The fact is, criticism of Hagel has been substantive -- focused on his out of the mainstream votes and his distasteful quotations, as well as his general lack of distinction. And the critics have also focused on the fact that the position being discussed is that of secretary of defense. No one would care if the president wanted to send Hagel off to openly and aggressively make the case for Obama's foreign policy as ambassador to Luxembourg. But the secretary of defense has real responsibilities. Even his nomination has real consequences. In fact, nominating a person who is clearly soft on Iran would send exactly the wrong message to Tehran. Which is why President Obama should prevail in not nominating Hagel in the first place, and why members of Congress of both parties who have been engaged in the attempt to deter Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons should be particularly alarmed at a Hagel nomination.