran’s Foreign Ministry dumped more fuel on the fire of former Senator Chuck Hagel’s (R–NE) nomination for Secretary of Defense by announcing its approval for President Obama’s pick.

It’s no secret that Hagel, an outspoken critic of sanctions on Iran, has preferred a policy of engagement and direct talks with the rogue state. In 2001, Hagel voted not to renew the Iran–Libya Sanctions Act, denying said countries money that would be spent on funding terrorism and/or acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Then, in 2007, Hagel voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, despite the force’s role in orchestrating attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. Hagel further opposed the Iran Counter–Proliferation Act and sent a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him to engage in “direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran.”  Continue Reading at Heritage