So, as Democrats and/or “progressives”, we shouldn’t object to Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Sec. of Defense, because although he is a Republican, he is not totally and rabidly pro-Israel and he is somewhat restrained about creating new wars just for the hell of it. I mean “hell” literally, although to be fair to the Americans in the audience, blowing up people anywhere on the planet without charges or trial and invading foreign countries for no reason other than (illegal) resource-grab and (illegal) regime change (*) has not been nearly as much hell for US citizens as it has for people living in other countries. That’s mainly because Americans, by and large, don’t see any connection between their own relatively minor circle of hell: the dwindling job market, their cratering social safety network, the threat to their social security and medicare, the crumbling infrastructure at home – and the monies spent on the US’ militarized takeover of the world. And certainly we are not suffering the hell of having bombs dropped out of the sky onto our loved ones or our country completely torn up for senseless reasons, or foreign troops interfering in our local issues. [“[…]Bush’s roughly 24,000 air strikes in seven years from 2002 to 2008 amounted to an air strike about every 3 hours, while Obama’s 20,130 in four years add up to one every 1-3/4 hours.[…]” – http://www.alternet.org/world/bomber-chief-20000-airstrikes-presidents-first-term-cause-death-and-destruction-iraq-somalia] We’ve also never been forced to live under the sanctions of another country. Obviously, though, if we are spending increasing amounts on drones, weapons, the CIA, and the Pentagon, we have less to spend on the needs of the people here at home, but we are so programmed to “support the warriors” that we seem utterly incapable of making that leap of logic.
(*) Why is it that when we want to drop-kick the leader of a foreign country, his government becomes a “regime” and he becomes a “tyrant” or a “despot”, no matter how we referred to that leader and his government prior to our antipathy? Just asking.
Why, even Glenn Greenwald supported the Hagel nomination, so Hagel must be okay. Not wholeheartedly, to be sure, but overall, his point of view is that Hagel should be supported because he is not so pro-Israel and he is not so prone to jump into new wars.
“[…] But at the very least, Hagel’s confirmation will be a much-needed declaration that some mild dissent on foreign policy orthodoxies and Israel is permitted. It will shatter AIPAC’s veto power and dilute the perception of the so-called “pro-Israel community’s” unchallengeable power. It will ensure that there is at least some diversity of viewpoints when it comes to debating endless war, belligerence v. negotiations, and MidEast policy. It will highlight the typically-suppressed differences within the GOP and the country about America’s war posture. In sum, as Matt Duss very persuasively detailed in the American Prospect, Hagel’s confirmation would bring some incremental though potentially substantial benefits.
“Given the steadfast and usually unquestioning support most liberals have given this Democratic President as he’s pursued policies of aggression and militarism, they should refrain from opposing one of the few prominent dissidents on these matters absent some very compelling reasons. So far, nothing remotely compelling has been offered. If this nomination actually happens, this will be one of Obama’s best appointments and boldest steps of his presidency. It would be ironic indeed, and more than a bit unfortunate, if liberals decide to make this nomination one of the very few times they are willing to oppose their party’s leader.[…]”
I honestly admire Greenwald and am inclined to agree with his summation on almost every subject about which he writes. I bet he just didn’t see the following coming when he wrote that piece on Hagel. Within a mere week or two, we see that Hagel, in an effort to secure his own place in the sun, shows the same strength of character, moral fiber, and firmness of spine as any politician in Washington; to wit, none.
15 January, 2013:
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support Tuesday for the nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, delivering a key vote for the Nebraska Republican’s confirmation after weeks of voicing doubt about his positions on security issues related to Israel and Iran.
Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat and most senior Jewish senator, made the decision after a 90-minute meeting Monday in the West Wing, a secretive huddle that Schumer and White House officials kept under wraps until the decision to announce his support Tuesday.
“Senator Hagel could not have been more forthcoming and sincere,” Schumer said Tuesday in a statement. “Based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation. I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him.”
Schumer informed Obama of his decision Monday after the meeting with Hagel, phoning the former senator Tuesday morning to formalize his support, according to a Senate aide familiar with the discussion.
Schumer said that his support was sewn up after Hagel — whom Obama formally nominated last week after a month of preparation — committed to several positions regarding Iran that met with Schumer’s preference.As a two-term senator, Hagel called for direct talks with the Iranian government and opposed unilateral sanctions by the United States against Iran. In a detailed statement, Schumer said Hagel left no doubt that he would support an aggressive posture toward Tehran.
“Senator Hagel rejected a strategy of containment and expressed the need to keep all options on the table in confronting that country. But he didn’t stop there,” Schumer said. “In our conversation, Senator Hagel made a crystal-clear promise that he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, including the use of military force. He said his ‘top priority’ as secretary of defense would be the planning of military contingencies related to Iran.”
Schumer said Hagel also pledged to continue supporting the delivery of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Israel and in general supported Israel’s right to a strong “qualitative military edge,” as its leaders like to assert.
Schumer had become a key linchpin in the nomination battle, as many senior Republicans have expressed deep doubt about Hagel’s confirmation. If Schumer had opposed Hagel, then a crucial bloc of pro-Israel Democrats might have joined him and made confirmation impossible. Schumer’s announcement follows the public endorsement of Hagel by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), another prominent Jewish Democrat who is also a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee.
“I needed comprehensive answers,” Boxer told reporters Tuesday in a conference call, explaining that she demanded that Hagel follow up their phone discussion with a letter memorializing his answers on Israel and Iran. In his talks with Boxer and Schumer, Hagel expressed deep regret at his “Jewish lobby” remark years ago when referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
“He was very devastated by it, looking back,” Boxer said.
White House officials made Schumer the first senator to formally meet with Hagel, whose views were not just a confirmation assurance, according to Schumer. “Senator Hagel realizes the situation in the Middle East has changed, with Israel in a dramatically more endangered position than it was even five years ago. His views are genuine, and reflect this new reality.”
His (current) views are genuine, unlike his old views, which he has summarily discarded, and the reality is that in order to move up the ladder in DC, he who can most quickly eject his belief system and absorb into the Borg is the one most likely to succeed. Damn the ethics and full speed ahead.
A note on the title of this post for those too young to understand the reference: “The Three Faces of Eve is a 1957 American film adaptation of a case study by Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley. It was based on the true story of Chris Costner Sizemore, also known as Eve White, a woman who suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) formerly known as multiple personality disorder. Sizemore’s identity was concealed in interviews and this film, and was not revealed to the public until 1975.” – from wikipedia on the film.