Hagel hearing word count: Israel 178, Iran 171, military suicides 2

on 18 Comments
Hagel word cloud
Hagel word cloud

In “Why Hagel Laid Down,” Peter Beinart concedes that Obama/Chuck Hagel’s strategy of pulling in his horns and rolling over on any criticism of Israel in the confirmation hearing on Thursday has set back Beinart’s dream of attaining a two-state solution in the next four years with pressure from the U.S.

But if the aim of the hearings was also to begin building a case for Obama’s second term foreign policy—a foreign policy that brings military spending into balance with economic resources and aggressively pursues diplomacy with Iran, and maybe Israel and the Palestinians too—Hagel failed. And if he continues to fail as a foreign policy spokesman once confirmed, that second term agenda will be harder to achieve.

Yousef Munayyer offers a snapshot of the Hagel confirmation hearing Thursday, using computer technology to generate a “word cloud,” above, that assigns the visual weight to a word that it had in terms of its repetition in the transcript:

It’s clear that “Israel” stole the show. “Iran,” which was nearly as prevalent as “Israel,” was discussed as an issue intertwined with Israel and contextualized through the prism of Israeli interests.

Now, let’s play a game. See if you can find the following words in the cloud.

(Answers below – don’t cheat!)

Afghanistan: Those living in the U.S. who follow mainstream media coverage may be unaware but this is a country in central Asia where the United States has been militarily involved longer than any other military campaign in its history; it also currently has about 70,000 troops troops there. There have been over 3,000 coalition deaths in Afghanistan, over 2,000 of which were American troops. Countless civilians have been killed or wounded during the fighting.

China: Close to a billion and a half people live in this communist nation that also has several hundred nuclear weapons, borders several significant regional players (some of which it has had increasing tense relations with) and is the U.S.’s largest overseas trading partner.

Drones: Perhaps the most controversial of President Obama’s national security policies has been the dramatic escalation in the use of unmanned drones to kill adversaries (including American citizens) and very often civilians.

Pakistan: This country borders Afghanistan, is an unstable nuclear power, and has been the target of hundreds of American drone strikes leaving thousands dead, hundreds of which were civilians, including many children.

Guantanamo: The location of a controversial American prison camp which the President first promised to close before later back-tracking.

International Law: That set of rules and norms agreed upon by states that help govern inter-state relations and, perhaps most importantly, determine what is legal and illegal during war.

Jim Lobe echoes the analysis with his own numbers in, “It’s all about Israel”:

..the epidemic of suicides among U.S. troops – a necessary concern for any incoming Pentagon chief – was addressed only twice.

In fact, the degree to which Israel and the threat posed to it by Iran dominated the hearing was somewhat understated by Buzzfeed. The full transcript revealed that Israel was brought up no less than 178 times, followed closely by Iran with 171 mentions.

Those numbers compared with a grand total of five mentions of China, the central focus of the Obama administration’s much ballyhooed “pivot” from the Middle East to the Asia/Pacific; one mention (by Hagel himself) of Japan, Washington’s closest Asian ally whose territorial dispute with China has recently escalated to dangerous levels; and one mention of South Korea, Washington’s other major treaty ally in Northeast Asia.

Similarly, NATO, Washington’s historically most important military alliance – and one with which it fought a successful air war in Libya last year and is currently fighting its 12th year in Afghanistan – warranted a total of five mentions.

“It is extraordinary that, in an eight-hour hearing, as little attention was devoted as it was to issues such as China and NATO, which ought to be near the top of the concerns for any secretary of defence of the United States,” said Paul Pillar, a former top CIA analyst who served as the National Intelligence Officer for the Near and South Asia from 2000 to 2005.

“The emphasis on Israel and Iran – which, in American politics, has become for the most part an Israel issue – demonstrates that the senators were far less concerned with the strategic questions that the secretary of defence should be focused on and much more interested in trying to defeat a nominee who has strayed from political orthodoxy, especially on issues related to Israel,” he told IPS.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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18 Responses

  1. seanmcbride
    February 2, 2013, 1:09 pm

    The current US Congress may be the most corrupt legislative body in the history of the world. A relatively tiny ethno-religious nationalist cult, dedicated to the messianic program of a foreign government, has managed to wrap the US Senate and House of Representatives around its little finger.

    The video of the Hagel hearing is going to become a classic and foundational document for all serious future scholars of American history. Never before has the power of the Israel lobby, and its agenda and general tone, demeanor and methods, been presented with such authoritative clarity for the entire world to see.

    By the way, North Korea possesses nuclear weapons and has repeatedly threatened to use them against Americans. This issue was barely mentioned in the hearing.

  2. seafoid
    February 2, 2013, 1:44 pm

    The Republicans, like the Zionists, live in a parallel universe where they make up their own reality. BDS for the Bots is like Climate Change for the GOP. Swept under the carpet but ultimately lethal.

  3. American
    February 2, 2013, 1:51 pm

    ”Peter Beinart concedes that Obama/Chuck Hagel’s strategy of pulling in his horns and rolling over on any criticism of Israel in the confirmation hearing on Thursday has set back Beinart’s dream of attaining a two-state solution in the next four years with pressure from the U.S.”

    All I can say to Beinart is the same thing I say to all the liberal zionist—-you asked for it, you got it.
    The majority of lib zios have been just as much behind the demand for unconditional US support of and US subservience to Israel all these years as the uber Zios have—and now they’re scared by the results and want the US to keep up that support and protection– but save it and change it at the same time.

    So exactly how do they think the US is gonna do that now ?
    What it would take is not more phony peace talks but ending US aid and putting sanctions on Israel and not vetoing every UN effort on Israel, …..Israel ‘will not’ respond to anything but some kind of punishment that ‘forces’ it to reform…that should be plain as day by now even to idiots.
    And the I-Firstdom they have all created in the US government isn’t going to do that.
    Here’s an idea—why don’t they all move to Israel on their automatic citizenship, get ‘politically active’ there and try to get the Israeli government and Israelis to save Israel themselves.

    • seafoid
      February 3, 2013, 7:00 am

      The longer they delay reform, the more painful it will be.

      Very hard to see the Jewish State standing at the end.

  4. seanmcbride
    February 2, 2013, 2:24 pm

    Attacks by pro-Israel activists on Americans and Europeans, like those by Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and David Vitter on Chuck Hagel, will set in motion a political avalanche that will utterly bury and consume them. They don’t see it coming. They are striding around on the thinnest of limbs.

    • W.Jones
      February 2, 2013, 7:18 pm

      C’mon Sean. You, Phil, and Seafoid are always the optimists. Now I will go back to my learned helplessness.

    • munro
      February 3, 2013, 3:07 pm

      (Sorry if too OT)

      French Neocons:

      Walking around the Isle St Louis in Paris a few weeks ago I came across a mass of tarps and scaffolds shrouding the renovation of 17thc Hôtel Lambert by its new owner Prince Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani, son of the Emir of Qatar.

      I found out later the renovation is controversial despite the crumbling condition in which it had been left by the previous the owners, the Rothschild family.

      In France, restoration of protected buildings must be overseen by a state-certified architect. For the Lambert, that job belongs to Alain-Charles Perrot, the chief architect for historic monuments, so who would be against the project?
      A little browsing brought up a petition by French art historian Didier Rykner protesting the Lambert renovation.

      Additional searching revealed that Didier Rykner champions other causes, like stopping the Louvre Abu Dhabi which he wrote about in the “The American – The online magazine of the American Enterprise Institute”.

      David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine attacked the Louvre Abu Dhabi by citing Didier Ryker’s petition but also worked in Muslims fears about “pornographic” European art.
      “New Louvre Plans Anger Muslims – Oh, and a few Frenchmen too. From AP, with thanks to Fjordman:”
      (btw search “fjordman breivik”)

      The Hôtel Lambert renovation and the Louvre Abu Dhabi survived the protests but not without drawing attention to the actors behind the curtain.

  5. munro
    February 2, 2013, 2:32 pm
    • ritzl
      February 2, 2013, 11:29 pm

      Hate to say it, but I LOL’d when I first read this. LOL’d not because it’s funny, but because it is such an obvious, yet profound, yet completely overlooked contrast with what’s important in real life and death struggles (wrt defense policy), and what was deemed important in this hearing.

      I hope my LOL doesn’t make me a bad person.

      Thanks, munro, for the reminder of the real-life stakes in all this.

    • seafoid
      February 3, 2013, 7:03 am

      Vet suicides have now overtaken deaths in active service.

      Imagine how many vet suicides a war on Iran would trigger.
      Imagine how many of those would be goy.

  6. Carowhat
    February 2, 2013, 4:56 pm

    What kills me about Hagel is that he once said he would be a senator the United States , not the senator for Israel–an honorable and candidly refreshing observation for those who grew up in fly-over country and just assumed any American senator obviously put America’s needs before those of any other country. But then Hagel goes into his confirmation hearing and in response to demands that he prove how much he loves Israel he repudiates his whole life and thereby destroys whatever respect ordinary Americans had previously accorded him.

    The Israel lobby took a good (but unfortunately not a very brave) and humiliated him into pledging to love Israel more than any other country, including even America. If Hagel really believes what he said in the hearing room the other day it’s time for him to fly to Tel Aviv and join the Knesset because he’s clearly not suitable to represent his own country anymore.

    • jimmy
      February 2, 2013, 11:51 pm

      I will give Hagel the benefit of the doubt…..

      he kept quiet to get in….

      however having to keep quiet to get in is not honorable

      no american politician can be honorable without the zionist on their back…

      and no US lamestreamedia to back them up..

      the US has a cancer…it is called ..zionism..

      unlike others with cancer

      most US politicians love their cancer….

  7. DICKERSON3870
    February 2, 2013, 5:48 pm

    RE: “The emphasis on Israel and Iran – which, in American politics, has become for the most part an Israel issue – demonstrates that the senators were far less concerned with the strategic questions that the secretary of defence should be focused on and much more interested in trying to defeat a nominee who has strayed from political orthodoxy, especially on issues related to Israel.” ~ Jim Lobe


    . . . He [Mark Twain] quotes his childhood friend as saying, “You tell me where a man gets his corn pone (bread), and I’ll tell you what his opinions are.” Meaning that one’s opinions can be told based on where that person got their bread. . .

    SOURCE – http://english414fall2011.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/corn-pone-opinions/

  8. eGuard
    February 2, 2013, 6:38 pm

    Peter Beinart is only usefull in US domestically. He has not helped a single Palestinian in his life. He is not an Israel Firster. Worse: he is a liberal Zionist. That is: a Zionist. Please stop applauding him, MW.

  9. jimmy
    February 2, 2013, 11:17 pm

    I am beginning to think that the zios in the US are desperate for americans to hate them…

    so they then can impose even more draconian rules…

    the worthless US congress is not enough for their arrogance …

    they are trying to double down on destroying the USA

  10. talknic
    February 4, 2013, 7:51 am

    American 25
    Americans 9
    American’s 0
    United States 89

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