Bien sûr, il a pas attendu une heure pour prêter allégeance à Israël. Que de belles paroles apaisantes de la part de celui que le lobby juif a tant maudit et calomnié.
Le lobby juif Emergency Committee for Israel (un satellite du juif néocon, père du PNAC, Bill Kristol) a répliqué en intensifiant sa campagne de salissage, notamment en achetant son domaine chuckhagel.com afin d’y déverser leur fiel. Kristol a commenté la nomination en suggérant qu’Obama l’a probablement choisi parce qu’il cautionne ses propos sur le lobby juif.
Avec un antisémite au Pentagone… les États-Unis s’apprêteraient-ils à lâcher Israël?
Il l’a fait! Non content de nommer John Kerry au département d’Etat, ce même Kerry qui s’était rendu à Gaza en 2009 après l’opération « Plomb durci », Barack Obama a propulsé l’ancien sénateur Chuck Hagel au Pentagone. La guérilla engagée contre ce franc-tireur jugé presque antisémite par ce qui reste du camp néoconservateur traditionnellement très proche d’Israël n’aura donc servi à rien.
L’Anti-defamation League a dû avaler son chapeau après avoir vitupéré avec l’autres contre la référence faite par Hagel de l’influence d’un « lobby juif » à Washington. La belle affaire, en vérité si on relit ce qu’écrivait le nouveau secrétaire à la défense en 2008: « there will always be a special and historic bond with Israel, exemplified by our continued commitment to Israel’s defense. But this commitment cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships.” Quant au moyen de régler le conflit, Hagel s’en remettait alors aux « paramètres Clinton », qui impliquent mécaniquement un partage de Jérusalem.
« Some people think the second term is Obama’s opportunity to make another serious push for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. They are living in a dream world. It’s true that Obama doesn’t have to worry about being re-elected, but political conditions in Israel, among the Palestinians, and within the region are hardly propitious. Obama won’t be willing or able to exert the kind of pressure that might produce a deal, so why waste any time or political capital on it? We might see a faux initiative akin to the Bush administration’s meaningless second-term summit in Annapolis, but nobody with a triple-digit IQ takes this sort of thing seriously anymore. We’re headed rapidly towards a one-state solution, and it will be up to one of Obama’s successors to figure out what U.S. policy is going to be once the death of the two-state solution is apparent to all. »
Despite the fact that 69% of American Jews voted for Obama, donated and campaigned passionately for him, he has chosen to betray them at the earliest opportunity after his reelection. Even though there were other capable mainstream candidates, he has picked Chuck Hagel for the important position of defense secretary, a fringe candidate who has been one of the few vocal anti- Israeli senators.
Almost every major pro-Israeli Jewish organization and many individual Jewish leaders had strongly opposed Hagel’s impeding appointment, but after the president publicly announced his selection, they backed down and have made clear they will not lobby against or fight Hagel’s confirmation in the Senate, despite their concerns with the choice. Sadly, this reluctance to challenge Obama on this nomination will weaken the pro-Israeli community and render it obsolete, which in turn will weaken Israel.
But much more, the Jewish leadership’s tolerance of a nominee whose comments Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman characterized as « borders on anti –Semitism » is a betrayal of their supposed role of safeguarding the community against those who spread false stereotypes and prejudices against Jews.
Hagel’s past words and actions reveal that he has a « Jewish » problem. First, Hagel has made clear in Aaron David Miller’s 2008 book « The Too Much Promised Land » that he believes in the existence of a « Jewish lobby » and that « the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people in Congress. » Moreover, Hagel is quoted as saying that « Most of the times members of Congress play it safe and adopt an ‘I’ll support Israel’ attitude. AIPAC comes knocking with a pro- Israel letter and then you’ll get 80 to 90 senators on it. I don’t think I’ve signed one of the letters, » adding, « I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator. »
First, there is no such thing as a « Jewish » lobby but a pro-Israeli lobby which includes many Christians and is not supported by all Jews. Such a lobby operates in the best tradition of democracy like the NCAAP and AARP do and singling the Jews out implies dual loyalty. Second, the word « intimidates » suggest that Congress is friendly to Israel, not from political conviction but out of personal fear. But reality shows that Israel is widely supported by the American people. A Gallup poll taken last year showed 71% of the Americans view Israel favorably.
Moreover, his view is a repeat of the age old anti-Semitic libel that Jews secretly work together to gain control of the world. It is disconcerting that Senator Hagel would concern himself with « the Jews, » when in reality he could not have endured any political pressures from his own state’s Jewish community. In Nebraska there are only 6100 Jews in a state with a population of 1.8 million.
Moreover, many in the Nebraska Jewish community that knows him best recalled that Hagel, as a Nebraska senator, was hostile to Israel and to the Jewish community. The former editor of the Omaha Jewish Press newspaper Carol Katzman, recalled that Hagel « was the only one we have had in Nebraska, who basically showed the Jewish community that he didn’t give a damn about the Jewish community or any of our concerns.” When Hagel served as a president of USO he expressed intense opposition to keeping the USO Haifa port open to US troops abroad. During a 1989 meeting with Jewish leaders of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Marsha Halteman, a JINSA representative recalled that he told them that if the Jews wanted to keep the USO in Haifa open « Let the Jews pay for it.”
However, Hagel’s obvious Jewish problem would have been inconsequential if he was not appointed to be secretary of defense, who is one of the officials responsible for implementing the close cooperation between the US and Israel. The concern is that Hagel’s record proves that he has a problem appreciating the Jewish state as a true US ally and has a moral inclination for appeasing Israel’s most vicious enemies.
The record shows that Hagel voted against imposing sanctions on Iran, which regularly calls for the extermination of Israel and has explicitly ruled out the military option against Iran’s nuclear weapons. He called for talks with Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews – not just Israelis – and he has refused to support a Senate letter and resolution branding Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorist organizations.
It is remarkable how much political capital Obama is willing to spend to make Hagel, an ex -Republican senator, with a dubious administrative and executive record, his defense minister, unless Hagel represents everything Obama believes in but was afraid to say during his first term – including his underlying hostility to Israel.
Jews must fight this nomination even if they lose, because Obama chose this fight in order to intimidate the pro-Israeli lobby and undermine and weaken the Congress’ and US Jews’ support for Israel. If not, they will give a message to Obama that he has a free hand to shove his dangerous agenda down Israel’s throat. Jews must now call their US senators to voice opposition to the nomination and Israelis must choose a government which will be willing to say no to Obama.
Shoula Romano Horing is an attorney in Kansas City. Her blog: www.shoularomanohoring.com
Sheldon Adelson Invested in Fight Against Hagel New York Times reports that secretly-funded groups are running advertisements against Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense; while the Jewish billionaire is invested in the anti-Hagel fight, it is unclear whether he is behind the groups’ efforts.
January 27, 2013 « Haaretz » — Secretly-funded groups in the United States have been running advertisements against the appointment of Chuck Hagel to secretary of defense, with at least one of them describing him as « anti-Israel », « anti-gay » and « anti-women », the New York Times reported on Saturday.
Hagel, a Republican, is U.S. President Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense.
The report noted that Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson is involved in the fight against Hagel’s confirmation, but said it was unclear as to whether he was funding the groups behind the advertis.
Adelson, the New York Times wrote, « is so invested in the fight over Mr. Hagel that he has reached out directly to Republican Senators to urge them to hold the line against his confirmation, which would be almost impossible to stop against six Republican ‘yes’ votes and a unified Democratic caucus. »
Various independent and largely secretly financed groups spent well over $500 million during the 2012 presidential elections in an attempt to defeat Obama and the Democrats, the New York Times reported, making their failure seem « all the greater given the huge amounts spent. »
« But while the donors have said they will insist that the groups they finance find lessons in last year’s losses, their interest and stakes in what happens in Washington have certainly not waned, » wrote the New York Times.
According to the Huffington Post, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, spent at least $101 million during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign, of which $30 million is said to have gone to Restore Our Future, the super PAC that supported Mitt Romney.
Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and a longtime supporter of Israel, told the Wall Street Journal in December that he was willing to double his investment in politics going forward.
According to the New York Times, the « blitz » against Hagel is « of a sort that has generally been reserved for elections and some Supreme Court nominations » and has been unmatched among modern presidential cabinet appointments. The report added that the current efforts reflect the continuing effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that « loosened campaign finance restrictions and was a major reason for the record spending by outside groups in the 2012 election. »
“This is the first big cabinet fight since [President George W. Bush’s nomination of John R.] Bolton,” Michael Goldfarb, a strategist for the Emergency Committee for Israel, a conservative group opposed to Hagel, and a founder of a conservative Web site called The Washington Free Beacon, which is running anti-Hagel news articles, told the New York Times. “And things have evolved in the last seven years.”
ER Traduction Avec la nomination de Chuck Hagel au poste de secrétaire à la Défense, le Président se risque à une épreuve de force dont ses prédécesseurs s’étaient bien gardés. Cela pourrait-il être le signal d’un changement stratégique de politique étrangère ? Pour la première fois depuis 40 ans, le chef du Pentagone est à nouveau un homme disposant d’une expérience militaire forgée au combat. En 1967, Chuck Hagel s’est (Lire la suite…)
AFP – War Lobby Fights Hagel’s Nomination Chuck Hagel, former Republican Senator from Nebraska, was roasted on a Republican spit in his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense. Nevertheless, it is quite possible he may be confirmed, if he gets some public support. He is also the target of a national smear campaign on major networks, unprecedented, since he is not running for office but as a presidential appointee.
Neocons Continue the Barrage Against New Defense Secretary • Prestigious military institute says Hagel will be at war with warmongers
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) opposed the nomination of fellow Republican and former colleague Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense from the very start back in early January. Yet, Inhofe’s sustained campaign against Hagel soon was overshadowed by the dramatic anti-Hagel antics of Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and newcomer Ted Cruz (R-Texas), among others.
Hagel was confirmed by the Senate 58-41 on Feb. 26, but Inhofe won’t drop the matter. He apparently believes Hagel is a closet peacenik, who will excuse Iran’s supposed nuclear ambitions, shirk America’s support of Israel and render the U.S. defenseless.
“I continue to have serious concerns about the ability of . . . Hagel to lead the Department of Defense during this consequential time for our nation’s security,” Inhofe noted in a statement on his website. “His long record of controversial positions on issues ranging from nuclear disarmament, defense spending, Iran, and his misguided comments on Israel demonstrate, in my view, a profound and troubling lack of judgment. . . .”
Inhofe played a major role in trying to convince the Senate to require a higher 60-vote majority, instead of a 51-vote simple majority, for Hagel’s confirmation.
Inhofe wanted the higher threshold with or without a filibuster. Had he obtained it, Hagel’s confirmation would have failed by two votes.
The U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), before Hagel’s confirmation, threw a lifeline to him in a revealing Feb. 12 article: “[A]s Obama’s nominee, Hagel found himself in the middle of a more-than-40-year war over control of U.S. military and national-security policy. The neoconservatives who fought against presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and now Obama recognize that Hagel’s confirmation would reverse the policies of ‘peace through strength’ that dominated the Bush and Ronald Reagan administrations.”
The USNI pointed out: “That realization was clear from the opening statement of the [Armed Services Committee’s] ranking Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe. . . . Confirming Hagel, Inhofe said, would be ‘retreating from America’s unique global leadership role and shrinking the military.’ That, he said, would not make America safer. ‘On the contrary, it will embolden our enemies, endanger our allies and provide opportunity for nations that do not share our interests to fill the global leadership vacuum we leave behind.’”
The USNI article added: “Inhofe’s statement, as well as McCain’s subsequent questioning of Hagel about the Iraq surge, echoed the spiritual father of the neoconservative movement—German émigré and strategist Fritz Kraemer,” who for decades worked behind the scenes “as an influential Pentagon policy analyst.”
Notably, Kraemer “had discovered Henry Kissinger as a young Army enlisted man during WorldWar II and sponsored his rise to become national security adviser under Nixon. . . . Kraemer also shaped the policy views of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, who . . . decades later echo Kraemer’s beliefs as they helped launch the Iraq War.”
Inhofe thus deserves prominent placement on “the dishonor roll,” joining not only McCain, Graham and Cruz, but also Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) on “the list.” Voters in those states may see fit to vote those senators out of office, yet only four GOP senators voted for Hagel’s confirmation: Rand Paul (Ky.), Thad Cochran (Miss.),Mike Johanns (Neb.) and Richard Shelby (Ala.).
AMERICAN FREE PRESS Hagel Filibustered
• GOP critics concerned Hagel isn’t pro-Israel enough for their tastes
After a limited probe of Charles “Chuck” Hagel’s past and present associations, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 14-11 on Feb. 12 to “green light” his nomination.
But as AFP goes to press, Senate Republicans, right when a final floor vote neared on Feb. 13, invoked “cloture” to stall Hagel’s nomination to be the next defense secretary.
Akin to a “filibuster,” a traditional parliamentary tactic employed to delay or block decisions while more information is gathered, cloture does delay action.
But with the Democrats who favor Hagel’s confirmation in control of the Senate 55-45, the votes are there to make Hagel defense secretary.
Republicans are intentionally blocking Hagel’s confirmation, fearing he will be too reasonable when it comes to relations with Iran and the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian issue.
The committee’s vote was strictly along party lines. Ironically, all the votes in favor of the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska came from Democrats. The bulk of the criticisms lobbed at Hagel came fromhis former partymates, most notably Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and newcomer Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Following the hearing, Graham told CNN that Hagel would be “the most antagonistic secretary of defense toward the state of Israel in [U.S.] history.”
The strong GOP committee opposition came from Hagel’s past statements against war with Iran and his criticisms of the Iraq and Afghanistanwars. But Hagel also “sinned” by saying that the number one foe of Iran, Israel, is not beyond reproach and should not be such a major driver of U.S. military policy.
During a 2006 interview with author Aaron David Miller, Hagel famously said: “I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a U.S. senator.”
Hagel, 66, whose connections and employment have been diverse over the years, is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He is currently a professor at the Edmund A.Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a Jesuit institution in Washington renowned as a premier incubator for those training for the diplomacy field.
Although Hagel has worked with a range of organizations and companies such as the pro-NATO Atlantic Council and is a Council on Foreign Relations member, he is cut froma different cloth than past defense secretaries. Hewould be the first Vietnamvet to serve in this position—traditionally held by functionaries who know little about war’s grim realities.
AMERICAN FREE PRESS recently editorialized in Hagel’s favor to replace Leon Panetta, because Hagel has criticized America’s imperial, undeclared wars and has expressed reservations over the Jewish lobby’s deep influence.
Pro-Israel Democrats—attempting to downplay Jewish opposition to Hagel—allowed Republicans to lead the charge against Hagel, giving the public the perception the controversy was a “partisan” issue.
Upon winning confirmation, Hagel pledged to forgo his corporate board post at Chevron Corp., a major government contractor. And he pledged to part with other entities, including Georgetown University, the Atlantic Council and the McCarthy Group.
Chickenhawks or Chuck?
A pro-Israel neoconservative organization has been dropping big bucks, taking out ads in major newspapers and on television and has even created a website criticizing Chuck Hagel for such terrible things as seeking to “distance the United States from Israel” and “to soften U.S. pressure on Syria.” The group is called the Emergency Committee for Israel and its board consists of such chickenhawks as William Kristol and presidential candidate Gary Bauer. In one commercial, a disgusted narrator whines: “President Obama says he supports sanctions on Iran. Hagel voted against them. Hagel voted against labeling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. And while President Obama has said all options are on the table for preventing a nuclear Iran, Hagel upset many advocates for Israel by daring to say that military action is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.”
• Senate approves former Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense by vote of 58-41
By Michael Collins Piper
The unsuccessful campaign to block ChuckHagel’s nomination to the Defense Departmentwas a classic “tragicomedy.” Althoughloudly denying its own existence, the power groups Hagel once quite correctly referredto as “the Jewish lobby” engaged in a brazenpublic display of their venom in their effort to crucify Hagel.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’naiB’rith accused Hagel of having engaged in rhetoricthat “borders on anti-Semitism” and then did atwo-step, first saying the ADL would not oppose Hagel and then (when there were still hopesHagel’s appointment could be shelved) saying itmight be necessary to put his nomination on hold.
Conscious of public recognition that opposition to Hagel was Jewish lobby-based, the top JewishDemocrat in the Senate—Chuck Schumer (N.Y.)—voiced support for Hagel, despite having privatelyexpressed his opposition, and allowed Republicansto lead the charge against Hagel. This strategywas designed to make it appear as though opposition to Hagel was “partisan” in nature, an attemptto shift focus away from the Jewish lobby.
Hagel’s critics used every means possible to tryto portray Hagel’s opposition as broadbased. Atone point, they cooked up an outfit they portrayedas a “gay rights group” opposed to Hagel. In fact, this group turned out to be linked to the EmergencyCommittee for Israel, controlled by neoconservativestrategist William Kristol.
On Capitol Hill, the Jewish lobby deployed their frontline Republican assets—Senators John McCain(Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and newly appointed Tim Scott (S.C.)—to front for their campaignagainst Hagel.
The congressional grilling of Hagel was so outrageouseven NBC’s comedy weekly, “SaturdayNight Live” (SNL), produced a skit making fun ofthe GOP senators for their obsequious pro-Israel rhetoric. Although never broadcast, the skit wasposted on the Internet and generated widespreadamusement, upsetting the ADL, which suggested the skit might be “anti-Semitic.” (And this was notthe first time, by the way, that SNL’s creative genius,Lorne Michaels—who is Jewish—ran afoul of the ADL.)
Meanwhile, the anti-Hagel barrage started to fallapart, like something out of the Keystone Cops.
After one journalist satirically asked a Republican Senate staffer whether Hagel was connectedto “Friends of Hamas,” the staffer (missing the sarcasm)passed word on to a leading pro-Israel website, Breitbart.com, which leaked the claim Hagelmight be bankrolled by terrorists. Friends of Israelspread the rumor, but, needless to say, the story had no basis in fact.
The good news is that President Obama nominatedHagel in the first place, knowing Hagel’srecord, deemed hostile to Israel, would inflame Israel’ssupporters. Obama seemed to be openly daring them to oppose Hagel, who was popular amongveterans, high-ranking military figures and withinthe diplomatic and intelligence communities.
In the past, someone with Hagel’s record would never even be considered for a high position. Now he is secretary of defense.
Michael Collins Piper is an author, journalist, lecturer and radio show host. He has spoken in Russia, Malaysia, Iran, Abu Dhabi, Japan, Canada and the U.S.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Defense Secretary-nominee, former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, in the White House on January 7, 2013.Photo by AP
Among the dozens of emails that land in my inbox every day, a message in English from a group called Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors caught my attention a few months ago. It was probably the hair-raising photograph of the train tracks to Auschwitz that accompanied the email that prevented me from deleting it immediately.
After all, I have a stake in those tracks. I assumed that this group that I wasn’t familiar with somehow considered me one of their own, and my skin tingled with the joy of belonging. In the role of « no longer a child of, » I let myself read what the group had to say.
The first thing I learned was that I should be gravely worried by Chuck Hagel’s possible appointment as the next U.S. defense secretary. The present column was written just hours after the Senate decided not to end the debate and bring his appointment to a final vote.
But when I first read that Children e-mail, I hadn’t yet paid attention to the Republicans’ apocalyptic war against Hagel. Because of my silly naiveté, the first thing that jumped into my mind was that the focus must be Hagel’s participation in the Vietnam War. I thought I would be reading what these children of Holocaust survivors had discovered about America’s alleged war crimes that Hagel had taken part in. Dual threats
But just another half a line made clear that opposition to war wasn’t what was motivating the affinity group I belonged to by birth. So I skipped to the end and read that the group has another name, the Alliance for Israel and World Jewry. It’s a « non-profit tax exempt organization committed to the promotion of Western values against the dual threats of complacency and the spread of Islam. » (Funny, but I know that the social and biologically-based hierarchy, white supremacy, racial purity, country above all and man in service of the state and race are Western values.)
The group’s website features links from other sites. Surfing the site was like wandering through a meeting held by the American right. And I wasn’t at all surprised to find among the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors’ guests people like former ultra-right-wing MK Aryeh Eldad and right-wing Israeli group Women in Green.
About a month ago, the site featured an article by someone named Eileen F. Toplansky that was taken from the website of conservative online magazine American Thinker. Under the headline « The Revenge of Obama, » I read a quote that Toplansky took from the book of someone who quoted the American journalist William L. Shirer, « who described Hitler thusly: ‘I observed his face. It was grave, solemn, yet brimming with revenge. There was also in it, as in his springy step, a note of the triumphant conqueror, the defier of the world. There was something else, difficult to describe, in his expression, a sort of scornful inner joy at being present at this great reversal of fate – a reversal he himself had wrought.' » The lady continued, « ‘scornful inner joy’ describes Obama well. With his officious bearing and his ‘revenge’ moment, he is the ‘defier of the world’ as he continues his transformation of this country. » Taxing the rich
She also quotes Jonathan Chait, who wrote in New York magazine that if « there is a single plank in the Democratic platform on which Obama can claim to have won, it is taxing the rich. » Toplansky also contributes something of her own: « Repeatedly, Obama shapes the argument with the premise that capitalism is evil. »
Here’s a conclusion: American political correctness forbids saying anything about Obama’s skin color, but it allows comparing him to Hitler.
There’s also a 2001 article from the National Rifle Association’s magazine The American Rifleman that was linked to the site amid the growing debate over restricting gun ownership in the United States. Toward the top, it reads: « New research into Adolf Hitler’s use of firearms registration lists to confiscate guns and the execution of their owners teaches a forceful lesson — one that reveals why the American people and Congress have rejected registering honest firearm owners. »
Here’s another gem from this article (which I admit I couldn’t read all of and look at photos of Nazis gunning down European Jews that accompanied it): « Resistance [to the Nazis] was hampered by the lack of civilian arms possession. » Another conclusion: to prevent a new Holocaust, it is necessary leave untouched the free use of guns in the United States.
Who are these children? In all my perusing I came across just one name; it belongs to the organization’s founder and president. Maybe I’m more Web-challenged than I thought, or maybe this woman really can do everything on her own, including searching the Web, organizing discussions, linking other articles, sending emails to tens of thousands of people (in her own words), writing press releases, keeping up on events and updating a Facebook page. Take for example the Facebook post from last Wednesday:
« This is not on Obama. This is on the American Jews who voted for Obama against their own interests … and Netanyahu who out of some sort of fear of or thinking that doing something so dispicable [sic] is going to ingratiate him with the likes of Obama.
« As we speak, security forces are evacuating Maale Rahavam a long term community in the Judean Desert. I know because a woman who has just given birth can not return to her home. How sad, how wrong, how much must be sacrificed in preparation to the visit of the American President. »
Well, it’s clear. The train tracks to Auschwitz stretch from the intention to limit gun ownership and increase taxes in the United States to a belated evacuation of a pirate outpost on Palestinian land.
Editor’s note: Stephen Sniegoski and Jeff Blankfort are on top of it: The Republican Senators’ view of Hagel as a turncoat because of his opposition to President Bush; their desire to undermine Obama’s policies because of their hatred for him; their opposition to Hagel’s allegedly soft positions on the Middle East, and especially Iran; their desire to cause more damage on the Benghazi issue. Commentator Chris Matthews boils it all down to simple right-wing Republican nastiness. Although the Israel issue was noted when the attack on Hagel began more than a month ago and the jewish establishment was united against Hagel, Israel now is barely mentioned.
It’s now being spun that “partisanship” has reared its ugly head. This to take the pressure off the hugely obvious Zionist-led inquisition they engaged in earlier,orchestrated in part by the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), a neoconservative pressure group led by Weekly Standard editor and ECI board member Bill Kristol. A favored ECI tactic to intimidate critics is publishing advertisements that attack politicians and leaders who question one-sided U.S. support for Israel. Emergency Committee for Israel — TV AD
I have included a link to my discussion on Jeff Blankfort’s radio program—“Takes on the World” (KZYX in Mendocino, Calif.)—which aired on Wednesday, February 13, and focused on the nomination of Chuck Hagel. Blankfort is an excellent host and offered a number of insightful comments on Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense and the strategy of the Israel lobby on the issue.
At the time (Feb. 13), expert (mainstream) opinion had thought that the debate on the floor of the full Senate (Hagel had made it through the Senate Armed Services Committee) would be quickly ended by the required 60 votes (the actual confirmation vote only requires a majority). However, this proved not to be the case on Thursday (Feb. 14), though the cloture vote was very tight—58-40 in favor. At first it was 59-39, with one “present” vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat) would switch his vote to “no,” which apparently was necessary in order to remain eligible to request another vote. That next vote can take place after the Senate returns from a 10-day recess.
The neoconservatives have been in the forefront in attacking Hagel while AIPAC has stayed in the background. While this means that the effort has not been as strong as it could be, it has also been of help to the overall Israel lobby, since it is virtually out of the picture as far as the mainstream media is concerned.
The main opposition to Hagel is now described as simply Republican.
And the reason the Republicans are doing this is attributed to many different things: their view of Hagel as a turncoat because of his opposition to the President Bush; their desire to undermine Obama’s policies because of their hatred for him; their opposition to Hagel’s allegedly soft positions on the Middle East, and especially Iran; their desire to cause more damage on the Benghazi issue. Commentator Chris Matthews boils it all down to simple right-wing Republican nastiness.
Although the Israel issue was noted when the attack on Hagel began more than a month ago, Israel now is barely mentioned. Should the neocons ultimately stop Hagel, it would be an amazing success. A perceived enemy of Israeli interests would be defeated without any negative political ramifications for Israel or the Israel lobby—in fact, with hardly anyone even knowing that the Israel lobby was involved.
A nefarious, and rather ridiculous, figure who looms large in the neocon smear machine is Jennifer Rubin, a columnist and blogger for the Washington Post.
Being with the Washington Post certainly puts her in the limelight and she is known to often use her post to attack both Republicans and Democrats whom she deems insufficiently supportive of Israel and weak on U.S. defense.
Of course, the ever-present Frank Gaffney is once again in the outer reaches of neoconservatism, implying that Hagel acts like an Iranian agent.
Gaffney is usually reserved for right wing audiences only—his claims would be counterproductive among more mainstream folks. Energizing (scaring) the base is very important, however. They contact their Senators.
That the neocons have had such a great impact in making things difficult for Hagel, and still could bring about his defeat, illustrates their great power.
Experts are predicting that Hagel will be confirmed when Congress returns, as a number of Republican Senators have said that after a short debate they will allow a vote to take place, with no attempt to filibuster to prevent Hagel’s confirmation. This is probably most likely, but it is possible that the neocon smearbund, which is unrelenting in its effort to find more dirt on Hagel by putting his finances and speeches under a microscope, could still bring him down.
Hagel has been willing to withstand a high degree of character assassination so far, but how much more is he willing to take? And when will Obama and his political advisers come to believe that Hagel has become too wounded to be an asset to the administration? It should be recalled that the very threat of character assassination by the Israel lobby caused Bobby Ray Inman to withdraw as Bill Clinton’s nominee as Secretary of Defense in 1994 and for Chas Freeman to withdraw from his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council in 2009.
It should be pointed out that if supposed (former?) antiwar libertarian Rand Paul (son of Ron Paul) had not become so desirous of placating the Israel lobby, Christian Zionists, and his fellow Republican senators, the 60 votes to end the debate would have been attained, and Hagel would have almost certainly obtained a majority vote in the Senate to be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.
Stephen Sniegoski, is the author of “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel”. Read more articles by Stephen J. Sniegoski at: http://home.comcast.net/~transparentcabal/
While self-contradiction is a tic shared by most politicians, rarely do we get to see an example where contradictions ram into each other sentence by sentence, like a traffic accident involving multiple cars. But Sen. Cruz is unique, and not only in that respect. Yes, he’s a real character, one that evokes the ghost of Senator Joe McCarthy in more ways than one.
The much-awaited Senate Armed Services Committee hearing – and vote – on Chuck Hagels’ nomination as Secretary of Defense finally arrived, and once again the neo-McCarthyites stole the show. Unfortunately for them, their numerous curtain calls failed to yield bouquets of flowers. Instead, their reenactment of the Jerry Springer Show exposed them for what they are: losers, in every sense of the word.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Bizarro World) started off the festivities with a reiteration of his charge that the nominee has been “endorsed” – nay, “celebrated” – by Iran, and then repeated almost verbatim his meandering, half-coherent attack on Hagel’s views and integrity at the first hearing.
Senator John McCain gave vent to his obsession with the Iraq “surge,” and spent his time telling the committee just why he is right on a subject very close to his heart, the alleged “success” of the Iraq war – a thesis long since disproved by Iraq’s collapse into chaos. The rest of the Republicans followed suit, repeating their own obsessions. These ranged from mind-numbing denunciations of the much-maligned “Global Zero” report to the alleged heresy of Hagel’s Senate vote against a resolution that would have condemned a section of the Iranian military as a “terrorist organization” – and given the Bush administration a convenient back door to war with Tehran. Lindsey Graham’s old-maidish “he sends a chill up my spine” rhetoric was hardly unexpected, and basically a reprise of his earlier comments: he looked resigned to defeat.
The rhetoric didn’t get hot and heavy until we got down to the “star” of the show, Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, whose performance marked a new low – even for him. Perhaps looking to his election year endorsement by Ron Paul and affiliated organizations, he started out by protesting that he is “a lot less hawkish than some other members of this committee,” a weird assertion in view of his vicious attacks on Hagel for his less-than-hawkish views. I am skeptical, he averred, of the US being “the world’s policeman,” and he even had the nerve to invoke George Washington’s warning against “entangling alliances” before wondering aloud if Hagel is sufficiently devoted to the mostentangling alliance of them all – our “special relationship” with Israel.
While self-contradiction is a tic shared by most politicians, rarely do we get to see an example where contradictions ram into each other sentence by sentence, like a traffic accident involving multiple cars. But Sen. Cruz is unique, and not only in that respect.
Yes, he’s a real character, one that evokes the ghost of Senator Joe McCarthy in more ways than one. Not only does he look like Tail-gunner Joe, he has that “I have in my hands a list” air about him that prefigures the role he is likely to play on that committee, and in the Senate at large, as the darling of the loony-tunes right. Taking his cue from Sen. Inhofe, he repeated the charge that Hagel has been “endorsed” by the Iranian government, averring that Hagel’s nomination will make conflict with Iran “more likely” by “encouraging those who would do harm to this country.” Cruz is a man of peace, you see – if you can get past the bombastic bellicosity of his rhetoric.
There were a few raised eyebrows at this point – Hagel is a man with two Purple Hearts, who volunteered for service in Vietnam and was severely wounded really a closet traitor who owes fealty to Iran? – but Cruz was just getting warmed up.
Cruz was all about the money: that is, he wanted to know if and when Hagel had received monetary compensation from “foreign governments, corporations, or individuals,” “directly or indirectly.” Although Senate rules require nominees for high positions to reveal all compensation over $5000 over a two year period. Cruz had unilaterally decided on behalf of the committee that this needed to be extended to five years because “we don’t know if [Hagel] has received” such compensation “from extreme or radical groups.”
Which “radical or extreme groups”? Cruz didn’t say: his accusation was pure innuendo. It was actually an allusion to an article by ethnic cleansing advocate Ben Shapiro, who, blogging for the conspiracy web site Breitbart.com, claimed Hagel is in the pay of a previously unknown group known as “Friends of Hamas.” But the Senator didn’t have the courage to cite the Shapiro hoax – and a hoax it is, because no such organization exists – and so he simply left it vague, just as the original McCarthy habitually did, leaving the stench of innuendo hanging in the air.
By this time, eyebrows were being raised even higher, but Cruz ploughed on, oblivious to the fact that his crude effort to discredit Hagel had merely succeeded in discrediting himself. He made reference to Hagel’s 80-plus speeches, both formal and informal, over the past five years, and complained that the nominee hadn’t made the complete text of each and every last one of them available so he and his aides could comb them for “evidence” of treason, bribery, and worse. “There was something in there that he doesn’t want to make public,” said Cruz. “It may be that he received extraordinary payments from defense contractors. We don’t know what it was. Because he simply said no.”
The climactic moment of this avalanche of slime was when Cruz turned to the committee, and declared: “I don’t know if he has received funds from foreign sources, from extreme sources – directly or indirectly. Just today we discovered speeches that he had not disclosed.” “We don’t know” how much money came from “foreign” sources and was “deposited in his personal bank account in the last five years,” he said, going on to cite one of the companies Hagel has been associated with, Corsair Capital, and the amount of compensation received: $200,000.
To anyone listening to this peroration, it was clear what Cruz was saying: that he suspected Hagel had been bought and paid for by mysterious “foreign” corporations, who had something to do with “extreme or radical groups.” In short, he was basically saying Hagel had sold out his country for a bit more than thirty pieces of silver – all the time hiding behind the assertion that “we just don’t know.”
At this point, committee chairman Carl Levin had apparently had enough. He informed Cruz, in a rather curt tone, that Hagel had been asked whether he had received compensation from any foreign or overseas source, and had answered no: indeed, the questionnaire all nominees are asked to fill out asks this questions in several different ways, and to all of these inquiries Hagel had answered in the negative. “Unless the Senator has some evidence to the contrary,” said Levin, he was going to overrule this objection and move the nomination along.
Not knowing when to shut up – and that seems to be the defining characteristic of the freshman Senator from Texas – Cruz came back at him with examples where a nominee had gone beyond the disclosure requirements, notably Hillary Clinton, who agreed to identify foreign donations to her husband’s foundation, but again Levin reminded Cruz that Hagel had answered in the negative on the questionnaires he submitted – and unless Cruz had some evidence that the nominee was intentionally misleading the committee, it was time to move on. Clearly Cruz believes Hagel is lying – yet he didn’t have the balls to come out and say so. Hiding inside of every demagogue is a coward afraid to come out.
Editor’s note: I have a flag I think Senator Cruz ought to display the one on the left in his office to reflect his true patriotism and allegiance, based on his approach to Chuck Hagel’s nomination:
It remained for Senator Bill Nelson to finally put this particular demagogue in his place by turning to Cruz and saying: “You have gone over the line, Senator Cruz.” While the committee has always been known for “a certain degree of comity and civility,” Cruz’s comments implying that Hagel is in the pay of a “foreign” entity—”questioning his patriotism” – have “gone too far.” Senator McCain, perhaps remembering that he’s supposed to be a man of honor, rushed to assure the committee that he believes Hagel integrity is unquestioned, while Cruz cringed in the corner. It was time – long past time – for some pushback from the Democrats on the committee, and Claire McCaskill didn’t disappoint. Turning to Senator Inhofe, she warned: “Be careful, Sen. Inhofe – because what if you are ‘endorsed’ by some horrible group or person?” It is an indication of how far over the edge the Hagel-haters on the committee had gone that this actually had to be pointed out.
There was no walk-out, as the neocons had been gleefully predicting: no indication of a filibuster, as they had also been hoping for. In the end it was just the same old smear-and-fear tactics we have grown so inured to, and that are sure to go a long way in making the GOP a permanent minority party. Most telling, I thought, were the remarks of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Klan Country), who bemoaned the fact that Hagel is supposedly not “in the mainstream.” The former Republican Senator from Nebraska, Wicker complained, is “a lifelong contrarian who has made a career out of defying the bipartisan consensus” on Israel and on foreign policy issues in general. Wicker echoed Lindsey Graham, who had earlier come out with a Barney Frank-esque quip that Hagel isn’t in the “right lane” or the “left lane,” instead “he’s in the Chuck Hagel lane.”
This underscores the utter cluelessness of Wicker and his Republican comrades when it comes to national security issues. They don’t understand that citing the Washington Post editorial board’s contention that Hagel’s positions are “out of the mainstream” merely exposes their misunderstanding of just where the country is at these days.
The American people are sick and tired of the untrammeled militarism that has characterized our foreign policy for the past decade or so. They are also sick and tired of the chickenhawks and laptop bombardiers who have exhausted the nation’s resources, demoralized our military, and brought us to the brink of national bankruptcy. That’s one of the reasons they rejected the GOP in a landslide election, and it’s why polls show a plurality of support for Hagel’s confirmation, including 28 percent of Republicans. This, after an unprecedented smear campaign, including television ads, in which the Israeli lobby threw everything at the nominee but the kitchen sink.
Outside the mainstream? Forget it, Senator Wicker – you’re the one swimming on the edge of the fringes, these days. It’s a new world out there. Welcome to the new mainstream.
No doubt the anti-Hagel hate campaign – and the phony “revelations” – will continue. After all, political consultants have to make a living, and the neocon smear machine has plenty of funding – yes, foreign funding – to grease its wheels. So those wheels will continue to turn, but this perpetual motion contraption is quickly churning itself into irrelevance. No one but the neocons’ dwindling hard-right fan base is even listening anymore – and, with this defeat, their power is on the wane.
What this shameful episode demonstrates is that the Israel lobby is a very real presence on Capitol Hill – but its influence on American foreign policy is no longer decisive. No, the neocons aren’t going to crawl away, licking their wounds, and disappearing into the night, but their power is greatly lessened. Sen. Inhofe and his allies are holding out for more delays, but Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has said he will not honor their holds, and the nomination process is going to play out in spite of their frantic attempts to find something – anything – that will convince “pro-Israel” Democrats to vote no.
Finally, it has to be said that this whole ploy of accusing Hagel of being some kind of “foreign” agent is typical neocon projection – they always accuse others of what they themselves are guilty of. Everyone knows, however, that the real foreign agents are the anti-Hagel crowd, spearheaded by neocon godfather Bill Kristol and his mysteriously-financed “Emergency Committee for Israel.”
Hagel is no Ron Paul: I don’t agree with his views in several important instances, but those disagreements pale beside the one vitally important aspect of this affair: a prominent public figure who has taken on the Israel lobby has somehow managed to make it through most of the confirmation process and is almost certain to become Secretary of Defense. That is a great victory for those of us who consider ourselves members of the “Emergency Committee for America,” and I can only say, in the words of the immortal Jackie Gleason: How sweet it is!
I suppose I could be flattered that William Kristol is trying to use my endorsement to derail Senator Chuck Hagel’s candidacy to be the next secretary of defense. But in fact I’m disgusted, because Kristol’s predictable hatchet job depends on the false charge that my co-author John Mearsheimer and I are “Israel-haters.” It is, to be blunt, a shameful lie. It is also a revealing glimpse into how Kristol thinks and operates.
Hagel and the New McCarthyism
Since Chuck Hagel’s name was floated as possible Secretary of Defense, the former Republican senator has been subjected to vilification to blacklist him from public service, a new form of McCarthyism that replaces suspected leftist sympathies with insufficient support for Israel.
Chuck Hagel’s Jewish Problem The would-be secretary of defense has some curious views.
Prejudice—like cooking, wine-tasting and other consummations—has an olfactory element. When Chuck Hagel, the former GOP senator from Nebraska who is now a front-runner to be the next secretary of Defense, carries on about how « the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here, » the odor is especially ripe.
Abe Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, emails me from overseas on the potential for Chuck Hagel to be picked as secretary of Defense:
“Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second, or third choice for the American Jewish community’s friends of Israel. His record relating to Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling.
The sentiments he’s expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former president Jimmy Carter.”
Foxman’s criticism follows in the wake of a column by Bret Stephens who documents Hagel’s insinuations about dual loyalty. Today Stephens writes, “Prejudice—like cooking, wine-tasting and other consummations—has an olfactory element. When Chuck Hagel, the former GOP senator from Nebraska who is now a front-runner to be the next secretary of Defense, carries on about how “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” the odor is especially ripe.”
Hagel’s use of the phrase “the Jewish lobby” was not isolated, but it was unique among elected officials outside the Pat Buchanan fringe and would be unprecedented for a cabinet official. Stephens notes:
Mr. Hagel’s Jewish lobby remark was well in keeping with the broader pattern of his thinking. “I’m a United States Senator, not an Israeli Senator,” Mr. Hagel told retired U.S. diplomat Aaron David Miller in 2006. “I’m a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States. Not to a president. Not a party. Not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I’ll do that.”
Read these staccato utterances again to better appreciate their insipid and insinuating qualities, all combining to cast the usual slur on Jewish-Americans: Dual loyalty. Nobody questions Mr. Hagel’s loyalty. He is only making those assertions to question the loyalty of others.
I and others have documented Hagel’s objection to sanctions against Iran and his particularly anti-Israel voting record. But these remarks are something different — the expression of rank prejudice against American Jews. Hagel has never apologized for, retracted or even sought to explain his remarks.
No official would be considered for high office if he questioned the loyalty of Asian Americans or Arab Americans, so it is difficult to understand why Hagel has gotten so much consideration. But then again, perhaps this is simply evidence of defining deviancy, or anti-Semitism, downward. In any event, the calls for Obama to diversify his cabinet with a woman at the Pentagon seem a graceful cover for dumping Hagel. Really, where are the women?
Neocons say potential defense chief is anti-Israel Neoconservatives have come out in force against rumored prospective Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, accusing him of being an enemy of Israel. « We will make sure every American knows he is an anti-Semite, » a GOP Senate aide told the Weekly Standard last week. The controversy centers around a phrase the former Nebraska senator once uttered: « The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. » Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal yesterday decried Hagel’s line as « the usual slur on Jewish-Americans: Dual loyalty » between Israel and the US.
The Jewish Supremacist clique, which controls the U.S. media, is now working overtime to try and halt the appointment of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense—just because he dared to say ten years ago that the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people.”
A Google News search on the topic today produced no less than 571 articles dealing with the topic, a sure indication of the Jewish Supremacists’ agitation over the matter.
Powell said that “Chuck should have said Israeli lobby, and not Jewish lobby, and perhaps he needs to write on a blackboard 100 times, ‘It is the Israeli lobby.’ But there is an Israeli lobby. There are people who are very supportive of the state of Israel. I’m very supportive of the state of Israel. So is Senator Hagel, and you’ll see that in the confirmation hearings.”
The Jewish Alegmeiner newspaper published an article by New York-based Jewish Supremacist David Meyers (who previously worked in the West Wing of the White House, and was later a speechwriter in the United States Senate) saying that Hagel’s nomination was a message that Iran had “an anti-Israel ally in the president’s war cabinet.”(read the rest…)
Graham: Chuck Hagel hostile to Israel
Published: Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:30 AM
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) — Republican Chuck Hagel, who President Barack Obama was expected to name defense secretary Monday, would be hostile to Israel, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Hagel — a former senator from Nebraska who received the Purple Heart twice for wounds while an infantry squad leader in the Vietnam War — « would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense toward the state of Israel in our nation’s history, » Graham told CNN’s « State of the Union. »
« He has long severed his ties with the Republican Party, » Graham said. « This is an in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel. I don’t know what his management experience is regarding the Pentagon — little, if any — so I think it’s an incredibly controversial choice. »
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the NBC News program « Meet the Press, » « I think it will be a lot of tough questions of Sen. Hagel, but he’ll be treated fairly by Republicans in the Senate. »
Besides publicly doubting his support for Israel, Republicans said they questioned Hagel’s seriousness about the Iranian nuclear threat and his commitment to an adequate defense budget.
Some Democrats have said they are wary of comments Hagel made in 1998, when he questioned whether « openly, aggressively gay » James Hormel was appropriate to be President Bill Clinton‘s ambassador to Luxembourg.
Hagel apologized for that comment last month, saying he also supported gays in the military — a policy he once opposed.
Hagel was first elected to the Senate in 1996. He was re-elected in 2002, retired in 2009 and now teaches at Georgetown University.
He is also chairman of the Atlantic Council foreign policy group and co-chairman of Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board.
While a senator, he broke with many in his party on the Foreign Relations Committee to criticize the management of the Iraq war after initially supporting the U.S.-led invasion.
« A lot of Republican opposition is rooted in the fact that he left his party on Iraq, » a senior administration official told The Washington Post. « And we think it will be very hard for Republicans to stand up and be able to say that they oppose someone who was against a war that most Americans think was a horrible idea. »
Hagel is also a strong advocate for veterans, a key issue as tens of thousands of U.S. troops return from battlefields after more than a decade of war, the official said.
This makes Hagel « uniquely qualified » to help wind down the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and to make budget decisions to support the returning troops, the official said.
Hagel, 66, would replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is retiring to his home in California.
If confirmed, Hagel would be the second Republican in Obama’s Cabinet, after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
(Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu steered clear of the brewing battle in Washington over the nomination for defense secretary of Chuck Hagel, whose record on Israel and Iran is under scrutiny. « I do not interfere in the political appointments of the U.S. president. It is his prerogative, » Netanyahu, who has had a testy relationship with Barack Obama, told Army Radio on Sunday when asked about the nomination.
« Congress decides and confirms, and we will work with whoever is chosen. »
Many Republicans say Hagel, a former Republican senator whose nomination was announced by Obama on Monday, has at times opposed Israel’s interests.
He voted repeatedly against U.S. sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and made disparaging remarks about the influence of what he called a « Jewish lobby » in Washington.
Hagel sought to beat back the bias allegations last week, telling the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper his record showed « unequivocal, total support for Israel » and that he had « said many times that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism ».
Last week, a columnist for Israel’s biggest selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, said Hagel’s confirmation as defense secretary would be Netanyahu’s « nightmare ».
Netanyahu, widely forecast to win a January 22 parliamentary election, faced criticism by some U.S. Democrats before the American election in November that he was interfering in U.S. politics by criticizing Washington’s handling of Iran.
The conservative Israeli leader denied those allegations.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; editing by Andrew Roche)
It’s said you can discern a man’s character by who his friends are, which may or may not be true, but in my view there’s a much more reliable way to gauge what someone’s all about: by who his enemies are. In Chuck Hagel‘s case, it tells the whole story.
Who are Hagel’s enemies? Here’s a by-no-means-comprehensive list:
Bill Kristol – It was Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and the neocons’ little Lenin, who has been at the center of the anti-Hagel hate-fest: and it was the Standard that dropped the « he’s-an-anti-Semite » bomb on the Hagel nomination, « reporting » the vicious remarks of an anonymous Senate aide:
« Send us Hagel and we’ll make sure every American knows he’s an anti-Semite. » The reason for Kristol’s animus? He’s the exact opposite of Hagel in every respect: a laptop bombardier who’s never been anywhere near the military and yet who, nevertheless, has spent a lot of time and energy over the years making the case for perpetual war. Kristol’s « Project for a New American Century » agitated ceaselessly for war with Iraq, just as it’s successor, the « Foreign Policy Initiative, » has relentlessly called for war with Iran. Here is a man who vowed to « crush Serb skulls » during the run up to our illegal and unnecessary war in the Balkans, and vowed to leave the GOP if the Republicans in Congress blocked Clinton’s war moves. As the ideologue-in-chief of the chickenhawk brigade, his magazine has become the Hagel Hater’s headquarters, reporting every criticism of the former Senator from Nebraska, from the Israel lobby to the gay lobby with bated breath and comic inconsistency. This is the first known instance in which the Weekly Standard has shown sympathy for the gay cause – and it will surely be the last.
Emergency Committee for Israel – a group of extremist supporters of Israel’s Likud party, including Kristol, which ran attack ads during the last presidential election featuring a foreign leader – Bibi Netanyahu – criticizing an American President. I wouldn’t call the Committee a « fifth column, » however, since such subversive groups tend to stay below the radar, and these guys are eager to claim the spotlight. Their ads against Hagel, which ran in the Washington, D.C. area, accuse Hagel of being insufficiently enthused about going to war with Iran – a view held by the overwhelming majority of Americans.
American Future Fund – A major recipient of money from Charles and David H. Koch, the AFF is running ads attacking New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, accusing him of having made a secret deal to become Majority Leader in return for supporting Hagel’s nomination. During the 2012 election, the AFF spent over $50 million in television ads attacking Obama and leading Democrats as being opposed to « free enterprise »: their latest anti-Hagel ads target the former Nebraska Senator for being on the board of Chevron – one of Koch Oil‘s biggest competitors.
« Americans for a Strong Defense » – This recently organized neocon front group is running ads in blue states designed to pressure Democratic Senators to vote against Hagel’s confirmation.
« ANNOUNCER: We live in a dangerous world. Iran.
REPORTER: Brand new threats from Iran aimed squarely at the United States.
ANNOUNCER: North Korea.
REPORTER: North Korea launched a long-range missile.
REPORTER: That could target the United States.
ANNOUNCER: Even Russia.
REPORTER: Russia says that its test fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile.
ANNOUNCER: But Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense wants America to back down. An end to our nuclear program. Devastating defense cuts. A weaker country. Call [Senator/s] and tell [him/her/them] to say no to Chuck Hagel – before it’s too late. » The principals:
Brian Hook, George W. Bush’s former assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, whose resume includes stints advising two UN ambassadors: neocon favorites Zalmay Khalilzad and John Bolton. He was also a foreign policy advisor to Mitt Romney’s campaign.
Mauricio Claver-Carone, executive director of Cuba Democracy Advocates, and a tireless opponent of trade liberalization, known as an extremist one-man show on Capitol Hill.
Danny Diaz, another veteran of Romney’s disastrous campaign, whose PR firm, FP1 Strategies, is behind the effort to tax online retailers like Amazon.com for the benefit of big retailers like Walmart.
The group is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, which means it doesn’t have to report its donors: the enormous sums which go into buying expensive television ads and full-page newspaper ads are being funded by secret sugar daddies (or mommies, as the case may be). We don’t even know if they’re Americans.
So, it’s just the neocons who are against Hagel, and are actively organizing to scotch his confirmation? Well, no – there’s also the neocons’ useful idiots, such as the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP’ers who had no problem supporting a presidential candidate who fired one of his foreign policy advisors for being openly gay, but who suddenly discovered Hagel’s alleged « homophobia » after accepting a huge donation from an anonymous source which went to pay for a full-page anti-Hagel newspaper ad. Their chief spokesman, who initially had only praise for Hagel, suddenly changed his tune – and mysteriously resigned his position shortly after this about-face. Another « Hagel-isn’t-gay-enough » type is Rachel Maddow, whose anti-Hagel diatribes never mention the two issues central to the debate: Israel and Iran. While Rachel has no direct connection to the neocons that I know of, she does indeed have a connection to General Electric, which owns MSNBC – and which is one of the biggest military contractors around. GE stands to lose billions if Hagel’s plans to downsize the Pentagon come to fruition.
Christians United for Israel (CUFI) has got to be one of the biggest, and most pathetically comical, of all the Useful Idiots: they are a highly organized and well-funded group of born-again Christians of the dispensationalist variety, whose theology holds that Israel must be supported unconditionally and forever, because that’s God’s Will. They believe Israel will be attacked by the Anti-Christ, and that this war – World War III – will end in the victory of God’s Legions, and the Second Coming of Christ. Their leader, the Rev. John Hagee, is a full-bore nut-job who says Catholicism is « a godless theology of hate, » and that Hitler’s attempt to exterminate the Jews was part of God’s « divine plan » to create the state of Israel. CUFI organized a petition that garnered 17,000 names opposing Hagel, and the group plans to travel to Capitol Hill to lobby against his confirmation.
Under the general heading of Useful Idiots we can also include those far-leftists, and other sectarians, who refuse to believe on principle that anyone nominated to head up the Pentagon could possibly be good news for peace advocates. Unable to see the issue in context, and oblivious to the real implications of a challenge to neocon hegemony in the foreign policy field, these sectarians refuse to see any value in supporting someone whose confirmation will open up the foreign policy debate. After all, he won’t be dismantling the American Empire in one fell swoop.
The list of Hagel’s enemies could go on, and on: suffice to say that every neocon shill in the country is up in arms over the Hagel nomination – and this should tell us something.
Why is a political faction fanatically devoted to war expending all these resources on a campaign to demonize a man whose views on matters such as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process are irrelevant to the position he’s been appointed to – a military man who is hardly likely to disarm the United States and bring about « an end to our nuclear program »? Aside from the sheer fun of wasting the Kochs’ cash, why spend good money attacking Sen. Schumer, whose reelection is 99.9 percent assured?
The reason is because devoted warmongers cannot stay silent in the face of what Hagel’s nomination represents: a strategic shift in the US military posture, one the President intends to set in motion during his second term – away from an offensive mode, and back to a pre-9/11 defensive mode.
The Bush years were the era of « preventive » warfare – marked by a strike on Afghanistan made ostensibly to prevent future terrorist attacks, and an invasion of Iraq justified in the name of preventing the use of « weapons of mass destruction » Saddam Hussein never possessed in the first place. Both of these campaigns were justified by the so-called Bush Doctrine, which proclaimed America’s « right » to attack anyone, anywhere, for any reason.
The Hagel Doctrine, however, represents quite a different mindset. Hagel, a veteran of Vietnam, has said his experience in that conflict made him determined to avoid unnecessary wars and to view military action only as the very last resort. He has said we need to « talk to our enemies » – heresy as far as the neocons are concerned, whose studied arrogance during the Bush era precluded any negotiations short of issuing ultimatums.
The accusations of « anti-Israel » bias are largely a smokescreen to hide the real issue: the post-9/11 downsizing (albeit not dismantling) of the American empire, and the undoing of the neocon coup that took place right after 9/11. That’s how Colin Powell described the neoconservative capture of the national security apparatus in the early days of the Bush administration, and that’s precisely what occurred: the displacement of the traditional military-diplomatic community in favor of the neocons’ hand-picked personnel, who faked « evidence » of Iraq’s WMD and lied us into war. Deeply embedded in the national security bureaucracy, the neocons will face a formidable enemy in Hagel, who will doubtless fill the Pentagon policy shop with those who share his « realist » sympathies – and root out those who don’t.
If Hagel is confirmed, it will mark the end of neocon influence in Washington foreign policy circles – and, perhaps, their permanent eclipse as an effective political force. What more could we ask for or hope for?
Chuck Hagel: Question the NWO
In the Jan. 27 edition of The Washington Post, well-known reporter Bob Woodward writes that President Obama tapped Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense because of a conversation the two had in 2009. During a White House visit that year, Obama asked Hagel his opinion on foreign policy and defense issues.
Hagel responded: “We are at a time where there is a new world order. We don’t control it. You must question everything, every assumption, everything [the military and diplomats] tell you. . . . You need to question our role. You need to question the military. You need to question what are we using the military for.”
Only the most extreme Likudnik could regard Chuck Hagel as anything but a rock-solid, and implacable friend of Israel. Except for the fact of his saying, at one time, that he was a Senator from the United States of America, and not the state of Israel — that has obviously been questioned. And so, for that “egregious” and “insurmountable sin/error” he is being driven through the coals. No doubt, that brownie points will be earned for those who go the furthest — in gumming up the works for the Defense Secretary nomination — with extensive senatorial anachronistic/byzantine/archaic, and furthermore small-minded maneuvering.
Why Obama, who is as much a tool of the lobby as anyone, has nominated Hagel is an absolute mystery. Hagel may be about as good a friend to Israel as anyone, but he is; of course, not being perceived in many corners that way. So there seems to be some risk for the congenitally/serially timid Obama, in offering up Hagel as his Secretary of Defense nominee. Perhaps Obama is retaliating against Bibi Netanyahu (for his support of Romney in the presidential campaign), this is unlike Obama; however, who typically has no chutzpah, stick-to-itiveness, courage, mettle, wherewithal or spine though. Obama’s modus operandi rather is to typically “lead” from the rear. Better off not to get his hands dirty, apparently, or at least wait until the last minute, to engage in such “burdensome deeds”.
What happens to those who do not show the requisite fealty to the state of Israel (and the Israel lobby), has been well documented by the former Congresswoman from Georgia Cynthia McKinney. Redistricting, via the assistance of the ostensibly civil rights Anti-Defamation League, was a tool used in dislodging the venerable Congresswoman; cancelling fundraisers that the lobby would have conducted on her behalf; and smearing her as palling around with “fringe” Jewish elements — all coalesced in her disreputable ouster.
These tribulations were leveled upon her for failing to sign a pledge in support of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (which is illegal under international law), vowing to vote in favor of the United States ensuring Israeli military superiority over its neighboring adversaries, and agreeing to consistently vote in support of the economic aid that Israel deigns. According to McKinney the pledge has since been replaced by a written paragraph — from all congressmembers and senators — that is analogous to the aforementioned (now retired) one.
The exceptional Congresswoman was succeeded by a rather erudite man who thinks that islands can capsize — owing to their overpopulation! But undoubtedly, he duly states his morning oath to the Israeli lobby every day! In other words, what stands in for free, and/or critical thinking when it comes to the “special relationship” between the United States of America, and its “indispensable ally” the state of Israel.
This would appear to be a privileged issue over education, war, peace, the general welfare, the overly extensive “defense”/military budget, massive corporate tax evasion, the wealthy paying their fair share, the continued lack of universal health care in America (which Obamacare won’t change), the seemingly ever-growing inequality in America today, and the evisceration of private sector unionization concomitantly with that of the American manufacturing base. Additionally, any number of other issues could be named of which the alleged special relationship, seems to be a burning priority over them. Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts has said, “America and the Constitution will be safe the day Cynthia McKinney or a similar person is president of the United States.
Until then, we are in great peril.” Chuck Hagel is certainly far-flung from the character of a leader like Cynthia McKinney (and he is of course not being considered for president), but among the atrophied minds of the moribund and ossified career politicians in Washington, he may be a cut above — the garden variety individual — among that sordid breed! For not accepting some of the bromides, and imposed articles of faith of our “utmost” politicians in Washington he appears to undergoing a certain kind of crucifixion!
The irony should not be lost that he is experiencing this exceedingly astringent thrashing; coincidentally, by many of the same people, who claim to be devout and pious adherents of Jesus of Nazareth. My jury is still out about Chuck Hagel, I am certain that he is not a panacea — a salve, however, he might be.
The devolved, retrograde, stolid and imperceptive minds of many of the Israel Firsters that overwhelmingly populate the United States Congress undeniably cannot see things this way. And so for that they will make an example out of the former Nebraska Senator! He will eventually be confirmed in my opinion, though, but the dark hearts that are allied against him, will defend the foreign diktats that they adhere to with immense glee! They will go down shrilly; for certainly, but it looks like — when it is all sown up — they will go down (accordingly) inelegantly too.
The Secret Enemies of Chuck Hagel
(…) While it is not known whether casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who pumped $150 million into the 2012 election, is funding any of the latest groups, the New York Times reported Adelson, a strong pro-Israel advocate, has been calling Republicans to urge them to oppose Hagel. A representative for Adelson did not respond to a request from U.S. News for comment. (…)
A brand new conservative group calling itself Americans for a Strong Defense and financed by anonymous donors is running advertisements urging Democratic senators in five states to vote against Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee to be secretary of defense, saying he would make the United States “a weaker country.”
Another freshly minted and anonymously backed organization, Use Your Mandate, which presents itself as a liberal gay rights group but purchases its television time through a prominent Republican firm, is attacking Mr. Hagel as “anti-Gay,” “anti-woman” and “anti-Israel” in ads and mailers.
Those groups are joining at least five others that are organizing to stop Mr. Hagel’s confirmation, a goal even they acknowledge appears to be increasingly challenging. But the effort comes with a built-in consolation prize should it fail: depleting some of Mr. Obama’s political capital as he embarks on a new term with fresh momentum.
The media campaign to scuttle Mr. Hagel’s appointment, unmatched in the annals of modern presidential cabinet appointments, reflects the continuing effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which loosened campaign finance restrictions and was a major reason for the record spending by outside groups in the 2012 election. All told, these independent and largely secretly financed groups spent well over $500 million in an attempt to defeat Mr. Obama and the Democrats, a failure that seemed all the greater given the huge amounts spent.
While the campaign against Mr. Hagel, a Republican, is not expected to cost more than a few million dollars, it suggests that the operatives running the independent groups and the donors that finance them — many of whom are millionaires and billionaires with ideological drive and business agendas that did not go away after the election — are ready to fight again.
“We were anxious to get back into the battle,” said Nick Ryan, a Republican strategist and the founder of the American Future Fund, which started as a small, Iowa-based political committee in 2007 and has grown larger since taking a leading role now against Mr. Hagel. “Postelection we have new battle lines being drawn with the president; he kicks it off with these nominations and it made sense for us.”
Groups like his would have been able to operate freely against Mr. Hagel even before Citizens United. But the ruling has served to erase what had been traditional fears among donors that their involvement in the fight of the day would lead to legal trouble or, for those who prefer to stay anonymous, unwanted public exposure. That confidence, in turn, has helped spur the increase in the number of political organizations that pop up to engage in the big political entanglement of the moment.
American Future Fund was formed under a section of the tax code that allows it to keep its donors secret. It spent more than $20 million seeking to defeat Mr. Obama and the Democrats last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group. Other major conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity — partly financed by the industrialist Koch family — and Crossroads GPS are not involved in the Hagel nomination, but have made it clear that they will continue to combat the president’s agenda on several fronts.
The outside activity is not confined to Republicans. Mr. Obama’s campaign apparatus has transformed itself into a nonprofit political group, though it said it would disclose the names of its donors (and it is not getting involved in the Hagel fight).
After Mr. Obama won re-election in November and Democrats kept their majority in the Senate and made inroads in the House, Republican Party officials and senior strategists with conservative outside groups predicted that some of the big financiers of the larger outside efforts would pull back and reassess their involvement and whether their millions were wasted. But while the donors have said they will insist that the groups they finance find lessons in last year’s losses, their interest and stakes in what happens in Washington have certainly not waned.
For instance, the biggest individual financier of the so-called super PACs that sought to defeat Mr. Obama, Sheldon Adelson, is so invested in the fight over Mr. Hagelthat he has reached out directly to Republican Senators to urge them to hold the line against his confirmation, which would be almost impossible to stop against six Republican “yes” votes and a unified Democratic caucus.
Given the more than $100 million he donated to the anti-Obama effort last year, no lawmakers need to be reminded of his importance to their future endeavors. People briefed on his involvement said Mr. Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and a longtime supporter of Israel, was calling in conjunction with the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group he has financed for several years.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in December, Mr. Adelson said he was prepared to “double” his investment in politics in the coming year.
But it is unclear whether he is directly financing any of the anti-Hagel advertising. An associate of his, speaking about Mr. Adelson’s thinking on condition of anonymity, said he did not believe that expensive television campaigns are the answer to every political push given that Mr. Obama’s re-election team accomplished so much of its success through online and volunteer efforts.
Citing similar reasons, another major Republican donor, Foster Friess, said in an interview that he had developed his own skepticism over “the whole idea of these multimedia ads from 45,000 feet.” After last year’s losses he said he was devoting most of his resources to an effort he called “Left-Right, Left-Right Forward March,” which finds projects liberals and conservatives can support together, like water purification in developing countries.
Still, he said, “no one in this effort is going to give up the values that they think are important.” For him, that extends to Mr. Hagel, whose “past statements about Israel should be really taken into consideration” Mr. Friess said, adding, “and I would hope they could find a better person to serve in that position.”
Whatever its chances of success, the blitz against Mr. Hagel is of a sort that has generally been reserved for elections and some Supreme Court nominations. The last major cabinet skirmish, over President George W. Bush’s nomination of John R. Bolton as the United States ambassador to the United Nations, had no comparable outside media blitz. Though goaded along by a phone campaign organized by the political action arm of the liberal group MoveOn, Democrats succeeded in blocking him in the Senate, forcing Mr. Bush to appoint him during a congressional recess.
That was before the Citizens United decision.
“This is the first big cabinet fight since Bolton,” said Michael Goldfarb, a strategist for a conservative group opposed to Mr. Hagel called the Emergency Committee for Israel and a founder of a conservative Web site called The Washington Free Beacon, which is running a steady stream of anti-Hagel news articles. “And things have evolved in the last seven years.”
The most mysterious of the new groups is Use Your Mandate. Portraying itself as a gay rights group, it has sent mailers to voters in seven states — including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Montana — and run television ads against Mr. Hagel in New York and Washington. It has sent out posts on Twitter questioning his gay rights record and asking, “Is this what we worked so hard for?” Established gay rights activists have expressed skepticism about the group’s authenticity.
It has no Web site and it only lists as its address a post office box in New York. But paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission link it back to Tusk Strategies, a bipartisan political group founded by Bradley Tusk, a former strategist for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York.
In an interview, Mr. Tusk would only identify its financiers as Democratic “gay and L.G.B.T. people who have been active in campaigns around the country.”
Yet federal records show that Use Your Mandate uses Del Cielo Media, an arm of one of the most prominent Republican ad-buying firms in the country, Smart Media, with clients that have included the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah and Senator John McCain of Arizona; the 2010 Senate campaign of Christine O’Donnell, who was known for positions against homosexuality, in Delaware; and, as it happens, the Emergency Committee for Israel.
Mike McIntire, Kate Zernike and Derek Willis contributed reporting.
GOOD LUCK, CHUCK • American Free Press applauds President Obama on his choice to head the war department
On Jan. 7, President Barack Obama tapped Chuck Hagel, a popular two-term senator from Nebraska, to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This newspaper and its subscribers extend a resounding thank you to the president for his selection of Hagel to head the U.S. war department at such a critical time.
Few men in public life are better suited for the position than Hagel. The holder of two purple hearts for wounds received in combat during Vietnam, Hagel’s political positionsmirror his wartime heroism, especially his conviction that the best interests of the United States are not served by a fixation on the Mideast to the detriment of domestic issues.
While it is true that Hagel in his first term in the Senate supported President GeorgeW. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, by his second term Hagel had realized his mistake in regard to Iraq and bucked the Republican leadership in order to support a complete troop withdrawal fromIraq by late 2007. Upon retiring from office in 2009, Hagel changed his views on Afghanistan as well, going so far as to call for an “exit” to that decade-long war.
Perhaps more important than his change of heart on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the fact that Hagel, while still in the Senate, had the courage to thumb his nose at the powerful Jewish lobby and vote against sanctions on Iran. And if that was not bad enough for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the ADL, he went on record opposing war with the Persian nation. He believed that talking with the Iranian government was the best way to resolve any conflicts our two countries may have.
Hagel’s common sense and patriotism are anathema to the Israel-first media, the spokesmen for which characteristically find the futile, thankless and expensive policy of internationalismto be the proper course for America no matter the cost in defeat, destruction, death and onrushing national bankruptcy.
So we say, stay the course, Chuck, and be confident that patriotic and sensible Americans bless you, as does the spirit of George Washington and the sainted Founders and great men of our bleeding country.