Chuck Hagel gets reinforcement from gay rights advocates, but White House is wobbling

on 23 Comments

A lot going on on the Chuck Hagel front. The possible Defense Secretary nominee got hammered on the talk shows yesterday not only by Israel lobbyist Chuck Schumer but by rightwingers Lindsey Graham and Joe “serious doubts” Lieberman— to the point that the National Journal reports that lilylivered Obama is wavering on his former friend and looking to other candidates.

But the gay man whom Hagel slurred 14 years ago has accepted Hagel’s apology; and Hagel has gotten backing from Steve Clemons, pushing back against the idea that Hagel is against gay rights. Also, Hagel continues to get backup from liberal Zionists, the liberal Israel lobby whom Obama was said to have believed he could depend on. And liberals and realists (check out Robert Naiman’s petition) are behind him. But Obama evidently believes in Joe Lieberman. Backward looking.

(If Chuck Hagel goes down, will it be with a bang or a whimper? Will he blame the Israel lobby that has shot so many arrows into him in recent days? I think he will, for the sake of his country; I think he’ll address the number one issue, Israel-Palestine, in an important speech, and gain a stature that Obama and high office couldn’t have given him anyway. In Hagel’s book, he often speaks of a third party. Well, maybe now’s the time.)

Here’s the wrapup:

Michael Hirsh at National Journal says the White House is wavering on Chuck Hagel:

Besieged by criticism from right and left, and considerable skepticism from his former Senate colleagues, Chuck Hagel appears to be following the path of Susan Rice as a trial-balloon nominee who finds himself quickly losing altitude in Washington. And as happened with Rice, the White House  is now signaling that it may soon puncture Hagel’s hopes…

A senior administration official told National Journal on Sunday that it was “fair” to say Obama is considering candidates other than Hagel for Defense secretary, in particular Michele Flournoy, who was under secretary of Defense for policy in Obama‘s first term, and Ashton Carter, the current deputy Defense secretary. Only a week ago, Bloomberg News reported that Hagel was Obama’s top choice.

The White House‘s revised characterization of Hagel’s standing came after what was, for the former Republican senator, a particularly discouraging series of comments on the Sunday-morning talk shows. Outgoing Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that it would be “a very tough confirmation process,”

Jerry Haber urges Obama to press forward:

Chuck Hagel may be Israel’s last chance for survival as a Jewish democracy. That’s why liberal hawks like Goldberg are partial to him.  Given my positions, I should be supporting a secretary of state that assists Israel in going over the cliff (like Hillary). But this is one cliff I prefer avoiding.  

Josh Marshall says it’s an ugly spectacle for which Obama is responsible (though he does not comment on the Israel lobby angle):

it’s the White House’s responsibility to make some level of intention clear and not allow these things to take on a life of their own in the media, if that is in fact what is happening.

The Israel Policy Forum, a liberal Zionist org, is also standing up for him. Peter Joseph:

His description of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the “strategic epicenter” of the Middle East have been subsequently reflected by CENTCOM chief General James Mattis, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, former CIA Director General David Petraeus and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who have all similarly identified resolving the Arab-Israeli dispute as critical for advancing regional stability and American interests.

None of this should be considered dangerous for the United States or the State of Israel.

Former Ambassador James Hormel, the subject of Hagel’s anti-gay slur in 1998, uses Facebook to accept Hagel’s apology:

Senator Hagel’s apology is significant–I can’t remember a time when a potential presidential nominee apologized for anything. While the timing appears self-serving, the words themselves are unequivocal–they are a clear apology. Since 1998, fourteen years have passed, and public attitudes have shifted–perhaps Senator Hagel has progressed with the times, too.’

The Human Rights Campaign has also accepted Hagel’s apology:

“Senator Hagel’s apology and his statement of support for LGBT equality is appreciated and shows just how far as a country we have come when a conservative former Senator from Nebraska can have a change of heart on LGBT issues,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “Our community continues to add allies to our ranks and we’re proud that Senator Hagel is one of them.”

And here’s a petition at Moveon that urges Obama to go through with the nomination.

President Obama wants to nominate Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Hagel wants to end the war in Afghanistan, prevent war with Iran, and make reasonable cuts to the Pentagon budget. Some right-wing groups are trying to scuttle the nomination by making up lies about Hagel’s record. Show President Obama you have his back in nominating his first choice, Chuck Hagel, by signing this petition.

Finally, Steve Clemons has a wonderful piece up at Huffington Post affirming Hagel’s support for gay rights and urging Obama to nominate him. “The Chuck Hagel I Know: A Staunch Defender of Gay Rights”:

Chuck Hagel will be strongly supportive of the gains of the LGBT community in our national life — and particularly in our military and intelligence services — if indeed President Obama nominates this great strategic and military thinker to succeed Leon Panetta.

Update: Sullivan, great as always, “Grow a Pair, Mr. President:”

Let’s just say that if Obama allows Bill Kristol to scalp a Purple Heart veteran for defense – then he will be betraying the core base that got him the nomination and the presidency twice. People didn’t vote for Obama to get a neoconservative-dictated foreign policy. First the smearing and scalping of Rice; now the brutal AIPAC-led campaign against Hagel. I say: let the hearings begin, and let Hagel debate the wisdom of the Iraq war with those who campaigned so ferociously for it. Let a Purple Heart veteran Republican take on Bill Kristol and Dick Cheney

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23 Responses

  1. seafoid
    December 24, 2012, 10:52 am

    It is all politics. Obama needs to get over the fiscal cliff more than anything. The bots are out in the open over this- they may win this battle but Zionism won’t survive the war. Their viciousness is noted and not just in the US.

    • Rusty Pipes
      December 24, 2012, 12:54 pm

      You might have a point. Obama may need to get fiscal matters settled before he is ready to fill Panetta’s vacancy.

  2. Dan Crowther
    December 24, 2012, 11:18 am

    All chuck all the time

  3. David Green
    December 24, 2012, 11:21 am

    Critique of Hagel-mania from Charles Davis:

    False Dichotomy by charles davis

    A defense secretary of their own
    December 22, 2012 5:11 PM

    How bad has it gotten for the US antiwar movement? After the president its most prominent leaders supported in 2008 took George W. Bush’s war on terror and institutionalized it, they have been at a strategic loss, unable to kick their dogmatic, electoral-minded tactics to the point that they are now engaged in an awkward campaign to get a conservative Republican appointed to administer Barack Obama’s wars. Indeed, after getting a commander-in- chief of its own, the down-and-out antiwar movement is now angling to get its own defense secretary.

    The logic behind the leftists for Chuck Hagel campaign — sometimes unstated — is not so much that he’s a great guy, but that the people attacking him are even worse. And to be fair, they’re right. Most of the people blasting the former Nebraska senator hail from the belligerent far right, primarily employed by neoconservative media outlets like the Weekly Standard and Washington Post. Their critique is that Hagel is no friend of the Jewish state, and perhaps even anti-Semitic, because he once made comments critical of its influential lobby in DC and opposed Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon (an undeniably good thing). He’s also talked about giving diplomacy a shot with Iran, when the proper line is supposed to be “nah, fuck those guys.”

    Hagel has also come under fire from military lobbyists for his stated desire to cut bloat at the Pentagon, though it’s worth remembering that Bush/Obama secretary of defense Robert Gates pledged the same thing while burning through the biggest military budgets in world history. In other words, the usual sky-is-falling crowd is making much ado about nothing with respect to a guy who, outside of a few maverick-y speeches over the years, adheres to the Washington consensus as much as the next old white guy. Their goal? Maybe a nice little war with a third-rate power and a bit larger share of the GDP. But like executives at Goldman Sachs, they know they’re going to be pretty much fine no matter who is in office.

    It would be one thing to simply point this out; that yes, some of the charges against Hagel can politely be called “silly. ” One can disagree about the wisdom of Israeli wars, for instance, without being a raging anti-Semite, and indeed much of the Israeli establishment would privately concede their 2006 war was a bust. And with politicians talking of slashing Social Security, you damned well better believe it’s not a gaffe to say maybe we ought to take a quick look at where half the average American’s income tax goes: the military. Such a defense might have some value.

    Unfortunately, that’s not what the pro-Hagel campaign is doing. Instead, they’re billing the fight over Hagel’s nomination as a defining battle of Obama’s second term. If Hagel wins, the argument goes, AIPAC loses, opening up the foreign policy debate in Washington and increasing the possibility of peace in our time. If his nomination goes down, however, that reinforces the idea that the hawkish foreign policy consensus in Washington shall not be challenged and that even the mildest criticisms of Israel cannot be tolerated. Some even suggest that who administers the Defense Department could decide if there’s a war with Iran or not, perhaps forgetting the chain of command.

    Indeed, most of Hagel’s defenders aren’t defending his occasionally heterodox views on Israel and unilateral sanctions (he’s cool with the multilateral, 500,000-dead- children- in-Iraq kind), but rather trumpeting his commitment to orthodoxy. The Center for American Progress, for instance, has released a dossier detailing “Chuck Hagel’s Pro-Israel Record, ” noting his oft-stated verbal and legislative commitment to the “special relationship. ” Some of his former staffers have also issued a fact sheet showing that all of Hagel’s alleged heretical views are well within the hawkish mainstream.

    Further left on the spectrum, it’s not much different. The Washington-based group Just Foreign Policy, for instance, has revived Democratic rhetoric from 2004 to pitch the fight over the potential Hagel nomination in black and white terms of good and evil.

    “The Obama-hating Neocon Right is trying to ‘Swift Boat’ the expected nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, ” the group states in a recent email blast to supporters. Neoconservatives have been “making up a fantasy scare story that Hagel . .. is ‘anti-Israel, ‘ ” it continues, helpfully informing us that the Hagel the neocons make out to be such a reasonable guy is indeed a fantasy. Finally, it ends with an appeal: “We cannot stand idly by as the neocons stage a coup of our foreign policy, ” followed by a petition supporting Hagel’s nomination hosted by sure to defeat any military coup.

    In a blog, the group’s policy director, Robert Naiman, likewise pitches the battle over Hagel’s nomination in terms of Obama vs. The Warmongers. “Hagel represents the foreign policy that the majority of Americans voted for in 2008 and 2012: less war, more diplomacy, ” he writes, pointing to past statements he’s made about the wisdom of a war with Iran.

    Of course, the unfortunate truth is that American’s didn’t vote for “less war, more diplomacy, ” as comforting as that thought may be, because they haven’t had the chance. In this past election, Obama often ran to the right of Mitt Romney, his campaign frequently suggesting the latter would not have had the guts to kill Osama bin Laden. The DNC ridiculed Romney for suggesting he’d consider the war’s legality before bombing Iran. “Romney Said He Would Talk To His Lawyers Before Deciding Whether To Use Military Force, ” read the press release, as if that’s a bad thing. Obama, bomber of a half-dozen countries, never forgot to mention the “crippling” sanctions he’s imposed.

    And J Street, the group that just co-sponsored a rally with AIPAC backing the Israeli state’s latest killing spree? Ask a resident of Gaza how “pro-peace” it is.

    But, in order to create a sign-this-petition! narrative, one often can’t do nuance. So Naiman doesn’t. In another post, this one highlighting Hagel’s establishment support, because antiwar activists care about that sort of thing, he casually refers to former ambassador Ryan Crocker as among the “diplomacy champions and war skeptics” backing the former senator. This would be the same Ryan Crocker appointed by George W. Buish who has said “it’s simply not the case that Afghans would rather have US forces gone, ” and dismissed the killing of at least 25 people in Afghanistan, including children, as “not a very big deal. ”

    That should give you a good idea of the obfuscation going on in the antiwar campaign for a Pentagon chief. This is a problem. If you’re going to play the role of the savvy Washington activist and get involved in the inside baseball that is fights over cabinet appointments, ostensibly to reframe the debate more than anything – we must defeat AIPAC! – you ought not go about reinforcing adherence to orthodoxy and the perceived value of establishment support and credentials. And you ought not cast as heroes of the peace movement people that really shouldn’t be. That’s actually really dangerous.

    Yet, some would rather play down Hagel’s pro-war credentials for the all-important narrative. So we cast him as a staunch opponent of a war with Iran, ignoring his repeated assertions that we must “keep all options on the table” with respect to the Islamic Republic, including killing men, women and children. In a piece he coauthored with other establishment foreign policy figures, Hagel’s opposition to war amounted merely to a call to consider its costs – and its benefits.

    For instance, “a U. S. attack would demonstrate the country’s credibility as an ally to other nations in the region and would derail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for several years, providing space for other, potentially longer-term solutions, ” the senator and his friends wrote. “An attack would also make clear the United States’ full commitment to nonproliferation as other nations contemplate moves in that direction. ” Ah, but he mentioned there could be “costs” (though none of those he mentioned were “dead people”). Such is brave, antiwar opposition in Washington.

    But that’s the cynical game played in DC by some of the would-be movers-and-shakers on the outskirts of the policy conversation: cynically play down a politician’s faults to please funders, other politicians and one’s own sense of savvy self-satisfaction. It’s how the antiwar movement ended up dissolving and largely getting behind a president who more than doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan. People were presented a rosy image of a candidate who was on their side and they concluded their work was done upon his election. The same thing threatens to be the case with Chuck Hagel. Indeed, as The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg notes, “who better to sell the president’s militant Iran position than someone who comes from the realist camp? ”

    When I privately raised some of these concerns with Naiman, he got snooty quick, just as he did with other writers who questioned whether the quest to “defeat AIPAC” should be conducted by stressing why AIPAC should love the guy. To me, Naiman wrote that if I had concerns about the antiwar movement taking ownership of a defense secretary, “There are plenty of organizations that pursue an ultra-left, ideological purist line. Why don’t you give them your support and be happy? ”

    We live in an an age where ideological purity is defined as being uncomfortable with an antiwar organization throwing unequivocal support behind a conservative Republican to head the Pentagon. It’s an amazing world.

    Rather than engage in the reactionary politics of supporting what one perceives to be the least-evil administrator of war, those on the antiwar left and right ought to be truth tellers. Let’s not sugar coat this: The problem isn’t just AIPAC and the neocons, but the Center for American Progress and the neoliberals. Dumbing down the reality only serves to bolster one faction of the war party. And it kills antiwar movements.

    • HPH
      December 25, 2012, 1:16 pm

      Inspired by the fact that Phil Weiss has yet another post about this matter today, I will make a small comment here.

      I enjoyed this thoughtful article. However, no specific ideal candidate is discussed and compared with Chuck Hagel. It is really an article about the ineffectiveness of the antiwar movement, as stated in the opening sentence.

      The primary issue is that the advocates for war with Iran oppose Chuck Hagel because he has been negative about such a war. These warmongers seem to be confident that any other candidate would be more supportive of a war with Iran.

      Just as the article makes an argument without mentioning a name of an ideal candidate, I make an argument without naming the ideal candidate: The ideal candidate is one opposed by the warmongers. Other matters, such as existing wars, are secondary details at this time of making a choice of a specific person.

  4. Les
    December 24, 2012, 11:26 am

    Surely Hagel knows Obama to be the “great capitulator” from the moment he got into the White House. Think of him as a neo-Republican.

  5. Mooser
    December 24, 2012, 12:09 pm

    “Josh Marshall says it’s an ugly spectacle for which Obama is responsible (though he does not comment on the Israel lobby angle”

    I noticed that this morning at TPM. Marshall knows these “ugly spectacles” just appear out of nowhere. If only we could find the mysterious forces behind them.

  6. Les
    December 24, 2012, 12:26 pm

    Israel Lobby Takes Aim Again
    December 24, 2012

    By Charles W. “Chas” Freeman Jr.


    Psychoanalysts wonder if Obama ever had any principles?

  7. David Doppler
    December 24, 2012, 12:44 pm

    Is there an Israel Lobby Loyalty litmus test for advance to high office in our government? That is what is at issue with Hagel’s trial balloon. If Obama throws him under the bus, he basically endorses the element of fear and intimidation that the Lobby has used to force American politicians from places like Nebraska in America’s Heartland to do their bidding. See? they will be able to crow. This is what will happen to you if you don’t sign all our stupid letters, allow us to push through any resolution we want without debate, and if you don’t stand up and applaud on every cue when the Israeli Prime Minister delivers his State of the Union address to our Congress. Obama has a clear choice. He’s got some members of the MSM on his side, Mark Shields characterized the opposition as “those who think he’s not sufficiently loyal to Israel” on the NewsHour Friday. Those pushing the effort to scuttle the nomination are all revealing themselves as propaganda organs of the Likud Party. People want to be freed from the bullying we’re submitted to. It’s so painfully obvious. He can stand up for independence and realism, or he can endorse the Lobby’s fear and intimidation.

    We watched the Christmas Story for the umpteenth time last night. Ralphie the protagonist in his quest for his holy grail BB gun perpetually harassed and laughed at by the bully Scott Farkas and his toady, finally loses his temper when pelted with a snowball, and pounds the tar out of Farkas, while cursing a blue streak. It’s time for President Ralphie to pound the tar out of Farkas/Netanyahu and his toadies in American politics and media. It’s time to punch the bully in the nose.

    As to the cliff, he should have told the Republicans what he would offer in terms of rates to avoid going over the cliff, and made it clear that, failing to avoid the cliff and with restoration of pre-Bush rates, they’ll never get close to as good a deal, and that the higher rates beyond the cliff, and the higher rates that will result from new legislation post-cliff, are all on them. He should have made that assurance to Congressional Republicans and to every anti-tax writer of campaign checks. Do the deal now or suffer later.

    But he’s a wimp.

  8. Ramzi Jaber
    December 24, 2012, 3:21 pm

    More proof, if more was needed, of the power of the zionists and their stranglehold on American ME policy. This article is dedicated to whomever believes or says that there is no zionist/likud lobby. Unless you’re the lobby, how can you deny it!!!!!!!

    To my friends, the American people, I say again:
    It’s time for you to get unshackled from the slavery of this un-American lobby.
    Rise up. Speak the truth. Have courage. Be free.
    Standup for what’s right. For justice. For peace. For human rights.
    Stand up for your own human intelligence. For humanity. For democracy. For Freedom.
    Emancipate yourselves from this demeaning and dishonorable oppression.
    You are a a people of independence. You are a nation of leaders, a people of integrity, a people of courage.
    That’s the real stuff that leaders are made of.
    Show the world what real democracy is all about.
    Defend Chuck Hagel.
    Call and email the White House, your congressperson, your senator, the press.
    Take the right path. you know what it is. You always knew the right path.
    Take the right path not because it’s easy but because it’s the right one.
    It’s the path of principle, of honor, of justice, of character.
    You’ll be proud. The world will cheer you.
    Palestinians will cheer you.
    Peace-loving Israelis and Jews will cheer you.
    Defend Cuhck Hagel.

  9. American
    December 24, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Ha,ha…F you Menendez and Rubio. You’re the f’ing fringe.

    CAFE favors Senator Hagel as US Defense Secretary
    December 24, 2012 | | Print | 0 1HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban-American group CAFE (Cuban Americans for Engagement) on Sunday defended the nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel for US Secretary of Defense.

    A CAFE statement denounced the position of Senator Marco Rubio (R- Florida), who is threatening to derail the nomination of Hagel due to his opposition of the US embargo on Cuba.

    CAFE rejects the “manner in which senators Rubio and Robert Menendez have tried to turn support for the embargo of Cuba into a test of strength against several ambassadors and now against potential cabinet members.”
    Share this post:

  10. Robert Naiman
    December 24, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Thanks for this update! The first link to the MoveOn petition in the post appears to be broken, but the second one is correct. Here it is again:

    Back Obama in Tapping Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense

    I would caution everyone to be wary of right-wing spin on developments. A big part of the battle is psychological warfare. So, you have a bunch of right-wing commentators saying Hagel is going down because of X development, and you go inspect X development, and it’s not what the right-wingers said it was. We have a lot of troops on our side right now: former military brass, former ambassadors, combat veterans of all recent wars, J Street, Americans for Peace Now. If there were ever a time to beat the neocons, this is it. If Hagel withdraws his name from consideration, that’s when we’ve lost. Til then, let’s recruit new allies, push back against lies and slime, and fight to the last.

  11. ToivoS
    December 24, 2012, 6:19 pm

    We all wait hopefully that Obama will do the right thing. Not too likely given his record.

    It is interesting that Josh Marshall has come out and supported Hagel. He does not normally take a stand on Israel. It is an issue that he obviously fears. Too divisive and all of that among progressives. At least he does not have a record of supporting Israel’s wars but mostly remains silent. I think he might be starting to worry that his TPM followers are starting to get concerned with this I problem and he might be feeling that he can no longer sit on the fence.

    Dailykos is the other Democratic Party blog that has tried to avoid Israel (as many commentators here at MW know) but they have decided to drop off the fence and have ended up on the other side — they are now actively opposing Hagel and have joined that great progressive Rachel Maddow. I do hope this debate over Hagel goes on for there is a good chance that some of these so called “progressives” will be called out and hopefully completely discredited.

  12. HPH
    December 24, 2012, 6:44 pm

    David Bromwich states his opinion about this matter in “Chuck Hagel and the Trial-Balloon Method” at the Huffington Post:

    I liked his article. On the surface, his article regards the nomination as doomed, but it also strongly supports Chuck Hagel. In other words, we failed, but let’s keep trying.

    I think it would be worthwhile to read the entire article instead of any summary that I might attempt.

  13. CloakAndDagger
    December 24, 2012, 8:21 pm

    The Mayan Calendar ended 4 days ago. The world did not end – but an epoch may have ended.

    As the Iron Age gives way to the Golden Age and the Age of Aquarius dawns, we may be on the verge of shedding our past and stepping into the New Age with heightened awareness.

    With awareness comes responsibility. We can no longer avert our eyes from the injustices that we have foisted on the rest of the world, mostly through our support of Israel.

    Chuck Hagel may well be the the first javelin thrown at the heart of the old epoch. Dare we hope that he would actually be confirmed as SOD? It would dislodge the holiest of holies and bring the entire zionist infrastructure crashing to the ground in a crescendo of shattered glass – after all, that is all they are: glass crystals, that pretend to be diamond. What a Christmas gift that would be! An America restored for Americans.

    The mere thought of that happening, deliriously intoxicates me with visions of what that may be like. Imagine a world at peace with prosperity for all. Imagine a world not controlled by militarism. Imagine a world where there is true justice. Imagine a world that would do John Lennon proud.

    Dear Santa, I have been a good boy all year (at least you can’t prove I haven’t). Please, oh please, can I have Chuck Hagel for Christmas? Pretty please? I didn’t cry when you didn’t bring me Ron Paul, so by all accounts you owe me one.

  14. piotr
    December 24, 2012, 8:59 pm

    Obama is Wobbler-in-Chief.

    Since I do not recall any redeeming facts about Rice, letting her sink is OK. She was an apparatchik with her own (reputed) impact on marginal issues like Rwanda (and not a good impact at that). I think it is different when you recruit people because of their political history like Kerry and Hagel. Dropping them is offensive to their constituencies.

    Hagel who is conservative on many issues apparently shares some “paleo-conservative” views which are someone progressive on the roulette wheel of politics. If someone can seriously pare down the super-bloated defense budget, he would be most welcome, and it is actually helpful if fewer folks suspect him of being a Commie and an Islamist.

    In other words, inviting Hagel can please paleo-conservatists and D.C. moderates with “bipartisanship” fetish, and dropping him can offend these people. I hope that Obama will not be an idiot on this issue. He is highly intelligent, but sometimes I think that wobbling is his addiction.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    December 24, 2012, 10:30 pm

    RE: “A lot going on on the Chuck Hagel front. The possible Defense Secretary nominee got hammered on the talk shows yesterday not only by Israel lobbyist Chuck Schumer but by rightwingers Lindsey Graham and Joe ‘serious doubts’ Lieberman . . .” ~ Weiss

    PETITION: Urging the Obama administration to nominate Hagel and fight for his confirmation.
    TO SIGN –

    FACEBOOK PAGE: Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense
    TO “LIKE”

  16. doug
    December 25, 2012, 1:05 am

    NPR article on Hagel:

    “Hagel Would Be First Former Enlisted Soldier To Run Pentagon”

    • Citizen
      December 25, 2012, 6:42 am

      Thanks, doug
      Interesting. One of those old guys that always is on the Week in Review panel of PBS every Friday even said that the big issue re Hagel was some people don’t think Hagel supports Israel enough. It’s rare we get anything even slightly informational on Israel on PBS.

  17. David Green
    December 25, 2012, 1:27 pm

    From Max Ajl:

    From a dependable obesevor:

    That the lobby does not want Hagel is clear, and his nomination would be a defeat for the lobby’s right wing.

    Still, it is barely a scandal, except in the sense that it is scandalous how narrow the parameters of debate are in this country such that leftists think that an aggressive nationalist like Hagel merits their defense.

    There are a few reasons for that.

    First, Hagel’s policy prescriptions for dealing with Iran are, in fact, American policy. US policymakers have been huffing and puffing about a US attack on Iran for over a decade – without producing that attack. They are not the only ones. While the Israeli political class itinerantly threatens Iran, its defense intelligentsia warns against it. So does the Pentagon and the US State Department. At the military level, there is no direct war on Iran, and the absence of a military attack against Iran is not a policy secured by the dominance of responsible and beleaguered technocrats fending off the neocons’ pressure.

    It is simply the consensual policy amongst most of the Washington elite.

  18. Qualtrough
    December 25, 2012, 9:26 pm

    With all due respect to those still believing that Obama will nominate and fully support Hagel, let me humbly suggest that doing so brings to mind the Internet definition of insanity, namely “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”There is nothing, nada, zip in Obama’s history or behavior that suggests he would make what amounts to a radical move in American politics, or in any way offend AIPAC.

    P.S. I would so love to be wrong about this.

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