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Hagel’s purported rivals for Defense job, Flournoy and Carter, are neocon-friendly militarists

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Little news on the Chuck Hagel front. One friend says he’s hoping for Obama to announce his nomination to be Defense Secretary tomorrow. But who knows. Some developments on the mighty power struggle that is the Hagel balloon:

Outgoing congressman Barney Frank “strongly” opposes Chuck Hagel becoming Defense Secretary in the Huffington Post:

Outgoing Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced on Monday that he “strongly opposes” the potential nomination of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary, due to anti-gay comments the former Republican senator from Nebraska once made.

MJ Rosenberg is cynical: “Barney Frank opposes Hagel. Big surprise. Never deviated from lobby on anything.” Rosenberg says all the Hagel homophobia attacks are cover for Israel. He parodies them:

Alan Dershowitz opposes Hagel: As a law prof, I will not tolerate his views on Marbury v. Madison. He must not be Secretary of Defense.

AIPAC working round the clock to stop Hagel. “Gay rights has always been our top priority. Our first loyalty, even.”

[Update: But two weeks ago in Politico, Frank had a different line:

[Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is Jewish, said he did not object to what has become one big point of contention about Hagel: an allusion to the “Jewish lobby,” in reference to advocates for Israel in Congress and elsewhere. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having Portuguese lobbies, Jewish lobbies, Greek lobbies,” Frank said. “I think he’d be very good. … You need someone intelligent to help cut that budget.”

[“That was 12 days ago,” says Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy. “What, exactly, changed about Hagel’s 1998 remarks in the last twelve
days to make them more egregious? What changed about his voting record in Congress in the last twelve days to make it more egregious?”]

Other legislators: Oklahoma Republican Senator Coburn has come out against Hagel, citing “statements” he’s made, while Illinois Senator Dick Durbin seems open to a nomination.

Meantime, Rightweb, which maintains dossiers on militarists in foreign policy, has just posted new profiles of Hagel’s purported rivals Ashton Carter and Michele Flournoy. They are both neocon-friendly; the dossiers remind us that neoconservatism is deeply engrained in the D.C. establishment, including Chez Obama.

The profile of Carter makes him out to be an Iran hawk with deep ties to the defense industry. “Carter has been adamant in his insistence that the United States consider the use of force in its efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons programs.”

He was part of a 2008 report on Iran, coauthored by a bunch of neoconservatives, that Jim Lobe characterized as a “roadmap to war.” Notice the coauthors from the neoconservative Hudson Institute and American Enterprise Institute, and Dennis Ross, too: 

Carter was one of several future Obama appointees who served on a Michael Makovsky-ledteam that approved a controversial report on Iran published by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). A lead drafter of the report—titled “Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development”—was the American Enterprise Institute fellow Michael Rubin, an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. policies in the Middle East. Other participants included Henry Sokolski; WINEP scholar and Obama adviser Dennis Ross; Stephen Rademaker, the husband of AEI’s Danielle Pletka who worked under John Bolton in the State Department; and Kenneth Weinstein, CEO of the Hudson Institute.[12]

The report argued that despite Iran’s assurances to the contrary, its nuclear program aims to develop nuclear weapons and is thus a threat to “U.S. and global security, regional stability, and the international nonproliferation regime,”[13] a conclusion that contrasted sharply with the CIA’s November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which found that Iran had put its efforts to develop nuclear warheads on hold.[14] The report stated, “As a new president prepares to occupy the Oval Office, the Islamic Republic’s defiance of its Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards obligations and United Nations Security Council resolutions will be among the greatest foreign policy and national security challenges confronting the nation.” In contrast to many realist assessments of the situation, the report contended that “Cold War deterrence” is not persuasive in the context of Iran’s program, due in large measure to the “Islamic Republic’s extremist ideology.” Thus, even a peaceful uranium enrichment program would place the entire Middle East region “under a cloud of ambiguity given uncertain Iranian capacities and intentions.”[15]

The profile of Michele Flournoy at rightweb says she is the darling of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists. Notably, in 2003 she was a contributor to a study by the Progressive Policy Institute that mirrored the militarist projections of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century. “Like the Cold War, the struggle we face today is likely to last not years but decades.” PPI is home to Josh Block, the tireless Israel lobbyist first at AIPAC now at the Israel Project (who seeks to smear Hagel supporters as anti-Semites; “who’s next, Cynthia McKinney’s father”– a reference to a claim that Jews defeated McKinney in congressional race in 2006). Here’s a portion of the Flournoy report– notice that we are married to Israel, notice that she was far more militant than Hagel, who argued for negotiation, in speaking to the Atlantic Council:

The conservative Times of Israel reported in December 2012 that talk of Flournoy’s nomination had been “welcomed by conservative and pro-Israel groups,” in part because of Flournoy’s familiarity with Israeli security issues like the Iron Dome missile shield, regional arms sales, “and the importance of Israel’s military edge over its neighbors.”..

Numerous right-wing and neoconservative actors have also promoted Flournoy’s candidacy because of their opposition to leading nominee Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator known for his bipartisanship as well as his criticism of one-sided U.S. support for Israel.

Reported the New Republic in late December 2012: “Flournoy—the Pentagon’s former under secretary of defense for policy, and the head of Obama’s transition team for the Department of Defense—has become the name that conservatives have floated as an alternative to Obama’s rumored pick to replace Leon Panetta: Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, whom Republicans have never forgiven for his role as one of the Iraq war’s greatest critics and his occasional endorsements of Democrats. Flournoy’s apparent supporters now include the Weekly Standard’Bill Kristol (who essentially argued that she wouldn’t be as objectionable as Hagel), former George W. Bush administration Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and [Mitt Romney] foreign policy adviser Dan Senor.

Although she is sometimes characterized as a “liberal realist” who seeks to reign in the United States’ global ambitions, Flournoy also believes that the U.S. military “is a force for good abroad” and has pushed to maintain American forces in places like Iraq, In a December 2012 speech to the Atlantic Council, she warned against cutbacks to counterinsurgency planning as the war in Afghanistan winds down. “We have to be careful not to fall into the Vietnam Syndrome where we believe we’ll never do that again,” she said.

Comparing her Atlantic Council speech to that of Chuck Hagel, one reporter wrote: “Flournoy spoke at an Atlantic Council forum a day after another possible choice for Pentagon boss, former Republican Senator and current Atlantic Council chairman Chuck Hagel, addressed the same group. The difference in approaches was illuminating. Hagel, a former member of the Senate committees on foreign relations and intelligence, emphasized a diplomatic approach to emerging global threats through ‘engagement.’ Flournoy, a former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, focused on the military.

Foreign policy hawks have frequently commented on Flournoy’s hawkish tendencies…

Regarding the U.S.-Israeli relationship, Flournoy told the Jerusalem Post that it was “like a marriage,” and that despite some differences over policy, America’s commitment to Israel’s security was “unshakable.”

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35 Responses

  1. Bumblebye
    January 1, 2013, 12:36 pm

    In order to avoid the issue which is their raison d’etre, lo! AIPAC operatives are transmogrified into GAYPAC operatives!

    • Krauss
      January 1, 2013, 4:49 pm

      The most sickening part is how some liberals have been useful idiots of the neocons.

      Rosa Brooks, the daughter of Barbara Ehrenreich no less, has been one of them leading the charge. She’s done it at the Foreign Policy website, headed by the notorious Likudnik David Rothkopf who has tried to, as recently as a few months ago, to even deny the existance of the Israel Lobby since Romney didn’t win and apparently Sheldon Adelson is the only person in the U.S. promoting Israel’s interests over America’s, according to Rothkopf.

      Now, Brooks was basically saying, pick her because she is a woman. But I started to snoop a little. Her views on Israel are very interesting. On the one hand she sort of washes her hands of it all, but on the other she simply refuses to acknowledge the racism and colonalism inherent, instead opting for a wishy-washy “no one side is at fault in this conflict”.

      Maybe it’s just me, but that sure as hell sounds as the “shoot-and-cry” response of a “Liberal” Zionist. Maybe an exhausted one, but one of them nonetheless.

      Of course, I think that her main reasons for pushing Flournoy is because she worked for her, and she is a woman. But it is simply hard not to escape to notice her very sympathetic views to Israel. Is Brooks pushing a similar tactic like the neocons, altough with less cynicism and more genuine division? I don’t think Israel is her main concern, but it would be foolish to completely dismiss it as a factor.

      Nonetheless, as MJ Rosenberg tweeted a week ago or so, beware of identity politics! Just look at the difference of progressivism between Chris Hayes, a straight white guy, and Maddow a female gay person. Yet who is most progressive on I/P?

      • Kathleen
        January 1, 2013, 9:50 pm

        Maddow has always marched lock step with the I lobby on middle east issues. Always said that if the Palestinians were all gay Rachel Maddow would be all over that issue. She is terribly and pathetically selective in her concerns about human rights and justice. She is a phony on human rights issues. Chris Hayes is consistent, brave and has been going where other mainstreamers refuse to go. As well as Glenn Greenwald who is steadfast in regard to human rights issues.

        Maddow, Barney Frank march in lock step with the Israeli firsters. Real hypocrites Maddow and Frank….Human rights phonies

  2. seanmcbride
    January 1, 2013, 1:22 pm

    More great reporting of the type that the New York Times and Washington Post deliberately and systematically censor. The mainstream media want to keep Americans in the dark about the backgrounds and agendas of many of our political leaders and officials.

    Barney Frank — eager to maintain his progressive credentials and image — has always been shifty on Israel, emitting mixed and confusing signals. He is clearly a “liberal Zionist” — with everything that term connotes.

    Attacking Chuck Hagel over gay issues is bad for the gay lobby — one gets the impression that many gay activists understand this. But for some of them, loyalty to Israel overrides their best political instincts.

    • Rusty Pipes
      Rusty Pipes
      January 1, 2013, 3:50 pm

      Barney Frank is not just a vocal supporter of the Israel Lobby, he has attacked people who have criticized the American military. Long before the info about Abu Ghraib was leaked, Frank attacked CNN’s Eason Jordan for contending that US troops had targeted journalists in Iraq.

      • Kathleen
        January 1, 2013, 9:51 pm

        Frank’s anti Palestinian legislation votes line up with the I lobby all of the time. And his let’s go get Iran votes

    • Les
      January 1, 2013, 4:43 pm

      Let us not forget Frank’s support for a Presidential pardon for Jonathan Pollard.

    • Rusty Pipes
      Rusty Pipes
      January 4, 2013, 11:54 am

      Then again, maybe Barney Frank is still carrying water for the Israel Lobby because he wants to remain a political player. He’s asked Gov. Patrick to appoint him Senator in Kerry’s place.

  3. doug
    January 1, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Sad isn’t it. Neocons and neolibs may differ on all sorts of domestic issues but not on Israel. Nope, that’s the essential glue.

    But hey, what lobby? Nothing to see here, move along.

  4. Cliff
    January 1, 2013, 1:51 pm

    Yep, all the hasbarats have been copy-pasting Flourisomething’s creds from Wikipedia to filibuster the debate.

    Just another pro-Israel neocon.

  5. MRW
    January 1, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Read Gil Troy’s piece in JPost today:
    A political mugging: Israel sandbagged over the Hagel trial balloon and its democratic elections

    During what should be the season of Christmas cheer, Israel and the pro-Israel community are being mugged politically. In the media hall of mirrors that magnifies straw men into monsters, Israel’s critics are using a few personal attacks against Barack Obama’s possible nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, to damn the Zionist movement, it seems. And in another, even more perverse inversion, Israel’s frustrating, uninspiring, yet free and democratic elections are being used by many, including American Jews, to declare themselves “fed up” with Israel.

    The Hagel Finagel reflects the political sleight of hand being used repeatedly – and effectively – to intimidate America’s pro-Israel community. Chuck Hagel is a former Republican Senator from Nebraska who nurtured his reputation as an independent free-lancer on foreign policy. He abandoned Republicans by condemning the Iraq war and he broke the Senate consensus by often expressing skepticism when AIPAC and other pro-Israel organizations solicited legislative letters and resolutions. Those qualities, which Obama finds appealing, are controversial – and should be debated if Obama nominates Hagel. And in our Google-addled, zero-tolerance, polarized political world that scrutinizes every nominee’s public statements, Hagel’s comments about what he once called the “Jewish lobby” but more frequently considered the heavyhanded “Israel lobby,” demand scrutiny.

    Israel sandbagged? Oh sweet victimhood. Look to Kristol. He did it. Is there absolutely no concept of moral responsibility for your actions in Pro-Israel life?

    [I pity the McGill Students who have this mind teaching them history.]

    • Shmuel
      January 1, 2013, 5:13 pm

      Read Gil Troy’s piece in JPost today

      Thanks, MRW, and a happy new year to you too ;-)

    • Rusty Pipes
      Rusty Pipes
      January 1, 2013, 6:12 pm

      Let’s hope his courses are not required for the major. Otherwise, they have to be graded by someone who publishes tripe like:

      The Hagel Finagel reflects the political sleight of hand being used repeatedly – and effectively – to intimidate America’s pro-Israel community”

      On the one hand, we are told that the vast majority of Americans support Israel, yet we are to believe at the same time that the nomination of Hagel is a tactic used to intimidate those who are pro-Israel — unless, of course, Troy is using “America’s pro-Israel community” as a euphemism for that tiny minority of Americans who compose the not-easily-intimidated Israel Lobby. But he only mentions the Israel Lobby in passing after a major disclaimer (as in, since every public statement by every nominee is scrutinized, that one will have to be scrutinized too):

      in our Google-addled, zero-tolerance, polarized political world that scrutinizes every nominee’s public statements, Hagel’s comments about what he once called the “Jewish lobby” but more frequently considered the heavyhanded “Israel lobby,” demand scrutiny.”

      But I think the best quote from a McGill professor is: “he broke the Senate consensus by often expressing skepticism when AIPAC and other pro-Israel organizations solicited legislative letters and resolutions. Those qualities, which Obama finds appealing, are controversial” (actually, Hagel did not express skepticism, he called the resolutions “stupid”). You have to worry about whether McGill has tenured a man with so little respect for intellectual inquiry.

      • piotr
        January 2, 2013, 1:04 am

        “used repeatedly — and effectively — to intimidate America’s pro-Israel community”.

        But what a shy and timid lot this community is! If a resolution circulated by AIPAC gets less than 90 (out of 100 signatures) in the Senate, there is a feeling of persecution.

  6. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    January 1, 2013, 3:28 pm

    I read some articles about or by Ashton Carter and Michele Flournoy before the Holidays. They are both highly intelligent and highly unimaginative. Flournoy is so “inside-the-box” she’s probably trapped in its labyrinth. Carter’s harder to read than Flournoy, but both would be heartily welcomed by the Militant Zionist Expansion Lobby.

  7. tombishop
    January 1, 2013, 4:01 pm

    Given how Obama “compromised” (really caved) on his adamant opposition to the continuation of the Bush tax cuts after the election, can we really have much hope he won’t cave on this. He is not paying attention to those who elected him or what polls show. Who is he listening to?

  8. Hostage
    January 1, 2013, 5:09 pm

    They are both neocon-friendly; the dossiers remind us that neoconservatism is deeply engrained in the D.C. establishment, including Chez Obama.

    Well yeah. We’re talking about the same Congress that adopted Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It permits Obama to use the military to strip citizens of due process rights and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers. Obama’s administration has vigorously defended that practice and has even appealed a permanent injunction issued by the Southern District Court of New York which invalidated Section 1021(b)(2). Only a bunch of total despots would have ever suggested such a law, let alone appealed the decision of the Court which acted properly to protect basic civil and constitutional rights.

    • ritzl
      January 1, 2013, 7:50 pm

      Thanks yet again, Hostage. It’s the second foul that gets caught, or in this case, enlightens. This admin could have let it go, but Obama always seems to aggressively press the case for LESS constitutional rights.

      It’s just so hard to understand, self-proclaimed Constitutional lawyer and all that. Who’s/what’s driving this guy (…don’t bother)?

  9. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    January 1, 2013, 6:06 pm

    mad defense contracting in ol’ Barney’s district, he wants that money in Massachusetts. Gotta remember that Hagel is still a regional politician, the East Coasters don’t want their money going to Nebraska and the Midwest.

    Weird that a president who supposedly opposes war would have such militarists as potential appointees. Must be “The Lobby.”

  10. Avi_G.
    January 1, 2013, 6:37 pm

    I had no idea so many pundits cared about gays and gay rights.

    Now in all seriousness, the cynicism that envelops their using as cover anything from gay rights to the two-state solution is just appalling.

    At least the Holocaust was spared this time around. Anti-Semitism, however, didn’t fare so well.

  11. Keith
    January 1, 2013, 7:41 pm

    PHIL- “…neoconservatism is deeply engrained in the D.C. establishment, including Chez Obama.”

    You bet it is, and this is the point that I have been trying to make. Obama is a closet neocon warmonger President. Neoliberal, too.

  12. Blank State
    Blank State
    January 1, 2013, 8:01 pm

    “….are neocon-friendly militarists”

    And this is suprising??? Such an assertion is merely a statement of fact about why one or the other will land the nomination. For those of you that haven’t figured it out yet, let me hand you a dose of reality…..

    Obama is a fraud. Partisan politics is a sham designed to create the illusion of opposing political factions, an illusion created for the distinct purpose of dividing the citizenry, rendering them impotent to arrive at a common concensus. “Representative government” is a lie. Neither party represents the interests of its so-called constituency.

    Obama, when it comes to the Middle East, military adventurism, and domestic infringment on individual rights (justified by the so-called GWOT). differs not an iota from that embarrassing monkey that preceded him in soiling the rugs in the Oval Office.

    Hagel was just a smokescreen. A disingenuous gesture, designed to once again bring the timeworn issue of “anti-semitism” to the forefront, so the slobbering mis-informed ignorant masses could nod and mumble about the poor abused Jews and how important Israel is to God and country.

    • January 2, 2013, 1:24 am

      Blank State: Nice to see some sanity outside the canonization choir.

      “A disingenuous gesture, designed to once again bring the timeworn issue of “anti-semitism” to the forefront…” Yes, but it definitely backfired. Bar some last-minute surprise, some measure of damage to the Zionists is certain. Even better, perhaps, if the guy isn’t nominated.

  13. yourstruly
    January 1, 2013, 8:03 pm

    a massive redistribution of wealth and power?


    once along came palestine, just & free

  14. American
    January 1, 2013, 9:42 pm

    The empire strikes back……letter of support for Hagel to O done as a ad in the WP.

    More Support for Hagel

    A new letter in support of former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination signed by a familiar list of eminences was published in the form of an ad in the front section of the Washington Post. Unlike other letters, this one specifically addresses the Israel-Palestinian conflict with a strong endorsement of the principles that underlie the so-called “Clinton parameters”. And, in a clear swipe at neo-conservatives, in particular, it asserts that attempts by some to claim that those who support these principles are either anti-Israel or anti-Semitic are “unacceptable.”

    Signers include former Oklahoma Sen. David Boren, who is Hagel’s co-chair on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, former Republican Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum-Baker, former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart, former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills (George H. W. Bush), former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and UN Amb. Thomas Pickering, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski (Jimmy Carter) and Brent Scowcroft (Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush), former CentCom Commander, Gen. William “Fox” Fallon, former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci (Ronald Reagan), and former World Bank Chairman James Wolfensohn. Of course, most of these have signed other letters in support of Hagel, but Boren’s signature is particularly significant given his long history in the right-of-center Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), one of the central principles of which was solid support for Israel. Wolfensohn is also significant given his role after his departure from the Bank as the Quartet’s representative in dealing with Israel-Palestinian issue. He quit in frustration after only a year in 2006 and was succeeded by the egregiously cynical Tony Blair.

    Here is the letter

    • CloakAndDagger
      January 2, 2013, 3:12 am

      Note, however, that the letter itself is still an expression of fealty to Israel and only scolds those that would frame Hagel as anti-Israel.

      • American
        January 2, 2013, 9:22 am

        Yea, I noted that. It did make him sound”pro Israel”…..but we know he’s +&- Israel.

  15. Kathleen
    January 1, 2013, 9:56 pm

    If Obama nominates Hagel and stands behind him the whole way we will know the earth has move under our feet and as a nation we are standing on more solid and sane ground. Call your Reps this week in support of a Hagel nomination. Contact the White House. Keep contacting

  16. DICKERSON3870
    January 2, 2013, 3:03 am

    RE: “Hagel’s purported rivals for Defense job, Flournoy and Carter, are neocon-friendly militarists”

    MY COMMENT: It’s time for Obama to show us who’s the boss, him or William (Bill) Kristol (f/k/a “Dan Quayle’s brain”)!
    If Obama folds (caves in) on Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, he will pretty much spend the next four years as a lame-duck president (U.S. President in name only).

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

    ROBERT NAIMAN’S PETITION: President Obama, we have your back. We support your choice of Chuck Hagel to serve as the next Secretary of Defense.
    TO SIGN –

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

  17. mcohen
    January 2, 2013, 6:35 am

    Alfred E. Neuman would make a great defence secretary

    i/p conflict-what me worry
    fiscal cliff -what me worry
    netanyahoo bomb diagram-what me worry
    chuck (don,t roll )bagel-what me worry
    p (in a) weiss-what me worry
    marc (my words) ellis-what me worry

  18. Kathleen
    January 2, 2013, 9:31 am

    Huffington Post moderators would not allow the link to the petition in support of Chuck Hagel’s nomination to go up under a comment that I tried to post under Barney Franks piece standing against the Hagel nomination. Telling

  19. piotr
    January 2, 2013, 9:38 am

    I actually do not see any evidence that Flournoy is a “muscular liberal”. The only quotations I have seen would hint the opposite, but it is an art of insiderism to avoid being too clear. Also, Washington insiders and think tankers are not an under-represented minority.

  20. Citizen
    January 2, 2013, 3:12 pm

    Flournoy supported Bill Krystol’s call for more Army & Marine soldiers in 2005. To fight the wars they believed US needed to fight in the ME. She’s a perfect tool, intelligent, educated in military processing of information. Any street hustler would find her an easy mark. And no skin in the game except her career as academic military consultant.

  21. Chu
    January 4, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Obama needs to elect Hagel. It would be a great cunning political move. Watching all the Republicans trash Hagel would be timeless.

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