Wednesday, June 30, 2010
STATEMENT: Pete Hegseth Prepared Remarks for Kagan Confirmation Hearings
Pete Hegseth's Prepared
Remarks for Kagan Confirmation Hearings
June 30, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Washington DC) - Pete Hegseth, Executive Director of Vets
for Freedom, released prepared remarks in advance of of formal
testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow (July 1)
regarding Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court. Remarks
Statement of Peter B.
United States Senate Committee on the
"The Nomination of Elena Kagan to be
Justice of the Supreme Court of the
July 1, 2010
Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Sessions, and Members of the
Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today. It's a
privilege to take part in these proceedings.
My name is Pete Hegseth and I am the Executive Director of Vets
for Freedom, an organization of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans
dedicated to supporting America's war-fighters, and their mission
on the battlefield. I received my commission from Princeton
University in 2003, and have since served two tours with the U.S.
Army, first at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and later in Iraq with the
101st Airborne Division. I'm currently an infantry
Captain in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, and a graduate
student at Harvard University. I'm before this committee today as a
citizen and a veteran, and do not purport to speak on behalf of the
I will start with the bottom line up front. We are a nation at
war; at war with a vicious enemy, on multiple fronts. I've seen
this enemy first hand, as have a precious few from my generation.
The enemy we face detests, and seeks to destroy, our way of life
while completely ignoring, and exploiting, the laws of warfare.
This context motivates my testimony today. I have serious
concerns about Elena Kagan's actions toward the military, and her
willingness to myopically focus on preventing the military from
having institutional and equal access to top-notch
recruits at a time of war. I find her actions toward military
recruiters at Harvard unbecoming a civic leader, and unbefitting a
nominee to the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Kagan is clearly a
very capable academic, and the President has the right to nominate
whomever he pleases. But in replacing the only remaining veteran on
the Supreme Court in Justice John Paul Stevens-how did we reach a
point in this country where we are nominating someone
who-unapologetically-obstructed the military at a time of
war? Ms. Kagan chose to use her position of authority to
impede, rather than empower, the warriors who fight, and have
fallen, for our freedoms.
I know a number of my fellow veterans will testify to Ms.
Kagan's personal support of veterans on Harvard's campus. And Ms.
Kagan has had good things to say about our troops, which I
appreciate. But, for my money, actions always speak louder than
words. And Ms. Kagan's actions toward recruiters-with wars
raging-undercut the military's ability to fight and win wars, and
they trump her rhetorical explanations.
General David Petraeus, who wrote the book on counterinsurgency
and is now tasked with waging war in Afghanistan, calls
counterinsurgency "a thinking man's war." Defeating our enemies, on
the battlefield and in the courtroom, takes the best America has to
offer. Yet in December of 2004 as you've heard many times already,
Ms. Kagan-then Dean of the Harvard Law School-took the law into her
own hands, blocking equal access for military recruiters on campus,
in direct violation of federal law. Moreover, she even encouraged
students to protest, and obstruct, the presence of military
These actions coincided with my deployment to Guantanamo Bay;
itself a legal maze of graduate-level proportions. Would not the
legal situation there, and in the courtrooms of Iraq and
Afghanistan, be better off with more participation from lawyers of
Harvard Law School caliber? Don't we believe our best and brightest
should be encouraged to serve?
In response to his critique, Ms. Kagan has repeatedly stated
that, despite her decision to bar recruiters from the Office of
Career Services, the number of military recruits actually increased
during her tenure. Let's be clear. This happened in spite
of Ms. Kagan, not because of her. But I ask a more important
question: would not the number have been even higher had she
supported recruiters, rather than actively opposing them?
To be fair, I don't begrudge Ms. Kagan's opposition to the
so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" legislation; reasonable people
disagree about this policy. However, her fierce and activist
opposition to the policy was intellectually dishonest and
unnecessarily focused on the military.
In emails to students and statements to the press, Ms. Kagan
slammed "the military's discriminatory recruitment policy." Yet as
a legal scholar, she knows better. She knows that the policy
she "abhors" is not the military's policy, but a policy enacted by
Congress and imposed on the military. In fact, after the law was
passed, Ms. Kagan went to work for the very man who signed "Don't
Ask, Don't Tell" into law-President Bill Clinton. So, for her to
call it "the military's policy" is intellectually dishonest, and
her opposition to military recruiters at Harvard Law School had the
effect of shooting the messenger.
Likewise, while Ms. Kagan sought to block full access to
military recruiters, she welcomed to campus numerous Senators and
Congressmen who voted for the law she calls "a moral injustice of
the first order." Additionally, Harvard Law School has three
academic chairs endowed by money from Saudi Arabia, a country where
being a homosexual is a capitol offense. So, rather than
confront the Congressional source of the policy-or take a stand
against a country that executes homosexuals-Ms. Kagan zeroed in on
military recruiters for a policy they neither authored, nor
In closing, the real "moral injustice" is granting a lifetime
appointment to someone who, when it mattered, treated military
recruiters like second-class citizens. I urge you to consider this
as you consider Ms. Kagan. Thank you for the opportunity to address
this important topic, and I welcome your questions.