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Hagel offers himself as secretary of Israel’s defense

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The first few hours of Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing have been sickening. I thought he was named to be United States Secretary of Defense, not Israel’s defense. The most urgent questions were about Israel, and many came from liberal Democrats insisting that Hagel is pledged to going to war against Iran if it acquires a nuclear weapon.

Hagel was suitably craven. “I’ve said that I’m a strong supporter of Israel… I’ve said that we have a special relationship with Israel… Ive never voted against Israel in my career… I’ve been to Israel many times,” he told Jack Reed of Rhode Island.

While Kirsten Gillibrand of New York made no bones about “the most urgent issues– Israel and Israel’s security issues… We are fundamentally tied to [Israel].” Then Gillibrand demanded that if there has to be a continuing resolution in the event of a budget crunch, Hagel’s Pentagon will take pains to keep money going to Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense.

Does she believe this or is this just now the religion of Washington?

Hagel repeatedly asserted that he regards Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Revolutionary Guard of Iran as terrorist organizations. He abandoned every bold stand he has taken on Israel. Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi said Hagel was reversing himself for political expediency, and that a week after Hagel had told the Omaha World-Herald that he opposed unilateral sanctions (American-only) against Iran, he reversed that position in a letter to progressive Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.

But the most revealing part of the spectacle was watching Hagel stand up to John McCain when McCain said he had been wrong to oppose the Iraq surge in 2007 and the Afghanistan surge in 2009– and then watching Hagel fold pathetically when Lindsey Graham asked him to condemn Israeli settlements.

So: it was alright for Hagel to criticize the U.S. But not alright to criticize Israel.

Here’s Hagel’s show of spine with McCain [transcript from contemporaneous notes]:

“Do you stand by those comments?” McCain asked.

“I stand by them because I made them.”…

“I want to know if you were right or wrong.”

“I’m not giving you a yes or no answer. I think it’s far more complicated than that. I’ll defer that judgment to history.”

Later Graham the former military prosecutor badgered Hagel as though he had been un-American when he told Aaron David Miller that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people on Capitol Hill and gets Congress to do “dumb” stuff; and Hagel ate his words.

The critical moment in this exchange comes when Hagel refuses to say what dumb stuff the Congress did. In the Miller interview, he was surely referring to the license that the Congress gave to Israel to keep building settlements, savaging the two-state solution.

Graham: Name one person in your opinion who’s intimidated by the Jewish lobby in the US Senate.

Hagel: I don’t know…

Graham: I cant think of a more provocative thing to say about the relationship of the U.S. and Israel… [Next, Graham challenged Hagel, tell me one dumb thing Congress did because of the pressure.]

Hagel: I have already stated that I regret [the statement].

Graham: You can’t name one senator intimidated [or] give me one example of dumb things pressured to do… One thing!…

Hagel: Well I can’t give you an example.

Graham: Do you agree with me that you shouldn’t have said that?

Hagel: Yes I agree with you.

Years back, Hagel repeatedly criticized Israel for building settlements and wrecking the two state solution. But not now. So, again, it is OK for Hagel to criticize the US troop increases in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he can’t say a word against a blatantly illegal practice, building settlements in occupied territory.

Graham drew more blood when he savaged Hagel for being one of four senators in 2001 to fail to sign a letter expressing solidarity with Israel during the Second Intifada and denouncing Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.

“It was  a very big deal. At a very important time. The lack of signature from you sends chills up my spine,“ Graham said. `

Graham asked Hagel to reconsider the letter: to say whether he would tell the world at large and Israel that he had made a mistake in not signing. And Hagel said he would have a look at the letter.

Then Richard Blumenthal, the progressive Connecticut Senator, said he also wanted Hagel to reconsider that letter.

This hearing is a wonderful event because it demonstrates the naked influence of the Israel lobby in our political life. But, you say, Lindsey Graham is a South Carolina senator; he is operating out of his nationalist understanding of imperial interest; the Israel lobby cannot also reach him? But I think it has. I think Zionism has so influenced the American political culture, via political money and thinktanks and columnists and editors, that it has folded Israel’s war against Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinians and Iran into our outlook on the Middle East. The conflation of American and Israeli interests has become an article of faith in the establishment. Graham is the latest example of a Scoop Jackson, the national security hawk/intellectual who has listened to neocons and merged the two nations’ futures. 

Now it’s the afternoon, and Hagel is walking away from his comment that Israel keeps Palestinians “caged up like animals.” Under questioning from Utah Senator Mike Lee, Hagel regrets that statement too. Pathetic.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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169 Responses

  1. seanmcbride on January 31, 2013, 4:29 pm

    This is the most bizarre and disgraceful performance by the US Congress that I can recall. The upside: the power of the Israel lobby has been fully exposed for all Americans and the entire world to see.

    Hagel’s fanatical inquisitors are much more preoccupied with the interests of Israelis than the interests of Americans. And it is a safe bet their scripts were written by AIPAC and pro-Israel operatives on their staffs. The worst offenders: Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz.

    Someone needs to do a hard count of how many times “Israel” was mentioned in this hearing compared to other issues.

    One inspiring moment: John Warner’s moving remarks in defense of Hagel.

    • American on January 31, 2013, 6:42 pm

      I have to say it gave me an actual sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
      It was like Hagel was being charged by the US Senate with treason to Israel in some McCarthy like hearing.
      In a way it was a relief for me because I don’t have to go back and forth on the Lobby and Israeli machine takeover of the US really as bad as I think or am I exaggerating it?…..that question at least is settled for me. It’s bad as it can be and something bad is going to happen.

      I remember Andrew Bacevich wrote an article last year about how never before in the history of the world had a foreign country taken over another country’s government and bended it away from it’s own interest and to it’s own use like Israel has with the US. There’s nothing like it in history that we can go by or compare it to…….it’s never happened before. I guess we just wait and see.

      • Kathleen on January 31, 2013, 10:50 pm

        A McNetanyahu hearing. Pledge of Allegiance to Israel or else.

        Bacevich and Hagel remind me of one another. Have heard both of them speak in Boulder Colorado. Just what was in the water…Hagel did not seem like himself. Seemed like somewhat shot up some ziocaine into his system

      • American on February 1, 2013, 11:24 am

        @ kathleen

        I think it’s obvious Hagel has some powerful ‘desire’ to be Sec of Defense…..or he would have been as bluntly honest as he was in the past…flip them off just he did in his senate career.

        He wants it bad enough for ‘whatever reason’ to tell the Senate ‘waterborders’ what they want to hear. Did their ‘torturing’ a confession out of him change his beliefs or opinons….will it change anything he planned to do at defense? I doubt it. The first rule of survival in a war is just that – survival… to fight another day.

      • john h on February 1, 2013, 3:40 am

        “never before in the history of the world had a foreign country taken over another country’s government and bended it away from it’s own interest and to it’s own use like Israel has with the US. There’s nothing like it in history that we can go by or compare it to…….it’s never happened before.”

        “we are all hostages”.

        “what a low point in american history. let’s pray he gets some cajons [cojones] back when serving as sec def , and gets some revenge on too.”

        Doesn’t that about say it all?

        “Hopefully, we’ll take back our country sometime during my lifetime.”

      • jack dresser on February 1, 2013, 5:01 pm

        There are mountains of data to support Hagel’s previous statements about The Lobby – including testimony by former legislators such as Paul Findley, James Abourezk and Cynthia McKinney who I’m sure would have been happy to come forward on his behalf – had Hagel the cajones to defend himself honorably.

        Hagel might have even responded to Graham saying, “You ask who has been influenced by the Israel lobby? Senator, I believe your colleague John McCain is one of them. He is the second leading all-time Senatorial recipient of AIPAC-directed funding, and I believe he is challenging me so aggressively today as a duty to his paymasters. And while we’re on this subject, which you have raised, perhaps Senator McCain would be patriotic enough to explain before the American people, here, today, why his father covered up Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 that killed 34 American sailors and wounded 172. He was 30 years old at the time, so I hope he won’t try to tell us they didn’t discuss this. And I won’t accept the poppycock that it was a mistake. I refer you both to the 2003 independent commission of inquiry under former chair of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Thomas Moorer, that concluded without equivocation that Israel’s attack was deliberate, premeditated and intended to sink an American Naval vessel and murder its entire crew. Furthermore, under his father’s watch, this was the only such attack in American history without retaliation, with the crew members enjoined from ever telling the truth under threat of court martial. This was an inexcusable betrayal of the American people and our men in uniform, and Liberty survivors to this day remain furious about it. I’d like the American people to know the truth and make up their own minds about our unconditional, knee-jerk support for Israel.”

        Ah, I can only dream of so-called “leaders” who take seriously their oaths of office and of service.

    • on January 31, 2013, 10:01 pm

      you didnt see them give nuttyahoo 29 standing O’s

    • Chu on February 1, 2013, 10:24 am

      And after McCain had his temper tantrum during the questioning, Sen. Bill Nelson did remind the panel that the facts were all botched about Iraq. He buttressed Hagel when the McCain lambasted him about not supporting the surge.

      No Wonder McCain couldn’t get elected to the presidency. People know he’s not capable of solid leadership. I mean the guys best pals in the Senate are Graham and Lieberman? what strange bedfellows.

  2. annie on January 31, 2013, 4:42 pm

    i’m so disgusted i can’t bear to watch him grovel before the world on israel’s behalf. what a low point in american history. let’s pray he gets some cajons back when serving as sec def , and gets some revenge on too. forgiveness is definitely not my forte.

    • RoHa on January 31, 2013, 9:26 pm

      “let’s pray he gets some cajons ”

      Cajons? What does he need wooden drums for?

      (Or is that a typo for “cojones”?)

    • Kathleen on January 31, 2013, 9:55 pm

      McCain filled with poison today. Graham a squirmy worm, sniveling rat. Hagel put his tail between his legs and rolled over. So so sad. Why he and who ever coached him decided not to demonstrate the strength of his convictions is so odd. That is why Obama chose him and why millions of us support the choice.

      Andrew Sullivan nailed the argument awhile back “why a Secretary of Defense or any other official’s loyalty to Israel should even be part of the equation” Phil nails that this was more about will Hagel be a good Secretary of Defense for Israel

      Today we watched just how the I lobby works. And McCain and Graham did the squeezing Hagel had to get on his knees and crawl and squirm. No way to speak the truth about this critical issue. Just get on your knees and beg.

      Andrew Sullivan on the Hagel hearing

      Great articles about the Hagel nomination

      • Citizen on February 1, 2013, 4:59 am

        @ Kathleen
        Thanks for the two links. I will go there shortly.
        I was struck hard by Hagel’s utter failure to demonstrate the strength of his convictions (as he has done so well in the past, his record shows) also, very much especially when it came to anything (more) directly involving Israel, Palestinians, and the “pro-Israel” lobby. Yes indeed, how odd. He managed to have two terms as a US Senator, and to retain many admirers among his peers, for a long time despite his record in congress on foreign policy issues–just to fold like a befuddled, weak, exhausted accordion in full public view? This man, with such a record of great courage from his Vietnam days right up until this hearing? It does not make sense, seems out of his long-demonstrated brave character–I guess it started when he went around to Schumer and the like, placating them by repeating boilerplate hasbara.

        But gee, he couldn’t even manage to turn those charged questions around, to say something like, “Gee whiz, you mean you are not even aware that its a commonplace today in America that we need to stop rushing into fraudulently-iduced wars such as Iraq? And holy cow, you mean you’re not even aware of the power of the Israel Lobby and its dubious impact on our foreign policy after its reality was laid out in Walt & Mearsheimer’s famous book of that name, and political pundits use the term regularly?”

      • Kathleen on February 2, 2013, 12:40 pm

        too risky to tell the truth..playing the votes..the numbers game. Hagel did not look like a happy eunuch. But looking at the wider picture

      • Chu on February 1, 2013, 10:19 am

        But if Hagel is elected he will be at a key perch to challenge Israel. We’ll have to wait and see. He should have challenged those craven senators, especially McCain and Graham.
        And funny how the Connecticut liar who bragged about being in Vietnam was one of the guys thanking Hagel for his service. He should have said, ‘I admire a real war hero, since I tell veterans I am one so I can get elected.’ What irony…

      • American on February 1, 2013, 12:43 pm

        “Why he and who ever coached him decided not to demonstrate the strength of his convictions is so odd”..kathleen

        We have to face facts on this Hagel example, the facts we all know….that the Lobby does control the house and senate. We’ve said it a thousand times and given examples of it a thousand times.

        So it probably went like this…… Advice…don’t give them any answers they can use to justify why they didn’t vote for you. Advice…remember the Dems still get 60% of their campaign money from Jewish sources. Advice…remember the GOP went for Israel and Adelson money in the election, will again since it rolled in the money…….Advice….remember the Zio influenced media will savage, propagandize and provide talking points against any of O’s goals at Defense and his purpose in appointing you to Sec of Defense, …stay under the radar as much as possible.

    • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 2:50 pm

      Maybe he feels he is here to implement the policies of the Executive branch. In this case it is Obama, and Obama has supported him. So maybe he feels he has to be Obama’s “hand”, rather than be significantly different. Obama hasn’t shown spine with Net., has he? One of the strongest things is that Obama didn’t oppose the United Nations as strongly as he could have. And possibly there could have been some other things we don’t know about. Likewise, Hagel could put his small leg between his tails, but nonetheless avoid doing something bad out of subservience to 29-ovated Papa Bear.

  3. seanmcbride on January 31, 2013, 4:47 pm

    We now know that AIPAC was lying when it said that it would not oppose the Hagel nomination. One word from AIPAC to Hagel’s prosecutorial inquisitors to back off from dragging Israel into the hearing (and they did so in the ugliest and nastiest way possible) would have done the trick. But it seems clear that AIPAC gave every encouragement to these zealots to draw as much blood as they could.

    This episode won’t be forgotten.

    • flyod on January 31, 2013, 5:27 pm

      “This episode won’t be forgotten.”
      anyone looking to pursue a political career will take note and behave accordingly. they get to you one way or the other, incredible power. the fix was in once hagel got the schumar endorsement. (what did they have on chuck?) still had to savage him in public, beg for forgiveness. no one in their right mind is going to rock that boat. we are all hostages

      • Betsy on February 1, 2013, 11:13 am

        @flyod — we are not hostages. We are watching a political Establishment destroying it’s own legitimacy …deeply corrupted by multiple Lobbies (of with the pro-Israel Lobby is just one of many). We are not hostages, we are citizens. We are many. They are few. They cannot continue to rule without some basic moral legitimacy. The system is not longer providing enough jobs, public goods for ordinary folks (I live in a really poor part of the country). They are destroying themselves as the corruption becomes ever more obvious. We need to fight back & ignore their “power” — They are becoming paper tigers.

      • Betsy on February 1, 2013, 1:47 pm

        and they’re dumb & getting dumber. All these diverse big money lobbies seem to be fueling a kind of madness in the elites & Political Establishment — self-enclosed, cut off from reality, arrogant — they seem to be losing critical thinking abilities. A little bit of FDR type noblesse oblige, they would have been able to chill us all out & save the system. But, nooooo. Self-destructive, boring, pathetic & clueless….

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 2:54 pm

        ” (what did they have on chuck?)”
        hmmm… good point. It is remarkable how even the rep. from AZ who was in the pro-Palestinian Ladies in Black group did a 180. And how about the president from the California University who signed the peitition.
        Then there was Goldstone, where Finkelstein thinks something happened behind the scenes.

        Obviously Phil, Finkelstein, Ellis, Helen Thomas, and M.J.Rosenberg have an idea about what can happen.

    • Kathleen on February 2, 2013, 12:42 pm

      Would really be something to have access to all of the background communication on the Hagel nomination between say Schumer/Boxer and McCain/Graham

  4. ivri on January 31, 2013, 4:58 pm

    One key point people on this thread fail to grasp is that secretary of defense for the US id already automatically the one for Israel. This is not a product of Israeli manipulations – that would have never achieved even a fraction of that – but a total convergence of interests. That is why there is no difference in this regard between Democrats and Republicans – the entire political establishment of the US sees things the same way. So Hagel, or anybody else as secretary of defense, even Obama, or any other President, will act in the very same way. This is by now a political fait a complete, as the entire recent history proves.

    • Shingo on January 31, 2013, 8:56 pm

      This is not a product of Israeli manipulations – that would have never achieved even a fraction of that – but a total convergence of interests

      What a load of rubbish – right from the Likud play book.

      This obviously explains the fact that Israel runs the most aggressive spy operations of any country against Israeland why Pollard is in prison.

      • Kathleen on January 31, 2013, 10:51 pm

        Rubbish indeed

    • Bumblebye on January 31, 2013, 9:06 pm

      are you stating that the US SecDef is ALSO the SecDef of Israel? Does that make the Israeli govt’s SecDef his junior or his senior?

      • ivri on February 1, 2013, 9:48 am

        Absolutely his junior. Israel has come to be entirely dependent on the US – all military actions of it require a US pre-approval. These are the realities of things in today`s conditions (was not so in the past) which de-facto makes the US defense secretary Israel`s too

  5. Woody Tanaka on January 31, 2013, 5:05 pm

    Wow. This reads as nothing other than Cultural-Revolution-style self-criticism. The only question now is whether the zionist forces who have pull the strings in Washington will permit his political rehabilitation as a upstanding member of the Inner Party Washigton Elite, working selflessly for our glorious zionist future, or whether he’ll be sent to reeducation camp.

    • ToivoS on January 31, 2013, 7:23 pm

      Excellent comparison. There was also a similar kind of enforced group-think in the Soviet Union. I think one reason the Soviet Union collapsed so suddenly is that thousands of state bureaucrats who had been submitted to those humiliating rituals, sat back and just watched when they realized the high level party officials had lost their control over the police. It is so difficult to predict end games like this, but one day we might see a similar process happen in our Congress, one day they are in total fear of the lobby and the next that fear is gone.

      • AlGhorear on January 31, 2013, 9:56 pm

        ToivoS: “There was also a similar kind of enforced group-think in the Soviet Union. I think one reason the Soviet Union collapsed so suddenly is that thousands of state bureaucrats who had been submitted to those humiliating rituals, sat back and just watched when they realized the high level party officials had lost their control over the police. It is so difficult to predict end games like this, but one day we might see a similar process happen in our Congress, one day they are in total fear of the lobby and the next that fear is gone.”

        We can only hope there will come a tipping point. When I watched the old establishment guard gang up on Hagel this morning, it reminded me of the scenes from Egypt earlier in the morning where the old guys in the halls of power there were looking a little worried and unsure, while the youth raged and demanded change out on the streets. Hopefully, we’ll take back our country sometime during my lifetime.

        By the way, Toivo, I’m a Finnlander who grew up in Northern WI. There all the jokes we told were about ourselves. Do you know a guy named Oivo?

      • ToivoS on February 1, 2013, 8:39 pm

        Oivo is the name of one of my uncles. Is he a joke? I never thought so.

      • AlGhorear on February 3, 2013, 10:44 pm

        No harm intended, Toivo. Apparently you didn’t grow up in the kind of Finnish immigrant culture I did.

  6. yourstruly on January 31, 2013, 5:15 pm

    hagel’s untrustworthy?



    all the above?

  7. eljay on January 31, 2013, 5:27 pm

    I recall Dan Crowther being less than optimistic about Hagel. I really hope he chimes in on this thread. :-)

    • notatall on January 31, 2013, 8:46 pm

      When the Hagel nomination first came up I said I didn’t care at all who supervised the military affairs of the Empire, and people denounced me as an other-worldly old leftist and lectured me on how important this appointment was, that it represented a challenge to the Lobby, etc. (You could look it up, as Casey Stengel used to say.) What do they say now? Why do Phil and so many others on this list keep getting fooled, like Charlie Brown and the football?

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 8:44 pm


        It remains to be seen whether he would make a difference regarding going to a mindless war for the Is.State, as in the case with a possible Iranawayfrommymind invasion.

      • notatall on February 3, 2013, 5:42 am

        “It remains to be seen whether he would make a difference…”

        How will we know if Hagel makes a difference? That was the argument for electing Obama, and we know how that has turned out. The experiment cannot be repeated in a laboratory with someone else in place.

      • W.Jones on February 3, 2013, 3:56 pm

        “How will we know if Hagel makes a difference? …The experiment cannot be repeated in a laboratory with someone else in place.”
        Good point.

        “That was the argument for electing Obama, and we know how that has turned out.” Do we? The main difference would be whether McCain was going to invade Iran like he was suggesting. It’s a big difference. But then again, it could have revitalized the antiwar and democratic movements.

  8. Carowhat on January 31, 2013, 5:41 pm

    I don’t understand how Israel Firsters couldn’t know that ordinary Americans watch performances like this and when they do it turns their stomach to see our public officials forced to say they love Israel more than life itself. This is worse than the loyalty oaths of the fifties. At least then people were required to love America. Today they have to promise to love a foreign country first.

    • American on January 31, 2013, 7:29 pm

      Carowhat says:

      I don’t understand how Israel Firsters couldn’t know that ordinary Americans watch performances like this”>>>>>>

      THAT has been the question about the Zionist and their activities that has perplexed me the most from the beginning.
      What we have is a group presented to the world as ‘Jewish’ leadership, speaking for Jews. They have set about doing in the US the very things Jews were accused of in the past, literally acting out the Jewish disloyalty and the nation within a nation, the Jews ‘qua nation’ problem.
      AND while they are doing this they accuse everyone of anti semitism for asking them what the hell they think they’re doing…like they think we’re all suppose to be blind.
      It’s so bizarre there is no way to explain it except that they are so high on holocaust success hubris they are totally convinced that no one will ever go thru the Jews they’ve established as a front line shield to get to them.
      That is their method of operation and strategy to get away with what they are doing.

      • eljay on February 1, 2013, 1:18 pm

        >> What we have is a group presented to the world as ‘Jewish’ leadership, speaking for Jews. They have set about doing in the US the very things Jews were accused of in the past, literally acting out the Jewish disloyalty and the nation within a nation, the Jews ‘qua nation’ problem.
        >> AND while they are doing this they accuse everyone of anti semitism for asking them what the hell they think they’re doing…like they think we’re all suppose to be blind.

        The truly sad thing is the blowback non-Zionist Jews will face.

        The disgusting thing will be watching Zio-supremacists do everything they can – point fingers, blame others, hypocritically scream for justice and morality and human rights, “Remember the Holocaust!”™, etc. – to save their own hateful and immoral asses.

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 8:46 pm

        It could be like a gamble where they keep winning so they bet more. Some Romney supporters have experience in that, you know.

  9. ramzijaber on January 31, 2013, 5:42 pm

    Been watching the Hagel confirmation on the Internet. Two key takeaways that are very evident:

    1) Israel. Israel. Israel. Even discussions about Iran are really about Israel.

    As I observed on prior occasions, the strategy of the Zionist Lobby, AIPAC, and the neocons is working: BOX him as anti-semite, anti-israel and he will OVERCOMPENSATE. As someone said years ago, The Hill is zionist-occupied territory.

    2) Many of the senators on the committee are really very lightweight. Some are very obnoxious and impolite. Totally amazed. (Ex. Ted Cruz, extremely more Zionist than the extreme Netanyahu!!!!)

    • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 8:48 pm

      Lulz. Guess which president gets the most unanimous ovations in the Senate?

  10. Scott on January 31, 2013, 5:55 pm

    Well, let’s see if the cravenness works. Hagel’s job isn’t to run US Mideast diplomacy anyway. If he’s confirmed, it will mark the first time Obama has selected an Iraq war foe for a top foreign policy position, and Hagel will be able to hire a lot of good realists (not leftists, I suspect) and give them experience and credentials which will propel their careers. That’s worth a lot. (Paris is worth a mass.) If someone wants speak about the settlements, that’s for Kerry or Obama to do.
    Of course, it would be nice if he could get confirmed without this.

    • ritzl on January 31, 2013, 7:07 pm

      Agree. For Hagel to get the job, he has to act this way. I think he’s caught between the need to toe the line/suck up (as instructed by his future boss) to get in, and his desire and tendency to offer up blunt observations. To the extent that one believes his historical view of the world is his current view of the world, and whether those historical views will instruct and guide his upstream and downstream influencing, he had to navigate this genuflection process in order to simply get the opportunity to have that happen.

      From his physical bearing during today’s hearing, he isn’t at all comfortable with the political lie (assumption alert). That’s probably a good thing.

      The questioning, otoh, was absolutely sickening. Rare mentions of anything in South and East Asia. No Pakistan (loose nukes!?!!), China, Afghanistan, etc. All because he had to spend half his time swearing fealty to an arrogant, obstructionist, and war-mongering little country on the Med. Absolutely disgusting.

      Zionism corrupts everything it touches, and if I was to pick a likely point (in terms of future history) where US prestige, value (real or potential), and residual respect in the world actually started to nosedive (not just level off, but noticeably decline), it would be this hearing. If I was a head of government watching this display of subservience (by the questioners, mostly), I’d start decreasing my DC diplomatic staff, and send them to Israel. That’s apparently where the top level decisions are made in US defense policy.

      End of rant…

      • ritzl on January 31, 2013, 8:34 pm

        Other issues not discussed much, if at all, or in any overall defense policy context:

        • Troop levels/retention/readiness/pay & benes, particularly wrt a possible war with Iran (or would that be the “all options are on the table” notion).

        • Base closings (huge, political hot potato, subordinated to questions of support for Israel; i.e. support for Israel is more important to these Senators, than their own constituents’ well being/sacrifice).

        • Military R&D (another hot-button, political boondoogle issue).

        • Vision for the projection of US military power in general (with specifics, e.g. the naval cat-and-mouse game going on in the Persian Gulf).

        • Force structure in the coming era of constrained federal and defense budgets (i.e. spending priorities, gosh it’s only SASC, the people supposedly in charge of defense policy, direction, and legislation in the Senate.).

        • Drones. Discuss…

        • PTSD and veterans’ health (and health costs from 10 years and counting of war).

        • Military families (base housing construction?)

        • Women in combat/DADT.

        • Relationship with NATO.

        • Nuclear forces (decommissioning and environmental effect?).

        • Intelligence organizational consolidation/sharing.

        The “Israel 24/365” effort is getting noticeably top-heavy.

      • CarlK on January 31, 2013, 9:09 pm

        There’s always an excuse for a politician telling lies, wallowing in platitudes, regurgitating the conventional wisdom, etc. “For Hagel to get the job, he has to act this way. I think he’s caught between the need to toe the line/suck up (as instructed by his future boss) to get in, and his desire and tendency to offer up blunt observations.” How many times have I heard that kind of explanation for a politician behaving in a way that is really inexcusable? (Lying is, or should be, inexcusable for a so-called public servant.)

        How about this an an explanation — an explanation that’s really almost too obvious to miss?

        He “acts this way” because he’s a gutless coward, a shell of a man with no integrity?

        When other people “act this way,” I don’t see everyone engaging in intellectual contortions to find ways to excuse it. So why excuse it when it’s a so-called “public servant” doing it? Why should these people be held to such a shockingly low standard, a standard that would be unacceptable in most areas of professional and personal life?

        The fact is, they “act this way” to get the job, then they continue to “act this way” to hold onto the job and that’s why nothing ever changes.

        Why is “getting the job” more important than telling the truth, especially when a guy like Hagel has a captive audience of millions who are extraordinarily hungry for just a grain of truth, maybe, improbably, finally, once in a blue moon?

      • ritzl on February 1, 2013, 11:25 am

        @CarlK I look at these hearings like I would torture. You do whatever it takes to live another day. Only once you have succeeded in staying alive do you get to decide how to spend that life going forward.

        If Hagel doesn’t go down, animosities were intensified and enemies were made in this hearing and that will have effect during his tenure. That still doesn’t mean he will make a major policy difference, but he might. Wild card.

      • AlGhorear on January 31, 2013, 10:08 pm

        I don’t see Hagel changing. Just look at Obama. Early in his career he had ties to Edward Said and Jeremiah Wright, he gave his hopeful speech in Cairo after being inaugurated, and now he’s abandoned the Palestinian cause. Why no attempt to use any of his considerable power as president to end or at least limit military, diplomatic and financial support to Israel? He’s already re-elected, what’s stopping him? Instead, he walks and talks the Zionist cause. Hagel will be no different.

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 8:50 pm

        “he had to navigate this genuflection process in order to simply get the opportunity to have that happen.”
        Makes sense. But isn’t it forbidden to sacrifice to other gods?

  11. on January 31, 2013, 6:12 pm

    Why can this be sold to the American public?
    This year’s ranking of the freedom of the press/media in 179 countries by the organization ‘Reporters Without Borders’ is this:

    1. Finland
    2. Netherlands
    3. Norway
    17. Germany
    32. USA
    112. Israel

    One of their criteria is self censorship.

  12. biorabbi on January 31, 2013, 6:24 pm

    Hagel appeared confused, disjointed. He could not answer many basic questions. There is nothing wrong for the US defense secretary to dislike Israel. There is something wrong with his ability to enunciate his points or even to understand Obama’s basic policy goals.

    If this was a display of The Lobby’s power, maybe they slipped something into his water.

    • thetumta on January 31, 2013, 9:00 pm

      Is this the same “biorabbi” that’s heavily invested in certain Israeli controlled American military small-caps?
      P.S. Small world eh?

      • biorabbi on January 31, 2013, 9:36 pm

        Certain California biotechnology companies in the neurological sector, but nothing in the military scene. Some of them have been awarded DARPA grants, but that’s for keeping pilots up for 24-48 hours with amphetamine-like drugs, but zilch to do with Israeli controlled American military small-caps! But I’m game! The only Israeli company I’ve ever bought stock in was Pharmos, but that was a true turd.

      • Mooser on January 31, 2013, 10:55 pm

        thetumta: You know, I think you’re right.

    • Shingo on January 31, 2013, 9:05 pm

      There is something wrong with his ability to enunciate his points or even to understand Obama’s basic policy goals.

      That’s because he was required to give answers that he does not believe in. It’s not easy being told to lie and look like you mean it.

    • Kathleen on January 31, 2013, 10:37 pm

      I have heard him speak and be spontaneous and clear. He seemed dazed and confused. Just wanted him to cut lose and rip into McCain and Graham for their slimy ways. Absolutely no integrity either one of them.

      • Citizen on February 1, 2013, 5:16 am

        @ Kathleen
        On Fox News Friday morning they are headlining Hagel “Looked dazed and confused” and said he didn’t think he had any responsibility as Secretary of Defense.

      • American on February 1, 2013, 2:23 pm

        The tactic of the questioners was pretty clear…..the Sen.Fischer woman was a good example…..what they did was take ‘statements’ from many ‘policy’ discussion papers he contributed to and ask him if he agreed with the statement or not. They used the statements as ‘closed end” questions– for example her question on his statement on ICBMs was a statement he made about ‘one scenario or area’ of the ICBM utility..what areas it didn’t work in as opposed to what areas it may work in and was it cost effective or was there a better alternative.

        This is a old trick every lawyer is familiar with….it’s like me having said ‘I would love to whop my wife– but I love her to much to do that’….and then being asked to answer if it’s true I said or I would love to whop my wife…and me trying to explain that I also said but I love her too much to do that..and then being protrayed as disjointed or rambling or avoiding or not answering the question.

  13. doug on January 31, 2013, 6:30 pm

    Check out Michael Cohen’s twitter:

    Here’s a gem:
    Michael Cohen‏@speechboy71
    To answer Lindsay Graham’s question on how the Israel lobby harms USFP – he should watch this hearing

    • ritzl on January 31, 2013, 8:37 pm

      Cohen was really good with his tweets today. Appropriately sarcastic, but informative as well.

  14. Rusty Pipes on January 31, 2013, 7:00 pm

    The (non-existent) nightflower strikes again. Once the nomination was made, there was no need for AIPAC to oppose Hagel publicly — it only needed to get its message out to 100 people and their staffs: Our donors will be watching. Democrats desperately need the Democrats’ ATM, especially those with presidential ambitions, but they don’t want to tank their president’s agenda at the beginning of a second term and risk seeing some of their favorite programs (or plum committee assignments) fall as a casualty. So they are saying whatever they think the donors want to hear before they vote for Hagel anyway.

    The Republicans are just using any means to make the President and his appointees look bad to the rapture-ready elements of their base. If it brings in extra bucks from Adelson, that’s a plus.

    • Rusty Pipes on January 31, 2013, 7:03 pm

      If any Republicans are stupid enough to try to make Hagel walk back his statement about taking an oath to the Constitution, not Israel, that will be youtube gold.

      • Carowhat on February 1, 2013, 3:32 am

        Israel apologists have already called Hagel anti-Semitic for saying this. They argue that his comment about being loyal to the constitution, not Israel, implies that Jewish Americans have dual loyalty issues and thus is anti-Semitic on its face. Either that or they just condemn such comments as having an “odor” about them.

      • Citizen on February 1, 2013, 5:52 am

        @ Carolwhat
        C Glick tweeted Hagel is “a jew hater.”

      • American on February 1, 2013, 2:53 pm

        ‘not Israel, implies that Jewish Americans have dual loyalty issues and thus is anti-Semitic on its face. ”….carowhat

        The catch 22 for both Jews and non Jews… some do.

        Eric Alterman
        ……… ………. “”I am a dual loyal Jew and sometimes I’m going to actually go with Israel, because the United States can take an awful lot of hits and come up standing. Whereas if Israel takes one serious bad hit it could disappear. So there’s going to be some cases where I go with Israel…
        “”I think that bin Laden and 9/11 were to some degree inspired by U.S. support of Israel. I think a great deal of the terrorist attacks and the sort of pool of potential terrorists who want to attack the United States are inspired by the United States support for Israel. I’m not saying we shouldn’t support Israel for that reason. I’m saying, Dammit if that’s the price we have to pay, then I’m willing to pay it.”

        The solution for Jews and non Jewish who oppose this kind of I-Firstdom?
        Only one I see is not trying to keep the loyalty of some zios in the closet, it gets out anyway…….and of course we have to challenge it.

        Letting people see other Jews condemn them/it is a much better antidote and answer to anti semitism. Those Jews will be championed by, be examples to, non Jews, removing for the public any ‘collective’ stigma of the loyalty question.
        This is one way in which MW has done part of it’s job…acheived credibility with and influenced non Jews —by being honest about the I-Firstdom group and featuring the Jewish opposition to it.
        This works.

  15. Citizen on January 31, 2013, 7:13 pm

    Fox News just tore Hagel a new a**hole. A gross liar, incompetent, ignorant, etc. The show handlers actually broke their planned allotment of time to let Krauthammer rail about Hagel’s take back of all he’s said in the past about Palestinians and the Israel lobby.

    Now Chris Matthews is on; he launches a defense of Hagel’s idea we should be cutting back on all this love of war, attacking the attackers as vultures picking Hagel apart–says McCain thinks Hagel’s cracked in the head since he doesn’t believe we should vote for every war tactic or strategy that comes up.

    Now showing Lindsey Grahm asking Hagel to name one person who’s been intimidated by Jewish or Israel lobby, and one “stupid” thing. Hagel said he could not as he was speaking generally. Matthews says there’s no good answer to the question. Grahm was trying to get him to attack Israel or Bibi, so they could then attack him for being anti-Israel. But Hagel could have made a good case, but instead “brought a water pistol to a gun fight.” Peter Beinhard said Hagel’s performance reminded him of Obama’s at first of 3 rounds against Mitt during last campaign.

    • chris_k on January 31, 2013, 8:12 pm

      Graham was misquoting him.. Hagel didn’t name a Senator specifically as being intimidated by Israel and said the lobby did dumb things, then going into the proposed attack on Iran:

      “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. Again, I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel. I just don’t think it’s smart for Israel.”

      • Citizen on February 1, 2013, 5:54 am

        @ chris_k
        Too bad Hagel did not defend his past statement on the lobby.

    • Chu on February 1, 2013, 10:11 am

      If I were Hagel I would have a tough time, taking that flack from Graham. He doesn’t deserve that perch his sits in. South Carolina voters should watch his exchange with Hagel on the evening news in full – but perhaps the state it to preoccupied with other concerns to care about what is really happening to Palestinians.

      And the media in Washington must have watched in bewilderment
      how insidious people like Graham make it to the top of a corrupted system. That’s what Israel and Washington are – One corrupted relationship. And American Zionists, Like Ed Koch, are the ones to blame – but instead they are renaming bridges in his honor.

  16. CarlK on January 31, 2013, 7:26 pm

    This illustrates why every minute spent thinking about an American politician is a minute wasted. The moment one of these gutless sociopaths gets close to real power, all his/her alleged principles and beliefs go right out the window. Every day, these spineless doormats put themselves on display, oozing false seriousness, and insult the intelligence of every American having a shred of moral or intellectual integrity. I’m sick of being insulted.

  17. weindeb on January 31, 2013, 7:56 pm

    Maybe it’s time, long overdue, to title things properly. Maybe the U.S. should be named Israel’s leading client. This way we can do without all the confusion and game-playing on this issue. I mean, after all, doesn’t it make sense that a tiny, right-wing warrior entity should enter into the political processes of the most powerful nation the world has ever known and shape its destiny? As I see it, the major problem arising from all this is that so many of our politicians will suffer chapped lips from all the ass-kissing of the Israeli behind that they might find it rather painful to do the bloviating their M.O.s demand.

  18. chris_k on January 31, 2013, 7:59 pm

    I agree with Philip and everyone else about being disgusted, but lets remember what Hagel’s game plan is – to get confirmed. Hagel was picked for a job all these Senators want and Hagel got it in part because of his statements on Israel. As a two term Senator, Hagel knows the importance of showing respect for the institution and the process of legislative review. I’d personally have a hard time not saying “Hey, Senator Wicker or Sen. Inhofe, have you ever said a word in your life that wasn’t expedient?” “Hey Sen. McCain, you tried that schtick against my boss in ’08 and he kicked your butt” “Well, Sen. Graham, you certainly say a lot of dumb things because Israel lines your pockets” but that’s not what he’s there to do.

    You know what it really reminded me of? When Ashcroft was up for confirmation and he had a whole statement about how he wasn’t really Ashcroft, he was really a flower child who thought you and me are free to be etc. Then he got right to work being Ashcroft.

    I think Hagel walks out of these hearings punch drunk, knowing he has the votes, thinking ‘their time has passed.’ Does that mean he’s going to be the SoD we’d hope for? I have no idea. What he say here matters on some level but it’s not everything.

    • Chu on February 1, 2013, 10:02 am

      I tend to agree with your assessment, Chris. To get past the guards, you need to tell them what they want to hear. Obama is going to need some backup if he intends to take on the setttlements and Netanyahu. And those around him, like Biden, don’t have much fortitude when Netanyahu comes to town.

    • ritzl on February 1, 2013, 11:34 am

      Well said, chris_k.

  19. Blank State on January 31, 2013, 8:20 pm

    Hmm. Just days ago the airy optimism here about the Hagel appointment coulda floated an aircraft carrier. Are you all now able to discern reality? Hagel did EXACTLY what I said he would.

    In a perfect world, Hagel woulda said that sinking American warships, and shooting American citizens in the head with high velocity tear gas projectiles IS NOT THE ACTIONS OF AN ALLY.

    Instead, Hagel put on his kneepads, and crawled to his confirmation hearing. I wonder how Clemons feels about his hero now.

    • annie on February 1, 2013, 12:31 am

      Hagel did EXACTLY what I said he would.

      i guess i missed all the people lining up saying the confirmation would be a walk in the park. gotta link?

      • Blank State on February 1, 2013, 9:08 am

        “i guess i missed all the people lining up saying the confirmation would be a walk in the park. gotta link?”

        Huh???? Gee, Annie, you completely twisted the gist of my comments past and present. The optimism expressed here had nothing to do with the confirmation being a “cakewalk”. The airy optimism I am speaking about was focused towards Hagel by many here, thinking he would actually have the spine to stand up to the lobby and the Israeli power brokers in DC. The tone of the hearings was easily predictable. But so was Hagel’s groveling reversal of past positions. Many here didn’t see it coming. They thought he’d stand by principals they had wrongly attributed to him. His ES&S dealings, long ago, exhibited for all to see his ACTUAL character.

        But putting aside his character, and speaking frankly, he would never have recieved the nomination if Obama thought, for one second, that he was going to make waves about the corrosive and prevailing power Israel holds over our “leaders” in DC. His groveling was pre-ordained the minute he recieved the nomination. He HAD to sell out. It was a precondition. My point about this whole thing is that ALL OF THIS was predictable, and that the optimism expressed here about Chuck Hagel was, and is, foolish, given the knowledge we all possess about how things are done in DC.

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 9:14 pm

        I was optimistic about Hagel’s stance and hoped he would get confirmed. My expectation was that Israel would come up very rarely in the hearing, because it is in fact rarely mentioned in the media as a major policy issue for the US.

        However Phil and others said they were looking forward to the topic getting a public airing. It turned out they were right about that, since it was mentioned so often. I did not expect Hagel to come off strongly on the IP conflict, in fact I could easily see him downplaying it, because he didn’t react much publicly to accusations before the nomination.

        I- and Phil and others- certainly didn’t expect him to be so craven. The most obvious conclusion is that Phil, I, and others really hadn’t realized the strong hold it has over the government, like you said. Otherwise he would have been in a position to at least downplay his statements. In this case, to have the possibility of getting nominated, he felt he had to worship that which he does not believe.

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 9:29 pm

        I think I expected him to hold to his guns but also to talk little and softly on the subject, based on his actions leading up to the nomination. Then I expected he would get or lose the nomination based on however strong his cards were.

        I assume most other commentators here felt that way too, but am not sure.

      • annie on February 2, 2013, 7:29 am

        i assumed, and still assume, he was prepped for this process by a team of professionals both in his demeanor and answers to all of these questions. after the ‘meeting w/schumer’ (which i assume he was also prepped for) and the one day turn around where schumer gave his approval i assumed (and still assume) he’s got it clinched. he just has to make it thru this process.

        there have probably been weeks of planning for this and the way he is responding is exactly the way he’s been advised/prompted to respond, completely devoid of push back and confrontation (which is the adverse of his nature, the very nature obama probably likes working with).

        i hope people make a real stink about this groveling to israel.

      • American on February 2, 2013, 7:48 am

        @ W Jones

        One of my email group member sent this….about how many times Iraq and Israel was mentioned.

        ‘One commentator this morning had counted the references in the Hagel questioning and 156 questions regarded the Iraq war while only 30 referred to the war in Afghanistan. There were more references to the security of Israel than to our own, by a ratio of of five to one.

        It was on MSNBC at 11:00 so that would have been noon your time. I can’t be sure of the guy’s name but it was 2 last names, Thomas something, maybe Roberts.”

  20. kalithea on January 31, 2013, 8:31 pm

    Zionisim IS a religion, those Washington knuckleheads are part of THE Cult, and forget Jonestown; Israel is the Land of OZ!

    Hagel’s getting indoctrinated in the UNDEMOCRATIC ways of Zionism; he just got a public flogging and was subjected to humiliation for moments of wisdom and spine – endangered qualities. His brain was just rewired by the creepy cult. It’s too disgusting to witness.

    The only reason Kerry was spared the 3rd degree by The Cult is because he’s already part of it and has prostrated himself on the Lobby’s altar; unlike Hagel. Watch:

    “I think Zionism has so influenced the American discourse, via political money and thinktanks and columnists and editors…” THAT’S IT??? THAT’S ALL???

    It’s in the freakin’ t.v. slop the masses lap up, it’s in the vittles; America’s drunk on Zionist KOOL-AID for gawd’s sake!!

    Forget it…this is a losing battle! Hagel’s clone is now programmed for duty in service of Zionism. No doubt Ovadia’s snickering. AMERICANS are proving they ARE the DONKEYS. Hee-haw…blech.

    • Chu on February 1, 2013, 9:58 am

      Lol! great rant… It truly is a cult. The gatekeeper apparatchiks of the House and Senate were showing their fortitude for the Jonestown state, It was an inquisition yesterday.

      And the corporate news in the US will take a pass on offering any commentary that opposes what we had witnessed yesterday on CSPAN.

      That was embarrassing for the US. Can you imagine if that room was full of the founding leaders of this country??? They would be puking into buckets watching this craven display of subservience to a 60 year old apartheid state. WTF, man….

    • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 9:16 pm

      Kalithea: Duh.

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 9:30 pm


    • on February 2, 2013, 8:59 am

      “Forget it…this is a losing battle”
      Calm down. On the contrary, every second of nomination questioning and Hagel’s groveling is worth hours of TV advertising against Zionism.

  21. thetumta on January 31, 2013, 8:44 pm

    So he should just wander into their trap? Better he does a Chas Freeman and acknowledges the futility of opposing the “Borg”. Less humiliation and effort. It’s not like he hasn’t made his way through a bad situation before. At least he might have the strength to do it, I don’t. It can’t be fun to be made a clown for a greater goal? And that’s why they are going after him. They think it’s camouflage and it very well may be. We’ll see.

    Carlk, you making the mistake of thinking that an occupied people, us, still have the luxury of an opinion that somehow matters. That’s not how occupation works. Welcome to Palestine and Jim Crow. Know your place.


  22. American on January 31, 2013, 9:00 pm

    I thought McCain really exposed himself…not on Israel but on his own ‘self.’
    I have always known McCain has severe psycho problems and is a total liar and knowing what I do about him it was easy for me to understand why he hates Hagel…it’s not Iraq really …’s that Hagel is everything McCain is not..Hagel is actually an honorable war hero, McCain is a life long fuck up and phoney war hero who has been dennounced by the very POWs he was imprisoned with. McCain doesn’t even have one fellow service man who will speak up for him …his whole maverick story was media fabrication. I shudder to think what he would have done as president.

    Here’s his whole sorry’s a real zinger….the kind of people who get elected in this country should scare the [email protected] out of all of us.

    • biorabbi on January 31, 2013, 9:37 pm

      Are you saying McCain is a kind of a dick? Point taken.

    • peeesss on February 1, 2013, 2:34 am

      Truly disgusting, pathetic but at the end I thought sad, watching Hagel deny his own being. Every word he ever uttered in the past about Israeli violence against the Palestinians, Lebanese, about Palestinian suffering, living in a cage, Israeli war crimes, settlements, he took back, “I shouldn’t have said that”. Every word he uttered in the past about US negotiating , honestly with Iran, taken back. No war with Iran, taken back. What credibility does Hagel have now if he, indeed, is confirmed. As bad as the inquisitors were in their Zionist/Israeli adoration, I believe Hagel’s “performance” emasculated him. The man does seem to have had some personal courage. Was this performance worth it if he lost his soul. Many on this site thought he would be an obstacle to the neo cons war plans and Israeli provocations. I had some slight hope also. But can he truly be that now after this performance? BTW I thought Cruz was the worst of the Zionist/Israel partisans, as much or more than the indecent Graham. Texas , Zionist? Wow.

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 9:32 pm

        dont cry. may phoenix rise from ashes. :)

    • Chu on February 1, 2013, 9:52 am

      I think McCain said at the outset that he and Hagel were good friends and then he tears into him with the questioning – forcing him into a yes or no answer. McCain showed that his low-class style yesterday. But the queen of questioning, Lindsey Graham, seemed to be the top apparatchik for Israel – he went straight for the jugular.

      • Citizen on February 1, 2013, 11:14 am

        @ Chu

        Weren’t all the committee chair Levin’s questions directly about Israel? I missed some of the hearing, but I read that somewhere in last day or so.

      • Chu on February 5, 2013, 6:19 pm

        @ Citz
        I didn’t have the pleasure of watching the entire show. Missed out on Levin, but I did witness the vigor of Blumenthol. He could be a rising liberal Zionist.

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 9:34 pm

        Kind of makes me wonder what Vishinsky was thinking when he railed against the Old Bolsheviks. Apparently he had actually signed an order to arrest Lenin himself 20 years earlier in the October Revolution.

    • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 10:00 pm

      Wow dude.

      McCain, who knew more than most pilots about bailing out of a crippled aircraft, leapt forward out of the cockpit, swung himself down from the refueling probe protruding from the nose cone, rolled through the flames and ran to safety across the flight deck… The damage to the Forrestal was far more grievous: The explosion set off a chain reaction of bombs, creating a devastating inferno that would kill 134…
      the deadliest Naval calamity since the Second World War.
      What initially caused the incident?

  23. thetumta on January 31, 2013, 9:09 pm

    In Kerry’s case, that would be the Boston “Borg”. Hardcore, the worst.

    If Senator Hagel, an American Senator assumes this post, he can clean house in the Pentagon. Fire anyone that gets a Federal check and holds Israeli citizenship tomorrow morning. I have a list of Defense Department employees he should remove immediately. Doesn’t get us there, but it’s a start. Names you’ve never heard of. The cogs in the wheel. That’s how bureaucracy works. Run them out.


  24. EUR1069 on January 31, 2013, 9:11 pm

    I’m puking all over the place. Time to move to Canada, really. This country is beyond redemption.

    • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 10:45 pm

      Cool. Their president has to be more critical of Isra… Never mind.

  25. EUR1069 on January 31, 2013, 9:46 pm

    I mean, what was the point of humiliating a decorated veteran and an honest public servant? That spineless SOB could have cut down to chase by nominating John Bolton, Richard Pearle, Bill Kristol, Doug Feith or any of the Zionist boychiks. Once in a lifetime chance to reign in the lobby was blown. I’m SO done here.

  26. on January 31, 2013, 9:47 pm

    What did everyone here expect, fercryinoutloud? Saint Charles performing a miracle to change the nature of the US?
    Once more: an almost-fascist militarist government totally under the thumb of both the Zionist lobby and the war industries will not change policy just because someone (just as bad as the others but smarter) changed. This is a country where even presidents get murdered if felt to be unreliable.
    Once more: it was the objection to the nomination that was good and damaged the Zionist lobby; and the good thing would have been to get them to continue that opposition.

    • seafoid on February 1, 2013, 9:15 am

      A relevant comment from the Progressive from 2007 –

      “And on the topic of the month, Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama, Political Editor Ruth Conniff weighs in, and warns us all not to be fooled that we’ll be getting radical change from either one, so long as they rely on the same kind of campaign cash.”

      Hagel is like Obama was then

  27. Kathleen on January 31, 2013, 9:59 pm

    Chris Matthews had Beinart on tonight to discuss the hearing. Beinart brought up how it was too bad that Hagel did not show just why he was selected.

    Anyone know how the votes stack up right now? Folks should be calling their Senators in support of Hagel

    • chris_k on February 1, 2013, 12:58 am

      I would be surprised if any Democrat votes against him, and I don’t know of any who have suggested they will. The Republicans may vote 2/3 against him, or half and half. I would be shocked if he doesn’t get confirmed. The media wants to make it seem like he’s on shakier ground than he is.

      What the Republicans are doing is trying to ramp up the conflict to raise money. Adelson floated the idea of $200M in an odd numbered year which they’re salivating over. Rove has always tried, unsuccessfully, to get more Jewish voters to go GOP, as well as all the other ethnicities. This is probably one of the reasons why Hagel was told to dial down the drama and disappoint those who wanted a showdown over the Lobby. Again, it’s unclear whether he will continue to grovel when he takes office.

    • peeesss on February 1, 2013, 2:53 am

      Kathleen, Support Hagel even after that performance. It was humiliating to see how Hagel allowed those ignorant , racists pummel him making him take back every honest, couragous word he ever uttered about I/P and Iran. I understand one can say to get nominated he had to ask “forgiveness”. But this was truly sad. As I watched the hearing , I thought wouldn’t it be nice to say “Yes, I said it then and I stand by what I said now.” ” I’m not the Senator from Israel”, “I am a Senator from the United States.” Will he be in a position to actually be a positive influence in the administration after this debacle? Won’t he forever be looking over his shoulder and parsing every word he utters in the future?. You know the Lobby and the neo cons and the Zionist media will be watching and listening to every word he utters. I don’t see how he can be a positive influence as we would have liked.

      • Kathleen on February 2, 2013, 12:35 pm

        While it was painful to watch Hagel have to kiss ass know that he and his crew know far far more than most of us do. He is sitting in that seat and looks like about to be confirmed. Looks like they were playing the numbers game and taking the chance and speaking truth to power was far to risky at this point. I think if he gets in we are going to witness Obama and Hagel rock the I lobby boat………..that will ultimately produce positive results in the I/P conflict and the situation with Iran

      • seanmcbride on February 2, 2013, 12:42 pm

        Payback is coming for all the nasty abuse that Graham, Cruz, Vitter and company dished out.

        What is nuts is that the Israeli government and the Israel lobby didn’t muzzle these thoughtless zealots, who can’t see more than a move ahead on the political chessboard. This is your brain on Christian Zionism.

  28. on January 31, 2013, 10:24 pm

    The fall and rise of Chuck Hagel: a good sign for US-Israel relations

    Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s controversial nominee for secretary of Defense, faces his Senate confirmation hearing today. His rise after a wave of objections is a welcome sign that ‘daylight’ between US and Israeli policies may be becoming more politically acceptable in Washington.

    why was he ever controversial……cuz the lobby said so

    Jewish advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League claimed Hagel might be anti-Semitic, based mostly on his injudicious use of the term “Jewish lobby.” Elliott Abrams, the Republican foreign affairs official of Iran-contra infamy, outright leveled the charge.

    But the real fear of many Jewish advocacy organizations was actually Hagel’s independent positions on Israel-related issues from Iran to the Palestinians. All the substantial weight of a long list of Jewish institutions was brought against the nomination.

    It has been essentially unacceptable in Washington to acknowledge that the United States may at times have different priorities than Israel.

    no there is no lobby there is no lobby..ect ect ect

    But when even Jon Stewart joked this month about the absurdity of the no-daylight requirement, it’s clear that Americans – or at least the younger generation – are getting tired of such an unquestioning close relationship.

    the close relationship is not the people ..but congress and the media

  29. Kathleen on January 31, 2013, 10:53 pm

    Defense contractors, Israel, the I lobby all worried about Hagel. Lots of contracts at stake with him cutting defense

  30. Blank State on January 31, 2013, 11:01 pm

    “Graham: Name one person in your opinion who’s intimidated by the Jewish lobby in the US Senate”

    What Hagel said…

    “I don’t know…”

    What Hagel should have said…

    “Well, myself, for one….”

    • Taxi on February 1, 2013, 3:13 am

      “Well, myself for one…” and right here right now by YOU mister Graham!

      Should have been the FULL and necessary truth uttered and recorded.

    • American on February 1, 2013, 11:39 am

      All Hagel had to do when asked about the lobby intimidation was pull this out:


      AND…then ask Graham if he considers that intimidation or not.

      • American on February 1, 2013, 2:04 pm

        Have tried twice now to get thru Graham’s office….the speak to staff line has rung busy every time.
        Will try later today…..really curious what the answer will be to is the above a good enough example to the intimidation Hagel was talking about?
        Will be interesting to see how they answer……will it be Kristol who?..what’s a Zio?….or the Weekly Standard made up a lie about the senate aid sending that email?……and then their answer to why would the Weekly Standard make it up if not to intimate.

      • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 3:00 pm

        “AND…then ask Graham if he considers that intimidation or not.”
        Do you really have to ask what would happen? It would be winning the battle but hurting himself, because then Graham and the other inquisitors would then actually do more intimidation. eg. “Are you an Anti-Semite, Mr. Hagel.” At that point, the fawning could get even worse. Expressions of love for the Jewish people, mentioning other reasons why he actually is pro-Semitic in order to prove he is not anti-Semitic; Maybe there could be talk about the people’s ancestral homeland, and important role in the Bible. (He already talked about his trips to Israel.)

      • American on February 1, 2013, 6:17 pm

        Yea but I believe in harassing them ……I record the calls and sometimes play them for interested friends…..some of them are hysterically funny.
        The poor aides trying to give a non answer -answer because they aren’t sure which side you’re coming from are priceless. I always pretend to be a constituent and say I ‘m confused about something.., I don’t understand what Israel has to do with the US Sec of Defense..then if they start the ally stuff, which one did, I ask them what ‘other’ allies have to say about Hagel as SOD, if they’ve heard from Britain cause I haven’t heard any country mentioned but Israel and how strange it’s sounding to Americans listening to this fight, like some of our politicians are working for a foreign country. Sometimes I don’t play quite that dumb… I aways end up by saying though that all these US politicians pledging allegiance to a foreign country sounds like treason to Americans….lol.

      • seanmcbride on February 2, 2013, 6:31 pm


        I ask them what ‘other’ allies have to say about Hagel as SOD, if they’ve heard from Britain cause I haven’t heard any country mentioned but Israel and how strange it’s sounding to Americans listening to this fight, like some of our politicians are working for a foreign country.

        They ARE working for a foreign country, and Israel First billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are their paymasters.

        The American political system at this point — and the Congress in particular — is rotten through and through.

  31. Qualtrough on January 31, 2013, 11:17 pm

    People in the not-too-distant future will look back on this era of subservience to Israeli interests slack-jawed in wonder, not believing how such a tiny country was able to control what on paper is the most powerful country on earth, and get it to do things that were inimical to its interests. Shame on Hagel, who could have taken a principled stand but instead rolled over like a whimpering dog.

    • yourstruly on February 1, 2013, 2:11 am

      like a whimpering dog?

      til at last?

      being set free?

      those magical eighteen days in tahrir square?

      plus the occupy movement?

      writ large?

      forever more?

      • Qualtrough on February 1, 2013, 8:30 am

        Haven’t a clue what you are getting at with your reply. Can you try again please?

      • yourstruly on February 2, 2013, 12:24 pm

        bad as it is

        reasons for believing

        better times ahead

    • W.Jones on February 1, 2013, 11:01 pm


      What must the Russians be thinking when they watch the nomination hearings? Except they have a similar problem, dont they?

  32. Diamond on February 1, 2013, 2:22 am

    Anti-semites must be struggling to contain their glee over today’s proceedings. As an american jew, i feel a little bit less safe today than I did yesterday.

    • Citizen on February 1, 2013, 6:35 am

      @ Diamond
      Somebody will make hay releasing all the questions not asked appropriate to vet a current American defense honcho nominee, and also releasing the actual number of questions on Israel, then on Iran wrt Israel.

    • Ellen on February 1, 2013, 7:46 am

      Don’t know if Judeophobes are gleeful. Eitherway, why allow fear to control.

      Turn the enery around into taking Judaism back from a nationalist milataristic enterprise.

      • seanmcbride on February 1, 2013, 11:32 am


        You know, the foundational books of the Bible are not limited to the following themes, but the more I reread the Bible the more I notice the prominence of these themes:

        # Bible: themes
        1. authoritarianism
        2. bigotry
        3. ethnic cleansing
        4. ethnic cultism
        5. ethnic nationalism
        6. ethnic supremacism
        7. ethno-religious nationalism
        8. genocide
        9. imperialism
        10. infanticide
        11. intolerance
        12. land theft
        13. messianic ethnic nationalism
        14. militarism
        15. mystical ethnocentrism
        16. mystical nationalism
        17. mystical territorialism
        18. patriarchy
        19. racism
        20. religious fundamentalism
        21. religious nationalism
        22. religious terrorism
        23. segregation
        24. self-ghettoization
        25. sexism
        26. slavery
        27. stonings
        28. superstition
        29. totalitarianism
        30. vengeance
        31. war
        32. world domination
        33. xenophobia

        Will Jeffrey Goldberg, David Brooks, David Gregory, Leon Wieseltier and their crew ever invite me to sit around and gab at their study group? :)

        Sometimes I think that everything you need to know about the endless Mideast holy wars can be found in the opening books of the Bible — the archetypes and templates for human behavior are clearly delineated there.

        Everyone should read these books for themselves, within the framework of contemporary Mideast conflicts.

    • kalithea on February 1, 2013, 9:31 am

      “As an american jew, i feel a little bit less safe today than I did yesterday.”

      The Jewish/Zionist Lobby hearts this comment. It’s exactly this type of reaction that empowers it. As a matter of fact they’re wishing for 10,000 more comments like this that’ll lead to mass hysteria in the community because the victim angle needs to be peddled and resurrected to wipe out all criticism and suspicion that Jews have the power to make or break politicians.

      The lobby thanks you.

    • American on February 1, 2013, 12:02 pm

      @ Diamond

      I don’t blame you for feeling at least ‘uncomfortable’.
      But the ultimate …I dont’ want to say “responsibility” for a solution to I-Firstdom exactly …so let’s call it the ‘problem’ … rest with the Jews themselves re opposition to the US Zionist.
      A lot of them will have to change their basic attitude about what the world, particulary the US, ‘owes’ them for their victimhood status –which in reality no longer exist –and the actual responsible victimizers long dead and gone.
      The question is can they do that? If not, the problem will always be there.

    • eljay on February 1, 2013, 1:11 pm

      >> As an american jew, i feel a little bit less safe today than I did yesterday.

      Which is how Zio-supremacists want you to feel. This way, you realize you’re not really part of America or some other nation – you’re only truly part of the “Jewish Nation” and, so, you must “return” to the “Jewish State” where:
      – you will feel at home with your one true and “chosen” people; and
      – you will be safe from all danger…even though a billion Arabs are apparently just waiting to wipe you off the map and push you into the sea. (And then maybe fish you back out, crush you like an insect, bury you and dance on your grave.)

    • Chu on February 1, 2013, 2:26 pm


      You should worry about Israel’s One Great Lie
      before your concern yourself with Hagel.

      Occupying Land for security is allowed in war –
      Occupying land during a war and building homes for settlers
      is the crime.

      Focus on the crime, not the blowback.

  33. Taxi on February 1, 2013, 2:46 am

    It’s all so sickening cuz it’s all so frigging PREDICTABLE!

    It’s like zionism has stuck on us like phlegm on a diseased lung. Heal the lung and the phlegm will have no diseased host to cling to.

    That’s right, folks, I’m sayin’ it all OUR fault that we’re slaves to ‘the’ lobby. Zionism just saw how corrupt our political system is and merely took advantage of the rot.

  34. noisy tappet on February 1, 2013, 3:40 am

    How depressing. Hagel repeatedly caught flat-footed. Must be dumb not to have anticipated some obvious hostile questions and been ready with suitably sharp replies. He needs serious training before going out into the big bad world of ‘US DEFENSE’.
    George Galloway would have made mincemeat of those Inquisitorial bar-flies. Perhaps Hagel should hire GG as an adviser.

  35. yrn on February 1, 2013, 4:06 am

    Read comment from Dec 2012:
    “As you have pointed out Hagel is going to get pounded by the I lobby…bet he can make it through the pounding. Hope and pray Obama nominates him. Would be a real solid and clear sign about saying no to a military intervention with Iran.”…….

    He was your Hero those days……
    What happened……. Make up your minds……..

  36. Citizen on February 1, 2013, 6:18 am

    On Morning Joe, Friday morning: topic: Ground Chuck

    Re surge question & Hagel’s response. Joe: It was badgering, those yes or no questions.

    How much was due to surge, how much due to bags of cash given the locals? Substantively, it was impossible question to answer.

    On a job interview, you have to perform. Can’t just dismiss questions.

    Re lobby intimidation, “Jewish lobby.” Hagel said he should have said “pro-Israel lobby.” And should have used “influence” not “intimidation”

    RE name 1 person, 1 dumb thing:

    “Hagel said I already said I regret that statement.”

    Joe: “I’m always struck when at such high stakes events, the candidate comes so ill-prepared–there’s so many standard ways of diverting the issues, pat answers, etc. He didn’t do any of it, plus he was weak on substance issues. Nobody prepared him.”

    Segue: Breaking News: Ed Koch dead at 88, heart failure.) Everybody praises him.

  37. sajepress on February 1, 2013, 8:29 am

    “Graham: Name one person in your opinion who’s intimidated by the Jewish lobby in the US Senate”

    Answer that goes begging: “Name one that isn’t”

  38. ramzijaber on February 1, 2013, 8:54 am

    Just struck me: if/when Hagel is confirmed (despite his pitiful performance due to running away from his beliefs and for not taking a clear stand as a decorated war hero ought to), then the top 4 administration positions would be held by male senators:
    1) Obama
    2) Biden
    3) Kerry
    4) Hagel
    What does this imply? Good? Bad? Irrelevant? Just curious what folks think…….

    • Scott on February 1, 2013, 9:22 am

      My first thought: many years ago a history professor (Henry Graff, at Columbia) referred to the Senate as “the coward’s branch of government”– suggesting that the Democratic Party might do better to look for a governor as its next presidential candidate. One of the reasons I supported Carter in 1975.

    • Ellen on February 1, 2013, 9:29 am

      Gender and identity politics have no place. Irrelevant.

  39. Ellen on February 1, 2013, 9:30 am

    In light of the depressing — on many levels — nomination hearings, a look at this 2007 documentary is really worth a re-visit.

  40. Chu on February 1, 2013, 9:43 am

    Well stated Phil. It was almost comical how the entire show was about Israel. It seemed Hagel showed up to prostrate to the undecided senators about how loyal he was to Israel.

    Gillibrand’s questioning was bizarre for the upstate senator. She was the quarterback and Blumenthal was the receiver. God, what a mess.

    And the most insidious man in congress has to go to Lindsey Graham. He is such a drag queen with a gavel in hand. McCain’s reference to Lieberman was also ludicrous. The three amigos are down to two.

    After watching that performance, I feel like nothing in the past 10 years has really changed in Washington.

  41. kalithea on February 1, 2013, 9:45 am

    I’m sorry, so sorry, please forgive me for wanting to be an American first, please forgive me for putting American interests first (sob!). I thought I had this right since I put my life on the line for country…forgiiiiiiive me. I’ll do anything for this job: kneel to the interests of the Lobby; carry Zionists’ water; be the Lobby’s donkey…Masters, just don’t ruin my careeeeer…..puh-leeeees…bawawawa!

    Americans are screwed.

  42. dbroncos on February 1, 2013, 9:54 am

    Does Hagel’s sad sack performance mean that Zionists will get their American war on Iran? I heard no hint from him that he’ll stand in the way.

  43. kalithea on February 1, 2013, 10:09 am

    Here’s a good analogy for y’all:

    Americans are the inmates and the Jewish/Zionist Lobby is Nurse Ratched. If you attack Nurse Ratched she’ll whip out the victim card; muzzle you and turn you into a whimpering pretzel. Whoever rebels gets lobotimized, in other words, is immediately neutralized; gets their brain rewired and at the least is reduced to a bumbling, stuttering fool.

    Where are the Indians? Oh that’s right, they were “neutralized” too. Oh well, no escape.

    Like I said, Americans are so screwed. Slave, meet master.

  44. HPH on February 1, 2013, 10:42 am

    Here is a different take on the hearing by Justin Raimondo at Hagel Hearing: The War Party’s Waterloo. The title is a good summary. I think it’s worth reading.

  45. Brown-Eyed Girl on February 1, 2013, 10:58 am

    I heard a radio talk show host in San Fran say, last year, that there was a rumor around Washington that AIPAC had proof that Lindsey Graham was a homosexual and was using that information, photographic information, to blackmail him.

  46. Rupa Shah on February 1, 2013, 11:06 am

    I have not read all the comments above and so I hope I am not repeating anything in my comment……..
    In defense of Sen Hagel,

    And imho, we should demand of ALL Republican senators asking questions, the same kind of information they demanded of Sen Hagel……

    Also, the Republican senators made themselves irrelevant…… the hearings are some times a joke or a farce…..when relevant questions are not asked…..

    Rajiv Chandrasekaran ‏@rajivwashpost

    And not a single mention of drones
    16h Rajiv Chandrasekaran Rajiv Chandrasekaran ‏@rajivwashpost

    More from the Hagel hearing word counter: China–5 Army–7 Veterans–27 Sanctions–68
    16h Rajiv Chandrasekaran Rajiv Chandrasekaran ‏@rajivwashpost

    At Hagel hearing, 136 mentions of Israel and 135 of Iran. Only 27 refs to Afghanistan. 2 for Al Qaida. 1 for Mali.

  47. Citizen on February 1, 2013, 11:35 am

    Having made a career in the nominee vetting process, Maren Leed of @CSIS was on CSPAN WJ answering questions from callers about the Hagel vetting. She pretty much gave the impression the hearing was nothing out of the usual for vetting of regime nominees for public office; and she said this, while also saying, at one point, she was in basic agreement with Hagel because his historical POV was in same stream as Schultz, whom she highly praised wrt US foreign policy. In short she was blasé. This view of the hearing was echoed here:
    “Separately, an administration official involved in the confirmation process said “a lot of what we’ve seen today is political theater. Chuck Hagel is someone very pragmatic and he wanted to have a conversation. He didn’t take the bait. Some people will say he didn’t get angry or mad, but that’s not who he is.”

    But at the web site, was added:

    ” He decided to take the high road.”
    But that said, a second official acknowledged “we think he’s on his way, but he didn’t round the bases today. He could have. He didn’t.” Had Hagel “rounded the bases,” he would have ensured no senator would step forward to filibuster him.”
    And some senators said they were astonished Hagel responded so weakly to the questions:
    Read more:

  48. Citizen on February 1, 2013, 11:42 am

    Did anyone listen to the Sheila Bair video Phil put up at the top, here?

    • Citizen on February 1, 2013, 2:42 pm

      Bair was the head of the FDIC during the bailout of the big banks. There’s really no new sheriff in town when it comes to incestuous Wall St & the Fed, not even an Annie Oakley, not even Warren. Milking Dick & Jane investor (or not) continues non-stop.

  49. American on February 1, 2013, 12:28 pm

    Just to remind everyone that Hagel had to answer as he did ‘if he wanted the position” and the votes ‘ because’ of the control the lobby has over most of the house and key politicians.
    And whose fault it that really? It’s ours.

    “If” you want to get rid of zionism and Israel in the US government then you’ve got to be LOUDER AND MORE AGRESSIVE AND JUST AS VICIOUS and in larger numbers than the zionist are.

    One more time—TRAITOR LIST…and yes you do have to use the word Traitor. Otherwise your complaints arouse nothing in them. Make them play defense on the traitor accusation, not offense with the anti semitism smear.

    Fax Numbers as of Jan. 1, 2013

    Kirk – Goldberg 202 228 4611
    Lindsey Graham – 202 224 3808
    Tom Coburn – 202 224 6008
    Mitch McConnell- 202 224 2499
    Chuck Schumer 202 228 3027
    Bill Nelson – 202 228 2183
    Saxley Chambliss 202 224 0103
    Robert Menendez 202 228 2197
    Ted Cruz—no fax yet—Ph 202 224 5922
    Pat Roberts – 202 224 3514
    John Cornyn 202 228 2856
    Mark Rubio 202 228 0285
    Rob Portman – 202 224 9075
    John McCain 202 228 2862

    For good measure:
    Harry Reid- 202 224 7327
    John Kerry – 202 224 8525
    Paul Rand – 202 228 6917

  50. Dan Crowther on February 1, 2013, 12:31 pm

    I probably have a somewhat different take than Phil and others on the Hagel hearings, which I watched in full.

    I think “Israel” is really just code for “Imperial Desires”; the rest of the American political discourse is about “spreading freedom and democracy” etc etc, its flowerly, it’s based in Enlightenment discourse and so on. BUT the US is an Empire, and an Empire needs a rhetorical outlet for it’s Imperial Desires – all the irrational, greed and hate filled wants of the Imperial Court, but in the American discourse, at least the establishment discourse, it’s uncouth to refer to the US Empire, to US interests as imperial interests, having nothing to do with freedom and democracy, and I think this is where “Israel” comes in. A defense of Israel is a simple matter of Might and for the Imperial Court, Israel is a testament to their strength and power: they are able to prop up and maintain a western settler outpost right in the collective face of people who would want that outpost gone. Israel is the US’s big F you to the rest of the world. It’s so brazen you almost have to respect it. And so, Hagel’s pledge of allegiance to Israel, is in my opinion his pledge of allegiance to Imperial Court, it’s the Establishments last filter: Are you willing to follow a mindless bunch of idiots in their quest to dominate and control? “Well, I’ve always been a friend of “Israel.” ” wink wink

  51. DICKERSON3870 on February 1, 2013, 5:31 pm

    RE: “The first few hours of Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing have been sickening. I thought he was named to be United States Secretary of Defense, not Israel’s defense.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “The Washington witch trial of Chuck Hagel”, By Larry Derfner, +972 Magazine, 2/01/13
    Under pressure over the issues of Iran and Israel at his Senate confirmation hearing, Obama’s nominee for defense secretary caves in completely.

    [EXCERPTS] Thursday’s Senate confirmation hearing of Chuck Hagel was something out of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” or the 1950s House Un-American Activities Committee sessions. “Senator Hagel, are you now or have you ever been a realist?” “Your soul is in peril, Senator – recant!”
    And Hagel recanted, over and over again. Under pressure on Iran and Israel (among other taboo subjects), he apologized to his inquisitors for referring to the “Jewish lobby” (“I should have said ‘pro-Israel lobby’”), apologized for saying it “intimidated” people (“I should have said ‘influenced’”), caved in over saying the lobby had gotten Congress to do “dumb” things (couldn’t think of a dumb thing it had ever gotten Congress to do). . .
    . . . Hagel needs five Republican votes to get confirmed as secretary of defense; reports are that it’s touch and go. At this point, I don’t think it matters; he’s been so compromised, so smacked around by Israel’s enforcers, that he’d probably be afraid to say anything but “yes” to Netanyahu once he got to the Pentagon.
    This was a spectacle of America and Israel at their worst. It was the worst of the Obama administration, too, a reminder of why this president’s second term is unlikely to be any better than his first as far as the Middle East is concerned. . .


  52. American on February 1, 2013, 7:03 pm

    Why Hagel Laid Down
    by Peter Beinart Feb 1, 2013 4:45 PM EST

    ”Why did Chuck Hagel perform so poorly before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday? Perhaps because his Obama administration handlers urged him to be something he’s not. The real Hagel is a curious combination of raw emotion and international relations theory abstraction. On the one hand, he’s known for getting angry, especially when people who know little about the realities of war imply that he’s not tough enough on America’s foes. Knowing that, Hagel’s former Republican colleagues were clearly hoping to goad him into some kind of eruption. Tennessee’s Bob Corker had already warned that Hagel’s “overall temperament” would be an issue at the hearings.

    All nominees are warned not to allow their hearings to turn combative, but a source close to Hagel suggests that the staffers prepping Hagel were particularly adamant on this score. “They expected [Jim] Inhofe, [John] McCain and especially [Ted] Cruz to come after him, and they said, ‘Be a tank—don’t rise and attack back.’” An aide involved in the Hagel preparations says that’s overblown, but acknowledges that it was made clear that as a nominee, Hagel could not allow himself to be drawn into the kind of feisty exchange that Hillary Clinton had with Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson during last month’s hearings on Benghazi. This was considered particularly important in winning over those relatively moderate Senate Republicans like Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who administration aides believe like Hagel personally, and can be convinced to vote for him, or at least to oppose a Republican filibuster.

    The problem is that Hagel is quite compelling when he’s mad……

    But then Beinart later tweeted….”open_zion Why Hagel Laid Down: @PeterBeinart reports on the advice Hagel got, and why it might not’ve been prudent.

    Beinart is likley right about about how Hagel was advised for the hearing. But I think he’s off on saying Hagel will fail as a foreign policy spokesman. First the SOD isn’t a FP spokesman, the FP belongs to Obama, what Hagel will do, all he can do re FP, is support O’s position by representing the pentagon – military pov to buttress Obama’s position. I don’t know why Beinart says Hagels back down wasn’t prudent, it was prudent if it gets the him the votes. Hagel will have plenty of time and opportunity to revert to his true colors—at least in advice to Obama—once he gets in.

    Slater made a accurate comment on this..
    Jerome Slater 5pts1 hour ago
    ”Of course the aim of the hearings was to get Hagel confirmed, not to build a case for a different foreign policy. If he had tried to do the former, he would really have “failed,” since he would not be confirmed and therefore could hardly emerge as a “spokesman” for anything”

  53. EUR1069 on February 1, 2013, 7:18 pm

    All he had to do is to say: “As a U.S. Senator and President’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Defense I resent my colleagues’ attempts to pressure me into pledging allegiance to another country before my own.” On record. That’s it. If they axed him for it it would be out there for everyone to see and understand the very nature of this hideous ploy. I mean his life doesn’t depend on his job. It would have been a perfect time for “Have you no decency left, Sir?”

  54. seanmcbride on February 2, 2013, 8:52 am

    The Southern factor in pro-Israel attacks on Chuck Hagel

    Help me reality check these thoughts:

    Did everyone else notice that the most fanatical pro-Israel attacks on Chuck Hagel came from politicians from formerly Confederate states — Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Ted Cruz (Texas), David Vitter (Louisiana), etc.?

    How many of these pro-Israel zealots from formerly Confederate states are Christian Zionists and Old Testament cultists — that is, more militaristic ethnic nationalists than pacific universalist Christians? To what degree has the Israeli government and the Israel lobby exploited reactionary and racist currents in Southern political and religious culture to build support for reactionary and racist currents in Zionist and Jewish ethnic nationalist culture?

    One also recalls that Southern politicians played a lead role in pushing Monicagate and the impeachment of Bill Clinton forward and that pro-Israel militants in American politics were obsessed with bringing down Clinton and disrupting the Mideast peace process on behalf of Likud.

    How important are the connections here between Zionist and Confederate cultures? What traits do they share in common? To what degree have Likud Zionists acquired control of the South and used that control to dominate the Republican Party?

    To what degree during the Hagel hearing were Southern politicians from formerly Confederate states, like Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and David Vitter, acting under the control of Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud? How far would they be willing to go to betray their own country on behalf of Israel? Would they be willing to push Americans into even more disastrous foreign wars like the Iraq War? Instigate another US Civil War? Support the creation of a totalitarian American police state?

    During the Hagel hearing, these politicians gave the impression that there is no limit on the extent of their pro-Israel extremism.

    This is the political/cultural alliance we are looking at:

    1. Christian Armageddonists
    2. Christian Zionists
    3. Likud Zionists
    4. neo-Confederates
    5. neoconservatives
    6. Southern fundamentalists

    The main factor that ties them together: Bible-based ethnic nationalism (which usually includes racism, militarism, violence, xenophobia, etc.)

    • seanmcbride on February 2, 2013, 9:15 am

      In this alliance of Northern neoconservatives with Southern fundamentalists, one always notices that the neocons are much wealthier, much better educated, much smarter, much more articulate and much better organized than the fundamentalists. The neocons are in the driver’s seat, writing scripts for Christian Zionists, putting words in their mouths and guiding their gullible minds.

      The neocons have forged Southern fundamentalists into a formidable political weapon on behalf of the Israeli government.

      • philweiss on February 2, 2013, 12:43 pm

        I think you patronize Lindsey Graham who whatever his ideological depravity puts on a brilliant show as a prosecutor. He’s a smart guy. Though yes I would like to know why he believes what he believes

      • seanmcbride on February 2, 2013, 12:56 pm


        Lindsey Graham may be a relatively smart guy, but he is not playing in the same league as the Ivy League doctorates who dominate the Northern neoconservative establishment.

        We’ve already got deep into this topic here:

        Regarding Lindsey’s ideological/cultural background and framework, this is interesting:


        It’s pretty obvious what’s up here: Graham is appealing to the Christian evangelicals of John Hagee‘s sort – the fanatical “Christian Zionists” – who go around waving Israeli flags and believe a war with Iran is prophesied in the Bible. That may sound like a marginal group, but it isn’t: millions believe this, and South Carolina has more than its share. Sen. Graham has a record in these circles: he’s appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the principal outlet for Hagee’s propaganda, several times, and – more ominously – when Israeli “tourism” minister Benny Elon made a special trip to the US to discuss the prospect of forcibly “resettling” the Palestinians to Jordan, Graham met with him to plot strategy.

        END QUOTE

      • American on February 2, 2013, 2:16 pm

        “puts on a brilliant show as a prosecutor”…..Phil

        Calling Graham’s ‘show’ brilliant as a ‘prosecutor’ is a joke….that would have never worked in a real court where the accused ‘s ‘defense’ also gets a shot at the jury and at the prosecutors evidence.
        Graham would have been great at the Salem Witch Trials though…where if the accused wouldn’t admit to being a witch they were drowned and if they did admit to being a witch they were still drowned.

      • annie on February 2, 2013, 4:07 pm

        Graham is appealing to the Christian evangelicals of John Hagee‘s sort

        you don’t say!

        At a gathering Monday for more than 400 Christian activists from 46 states who came to Washington for the anti-Hagel lobbying, Hagee revealed that he had asked Cornyn to oppose Hagel weeks before President Obama had made the nomination public.

        “The next morning, Senator Cornyn called the Washington Post and made a courageous stand to oppose the Hagel nomination, which is detrimental both to America and Israel,” Hagee said.

        and who is CUFI taking their marching orders from?

        (hagee introduces netanyahu @ 6 minutes but the opening act is stellar)

      • Ellen on February 2, 2013, 4:50 pm

        Phil, I think you are giving him a bit too much credit. He might be relatively intelligent (albeit with NO character or humanity) but he came across as a terrible prosecutor.

        Prosecutors I know found his show pathetic. He did not come across as credible, but faux. A good prosecutor looks his subject in the eye, speaks slowly and clearly. Let’s statements drop like bombs in the room. Gives his subject a chance to speak and to walk into new traps. A prosecutor would never squirm in his chair as Lindsay did the entire time.

        Hagel did not squirm, but Lindsay did. Take a look at the video.

        Lindsay looked like he was just reading the script that was given to him as fast as he could. No real prosecutor would call his show “brilliant.”

    • seanmcbride on February 2, 2013, 10:31 am

      We need to know the names and affiliations of the specific individuals who prepared the pro-Israel attacks on Chuck Hagel for Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, David Vitter and other members of that closely coordinated wolf pack. What precisely are their links to AIPAC and other organs of the Israel lobby?

      (What we need are well-researched *lists* to connect the dots and to see what is really going on.)

      This discussion can also be pursued here:

  55. MRW on February 2, 2013, 2:32 pm

    Send postcards to DC. One written missive has the weight of 10,000 letters, in their view.

  56. Ruth Tenne on February 4, 2013, 11:47 am

    The hold of the Israel/Jewish Lobby on American politics has been fully exposed in a seminal book by Mearsheimer and Walt – the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (2007) In my review of the book , I noted the full extent of the aid which the United States consistently offers to israel – as detailed by Mearsheimer and Walt . The authors also demonstrated the “morale” rationale of this consistent aid noting that ” While Jews in the Middle East are viewed by the American public as victims, the Arabs, and especially the Palestinians, are regarded as the victimizers, bearing a marked similarity to the anti-Semite who persecuted Jews in Europe. The image of weak Israel surrounded by strong hostile Arab states is carefully nurtured by Israeli leaders “but the opposite is closer to the truth” – contend the authors. In contrast to prevailing views, Israel enjoyed military superiority in all its wars against the Arab states, and the 1967 which was portrayed as a war for survival by the Israeli leadership was, according to the late Israeli Premier – Begin, a “war of choice” in which “Israel purposely decided to attack Egypt “.
    However, M&W contend that “both the moral and strategic arguments could not account for America’s remarkable relationships with the Jewish state”… and “therefore something else must be behind the striking pattern of the ever-increasing US support”.
    This “something else” is the Israel lobby which is consisting about 75 organizations, mostly Jewish,” whose declared purpose is to encourage the US government and the American public to provide material aid to Israel and to support its government’s policies”.
    The core of the lobby is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti Defamation League (ADL) and the Christian United for Israel (CUFI). From a pre-1967 low-budget operation AIPAC has become a massive organization with more than 150 employees and an annual budget of estimated 60 million dollars. The recent drift of the lobby to the right has been reinforced by the emergence of the Neoconservatives who believe in the role of the military in shaping the world and are committed to the Israeli state which they consider as “a key tenet of Neoconservatism”. Another significant group is the Christian Zionists who believe that the return of Jews to Palestine is the key event that will lead to the Second Coming of Christ, and whose avowed purpose is to encourage support for Israel.

    M&W have courageously stood up to the strong pressure by leading members of the Israel Lobby who tried to ban the publication of the book and hounded both authors thereafter. Sadly, Hagel buckled to the pressure applied by Israel’s friends in the Senate and predictably changed his past (flimsy) criticism of Israel to a full support for the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East” and “US’s best ally” (or rather in Netanyahu memorable words “US is Israel’s best ally “)

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