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Which will prevail– latest neocon charge on Hagel over Israel, or D.C.’s fatigue over delay?

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Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel, from Fox News

The delaying of Chuck Hagel’s confirmation in the Senate last Thursday gave neoconservatives an opportunity to dig up further evidence against him, we were told; and in the hours after that filibuster a new claim has emerged against him: that during a Q&A after a 2007 speech he described the State Department as an “adjunct” of the Israeli government. (Something less than what Saturday Night Live said of the US Senate…)

Will the latest charge be enough to sink Hagel? Or will the merits of the alleged statement be debated seriously, at a time when the United States can’t lift its finger against the Israeli settlements? I say No to both questions. Everyone is now so sick of the entire Hagel charade and so wants it to be done with, that the latest allegation will bounce aside. I doubt that Democrats will take this on; they will be satisfied by Chuck Hagel’s Jan. 15 assurances to Chuck Schumer that he is on Israel’s side forever.

Oh and, supporting my view, Lindsey Graham apparently accepts Hagel’s denial of the allegation:

Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told “Fox News Sunday” that he has accepted a new denial from Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) regarding offensive statements the nominee for Defense secretary allegedly made about Israel.

Hagel was said to have told a Rutgers University audience in 2007 that the State Department was controlled by Israel.

The developments:

Haaretz says the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League want a further review of Chuck Hagel’s record in light of the 2007 quotation:  

Two mainstream American Jewish groups called for further review of Chuck Hagel’s record in light of an account of a 2007 speech in which he allegedly said the State Department acted as an “adjunct” of Israel’s foreign ministry…

“Chuck Hagel has served this country, and his state, with distinction, as we have had the privilege to tell him in person,” the American Jewish Committee said…  “But in light of his complex record in the Senate and controversial statements he has made since his public service on strategic and political affairs – notably grappling with the range of pressing Middle East issues – AJC believes that further Senate deliberation is called for before any final vote is taken.”

The speech was reported first by George Ajjan, New Jersey blogger and friend to this site; later picked up by the Washington Free Beacon:

Meanwhile, a 2007 speech then-Sen. Hagel delivered at Rutgers University in New Jersey as he tested the waters for a presidential run is drawing fresh scrutiny.

Hagel said the U.S. Department of State was an adjunct of the Israeli foreign minister’s office, according to a contemporaneous report of the event.

Republican political consultant and Hagel supporter George Ajjan wrote about the March 2, 2007, speech on his website the following day, writing a description “point by point through some of the more important elements of his speech.”

Point six“:

“The State Department has become adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office…”

[Ajjan wrote] “Wow. A very bold statement by Hagel bound to further raise the ire of the ‘Jewish Lobby’ (yawn…), but it does express his strong belief in a comprehensive solution to problems in the Middle East. Hagel mentioned this theme several times – comprehensive, he said, in the sense that all tools should be used to achieve American foreign policy objectives (diplomatic, political, economic, and military), but also comprehensive in the James Baker sense of addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict holistically as both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have proved too lazy and too incompetent to do.”

Reached by phone, Ajjan confirmed his 2007 account of the event, saying he was “taking notes as [Hagel] was speaking.”

Bill Maher says Hagel was right, in a conversation with yet another neocon on his show (thanks to CitizenC):

Jamie Weinstein, senior editor of the Daily Caller, argued that there were still legitimate questions that senators had about Hagel.

“Just yesterday, there was a new speech that they believe in which during the question and answer at Rutgers University, he claimed that the State Department was controlled by the Israeli government,” he argued.

“Based on every statement I’ve heard out of any Republican in the last two years, the Israelis are controlling our government,” Maher quipped.

Meantime, the liberal press is deriding the Hagel standoff as damaging to US security.

The Week:

With all the challenges the Pentagon faces, including looming budget cuts, “I just think it’s important to have a secretary of defense in place,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), one of the two Republicans who’ve committed to voting for Hagel.

The damage from this standoff could be more far-reaching than the temporary water-treading at the Pentagon, though. The GOP filibuster and breakdown in longstanding comity on defense issues, especially in the Senate Armed Serviced Committee “is way over the line — disgraceful!” military expert and former SASC staffer Charles Stevenson tells The Atlantic‘s James Fallows. Republicans are poisoning the Senate but “also hurting the institution of the office of Secretary of Defense and thus undermining our system of civilian control.” This pitiful hounding of Hagel shows that “the Republican Party has abrogated its role — really, abandoned any interest — in shaping or seriously discussing American foreign policy,” says Fred Kaplan at Slate.

And Gail Collins:

When it comes to the Hagel nomination, McCain is supposed to be the Republican point man. If we were on a Carnival cruise, he would be the captain. A captain who got on the P.A. and announced that the ship was going to Mexico. No, Alabama! No, in a circle! Or maybe we’ll just stay dead in the water until a week from Tuesday and see what happens.

Lindsey Graham evidently shares the fatigue. The show is over, says the Hill:

But Graham indicated in the Sunday interview that he will support ending debate on Hagel when the Senate returns from recess next week even though he considers him “one of the most radical and unqualified choices” to be Defense chief.

Graham said that despite his objections, President Obama deserves deference to choose his Cabinet.

“I give him great discretion,” he said.


P.S. Former vice president Dick Cheney disparages Hagel on Charlie Rose:

So you’ve got problems with Obama’s policies—and his nominations of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan.

With respect to Hagel and Brennan, just in the last week their performances in front of the committees that have to confirm them have been pretty poor. And that’s not my judgment. That’s the judgment of senators on both sides of the aisle. When I think of a secretary of defense for a Democratic administration … Sam Nunn. He’s a tremendous talent, enormous experience. Chuck doesn’t have those credentials. He doesn’t have that stature. I think [Obama] wants a Republican to be the foil, if you will, for what he wants to do to the Defense Department, which is to do serious damage to our military capabilities.

If you were in the Senate, would you vote against confirming Hagel?

I would.

Would you put a hold on his nomination?

I’d try to.

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

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69 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    February 17, 2013, 11:49 am

    Why do any of these MSM outlets have such a lying blood soaked creep like Cheney on their programs? The man is a proven liar, a five time coward running from military service, an individual responsible for tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Why would anyone listen to this person or have them on their program? If the Bush administration war criminals are not going to be put on trial here in the states or on trial ad the Hague at the very least put them in a dark closet with no access to the MSM to continue to share their negative and deadly views. Isolate them for the safety of humanity.

    Is there a transcript for that Hagel question and answer issue that the anti Hagte group has stirred up. One persons notes certainly should not be considered evidence. Even though Hagel’s alleged statement is the truth.

    Phil this morning on Chris Hayes Saturday show he did the oddest comparison I have ever heard him make comparing the fight/disagreements in US education policies to the disagreements in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. UMMMM unless I have missed it don’t know anyone who has had their homes demolished , been totally humiliated, been killed (recently) in the Education fight here in the US as there have been in the I/P conflict. Odd comparison.

    • American
      February 17, 2013, 12:08 pm

      “comparing the fight/disagreements in US education policies to the disagreements in the Israeli Palestinian conflict”…..kathleen

      That is weird. What could have been his purpose in that? Was he trying to /told to tamp down on the bloodiness of a oppressive and illegal occupation issue by putting it on the level of a ‘policy disagreement”? Or since Israel wasn’t the topic of the program was he trying to keep mention of it alive.

      • Kathleen
        February 17, 2013, 1:20 pm

        It was the oddest comparison I have heard Chris Hayes say. Not connected and not a fair comparison at all.

        One of the things that Chris Hayes did awhile back while talking about how the press likes to make fun out of things that VP Biden says yet Hayes does that quite frequently…make fun of things Biden says. Like the comparison that Hayes did today…where did he pull that one from?

        But the education discussion was a great one as well as all of Hayes programs

    • MLE
      February 17, 2013, 1:15 pm

      Because Cheney has a book to sell?

      • Citizen
        February 17, 2013, 2:43 pm

        Both Cheney and Rove believe that Obama picked Hagel to make the medicine go down, the prescription being cut down on discretionary spending including the military. Even sequestration would only cut down on future slated spending on the Pentagon. I have yet to hear anyone on mainstream TV cable news (where Dick n Jane get their info) even question how much our government spends on military, nobody pointing out we spend more than the next dozen big military spender combined, most of who are big allies of ours in the first place–only China & Russia are not. Dick and Jane need to see an image map in primetime of just how much we spend compared to the other big state spenders on military.

    • jimmy
      February 20, 2013, 10:25 pm

      ya know kath,,,I post over at huffpo..when cheney got his heart thing a year or so ago….people at huffpo wished him good luck…I could not beleive it……imp one of the worst human ever

      • thetumta
        February 22, 2013, 8:46 pm


  2. American
    February 17, 2013, 11:54 am

    Hagel for President 2016.
    Maybe Americans will have decided they’re tired of outsourcing and are ready to run their own government by then.

    • Kathleen
      February 17, 2013, 1:22 pm

      Have to run as an Independent. Could never get through the nomination process in either party. But I think he could carve it out as an independent. I think folks are tired of any of our Reps having to back track truthful comments about Iraq, I/P issue etc. Hagel as an independent Presidential candidate would really shake up the discussion

      • Citizen
        February 17, 2013, 2:50 pm

        America is way too far gone to grasp that Hagel is the first genuine, authentic American spirit to come along with POTUS possibilities since
        JFK, or Ralph Nader; the first was assassinated, the second, doomed to the 3rd party fringe.

      • surewin
        February 17, 2013, 3:21 pm

        I’ve thought about Hagel running for President in 2016. I won’t rehearse all the logic, but I think his best odds would be to switch parties and run as a Democrat, and those are long odds.

      • Abierno
        February 17, 2013, 5:07 pm

        I disagree. Hagel’s performance during the interrogations of Cruz, McCain, and Graham was not only dignified but at no point did he take the bait of the provocations. The failure of their accusations – buried in rhetorical questions,
        only spurred ever increasing out of control behavior on the part of the Republicans. This over the top performance – which ignored the very real problems we as a nation face today, has been called out across much of the mainstream media, as well as in the not so main stream media. Also, the
        Republicans forget one of the most important demographics iin this country:
        Because we have become a nation of wars, we are a country of veterans,
        families and friends of veterans. Although their voices are rarely heard in the mainstream media, they were impressively vocal in the last election cycle.
        To see one of their own verbally harassed, defamed and slandered in these hearings – by several senators who have never served can be expected to take its toll. Finally, the Republicans forget that the last election cycle was an unstated referendum on war with Iran, a referendum which was soundly defeated. The endorsed by Netanyahu candidate lost soundly when the
        popular vote is considered. Expect to see sound bites from these hearings in the next election cycle.

      • Kathleen
        February 19, 2013, 11:49 am

        Yep Abierno received several email alerts from Vet groups that asked folks to write letters of support for Hagel in local and national papers. Lots of Vets in support of Hagel’s nomination

        In fact unless I missed it that would be an interesting focus for the team at Mondoweiss to do a post about. How many Vets are in support of the Hagel nomination

      • American
        February 17, 2013, 3:24 pm


        Hagel said in a speech some time ago that America needed a third party or alternative to the two party system in DC.

      • Kathleen
        February 18, 2013, 12:50 am

        Yes American I heard him say that here in Boulder at the World Affairs Conference in 2009. Tough to think who could would be a running mate.

      • American
        February 17, 2013, 3:31 pm

        Hagel ‘Not Happy’ With Republican Party
        – New York

        May 14, 2007 – Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, said “a credible third-party … the United States, said he planned to decide by late summer whether to run for president. “I think it shakes the system up,” he said of a third-party or independent candidacy.”

      • surewin
        February 17, 2013, 5:12 pm

        I would much prefer that the U.S. had a fluid party system as some parliamentary governments do. But even to break the party duopoly in America would require fundamental legal changes that aren’t on the horizon at the moment. Something that’s worth working for.

    • stopaipac
      February 17, 2013, 3:32 pm

      Hagel for President? Do we really want another corporate lovin’ warmonger? and believe me, he will be confirmed as Sec of War, and he will not change any significant policies. except he will probably support, like his predecessor, wider participation of even more gullible americans (women and gays) in combat operations. he has promised to support the war policies of the current administration.

    • thetumta
      February 22, 2013, 8:49 pm

      But what third party? Ron Paul aside, neither one of them are recoverable. Libertarians and Progressives need to talk. We actually disagree on very little other than responsible financial accounting.


  3. Scott
    February 17, 2013, 11:54 am

    Beinart’s book has a similar quote from a State Department official–“Sometimes I feel like we’re only working for Israel” or something, describing one of the countless diplomatic full court presses to shield Israel from critical UN resolutions. It really would be nice if Hagel could mount a truth defense and call witnesses.

    • bob
      February 17, 2013, 1:21 pm

      Beinart. The Crisis of Zionism Page 156.

      One state department official remarked that after personally lobbying 150 different foreign diplomats against the Palestinian effort, “sometimes I feel that I work for the Israeli Government.”

    • Citizen
      February 17, 2013, 3:02 pm

      Hollywood could not dream up any character better than Hagel for a movie on the last American hero before America’s fall.

      • Qualtrough
        February 17, 2013, 9:59 pm

        I think they could. They could dream up a character who held fast to his beliefs rather than deny them.

        Even so, Hagel would possibly be an improvement, but puleeze everyone, remember the high hopes you had for Obama?

  4. mijj
    February 17, 2013, 11:55 am

    didn’t Biden say: “There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel in terms of Israel’s security.” ?

    which means, where Israel leads, the US will follow. Ie. Israel is the signal, the US is the power amplifier.

    • Kathleen
      February 17, 2013, 11:57 am

      Protecting Israel’s security based on internationally recognized borders does not include attacking Iran based on unsubstantiated claims

    • seafoid
      February 17, 2013, 4:27 pm

      “didn’t Biden say: “There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel in terms of Israel’s security.” ?”

      That he had to say that is a sign of Israel’s vulnerability. ” Jewish self determination” was never feasible. It is only possible with the backing of the world’s biggest military. Some day the Beltway will cut Israel adrift. That is the way it works in the real world.

      Israel is like the boy whose 0.0001% CEO dad buys him some top model’s time as a date. Couldn’t manage it himself and of course Dad won’t be around forever. The model does it for a laugh.

      • mijj
        February 18, 2013, 10:03 pm

        seafoid > Israel is like the boy whose 0.0001% CEO dad buys him some top model’s time as a date. Couldn’t manage it himself and of course Dad won’t be around forever.

        That’s a cozy image. All we need to do is wait til Israel is all grown up and all will be right.

        But, really, the Hagel shenanigans show Israel is in control.

        If you like the analogy of the family, then a better analogy would be the Mafia family. Israel is the Mafia Don in control 0f the weapons bearing US muscle.

        We shouldn’t wait .. the time to push against Mafia Government is always *now*.

      • seafoid
        February 19, 2013, 3:37 am

        They need to mould the mindset of the 20-40 year olds in the same way they have done with the 60-70 year olds . And I can’t see that happening . Hasbara is a beaten docket.

        They can’t justify YESHA coherently to anyone now that they have killed the 2 SS.

      • sardelapasti
        February 19, 2013, 11:07 am

        seafoid – “mindset of the 20-40 year olds… They can’t justify…”
        This may be the kind of widely shared optimism that stands in the way of getting anywhere. There is no real need for the bandits to have the sincere participation of a majority of people. In fact, in the last several years Zionists have been entirely in your face, with a ‘whachugonnadoboudit’ and a sneer. For the same reason no one is getting anywhere in the US about the openly aggressive wars and continuous massacres abroad and the tightening noose of fascism at home (both decisively supported by the Zionists, BTW.)
        One thing is clear, as long as they have the military superiority and the UNSC coverage they are not going to recede. Forget your dreams of DC letting go of the Zionists –its owners. This is not going away with the slow erosion of their image but only when it becomes prohibitively expensive for them. I’m not saying image erosion is not helpful, but it is not enough by itself.

  5. Kathleen
    February 17, 2013, 11:56 am

    Would be so funny if Code Pink or someone brought a donkey to the Capital with a sign on it that said” Israeli Donkey looking for Senator McCain, Graham, Cruz’s offices. Time to really prove your commitment to Israel” One of the Code Pinkers could dress up in suit with a Netanyahu mask on. Oh the mind

    • bilal a
      February 20, 2013, 9:31 pm

      The Canada born Ted Cruz, whose mentor is Josn Bolten, a director the US Holocaust memorial Museum, son of AIPAC ally CIA senior officer Seymour Bolten; is being unpeeld, from Salon:

      “Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald makes a great comparison between Cruz and the Senate’s other Tea Party extremist with big national ambitions, Kentucky’s Rand Paul. (There are questions about Cruz’s eligibility to run for president, because he was born in Canada to American citizens, but his office insists he’s “a U.S. citizen by birth” while disavowing presidential ambitions. Have at it, birthers!) Where the unpolished Paul, a sketchily credentialed ophthalmologist, always seems a little unready for the national spotlight, the Ivy League Cruz is impeccably credentialed and varnished. A Harvard Law graduate, he clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and specialized in Supreme Court litigation before becoming Texas solicitor general in 2003. His wife works for Goldman Sachs. That’s not the biography of a working-class hero. It shouldn’t even be the biography of a Tea Party hero, except the supposedly populist revolt was always a front for the corporate elite.”

    • thetumta
      February 22, 2013, 9:13 pm

      Much better to ask McCain to sign the DOD single page form to release his military jacket to the public which he has always refused to do. He has consistently blamed the lack of access on the Pentagon. Not true, he has refused to sign off on allowing the Pentagon to release his military records? There are still Officers that want this to happen, but for how long?

      What’s in there? Could it be Court Martial referrals by his Commanding Officer in North Viet-Nam for violations of the first 10 general orders while in captivity, including dealing with the enemy. I understand the pressures of war but I wasn’t a flying taxi-cab driver with an Admiral for a father and I don’t claim to be hero. He does!

      The jacket has been copied so he has a problem, but nobody is pushing this issue other than Sydney Schanberg. I’m amazed McCain’s still viable. A major loser to his own supporters? You can sell anything in this country!

      Hej! Tumta

  6. Kathleen
    February 17, 2013, 12:04 pm

    As the Captain of a Carnival Cruise McCain is missing the iceberg straight ahead. Will he sink with this stupid charade or start to be sensible? Unless these warmongers are successful at finding some real trash on Hagel they are shedding more light on what Israel ass kissing clowns that they have been and continue to be.

  7. pabelmont
    February 17, 2013, 12:11 pm

    Why is “Hagel was said to have told a Rutgers University audience in 2007 that the State Department was controlled by Israel” viewed as an anti-Israel statement? It seems to me to be high praise. For Israel. Much better to have an entire department on your pay-roll than only a mole or two.

    Of course, it is mildly abrasive regarding DoS. Suggests dual loyalty of the entire diplomatic service. But — hey! — if there’s ~no daylight between~, why doesn’t the USA save a little money and just get rid of DoS, leaving to Israel all its functions?

  8. HarryLaw
    February 17, 2013, 12:21 pm

    So, according to George Ajjan, a Hagel supporter he did say the State Department has become adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Ministers office. Wow Graham can now call Hagel a liar as well as an anti Semite. AIPAC will be watching every vote, if the yo yos are as predictable as I think they are things do not look good for Hagel.

  9. James Canning
    February 17, 2013, 1:54 pm

    My regard for Chuck Hagel continues to rise, with the latest bits. Yes, a comprehensive deal on Israel/Palestine is needed, for the sake of the US itself.

  10. Citizen
    February 17, 2013, 2:10 pm

    Grahm on Fox News Sunday:

    Hagel’s foreign policy view is outside mainstream of Senate, Congress, and is to the left of Obama’s view. I can’t believe not one Democratic colleague is not upset enough to speak out against Hagel.

    • Castellio
      February 17, 2013, 3:37 pm

      I find it odd that any complaint of Israeli control over the US is called “left”.

      I suppose the implication is that any and all of the “right” should support Israeli control of the US.

      • James Canning
        February 17, 2013, 6:45 pm

        Good point. Especially when so much of the “support” for Israel comes from elements of the “right”.

  11. surewin
    February 17, 2013, 2:55 pm

    AJC says: “But in light of his complex record in the Senate…”

    Not good to have a complex record in the Senate. Must be simple and clear.

  12. Les
    February 17, 2013, 3:33 pm

    Hagel’s statement should remind many of the boy who said, “The emperor has no clothes.”

  13. atime forpeace
    February 17, 2013, 3:36 pm

    Great article. Why do you think it is so difficult for the press to tackle this issue head on with serious questions?

    At least in commedy circles they are more intellectually sincere with their moral conscience than those members of the msm whose job it is to relay a message as frankly as possible to their customers.

    comedy 1
    msm 0

  14. doug
    February 17, 2013, 3:39 pm

    Commentary’s latest:
    If Jewish groups speak out now in the aftermath of the cloture vote the Hagel nomination will collapse. The president may not like it but the longer this goes on the less defensible his choice for the Pentagon has proved to be. The time is now for Jewish Democrats to end this farce and send Hagel back into retirement where he can say as many hateful things about Jews and Israel either on or off the record as he likes.

    • tree
      February 17, 2013, 5:50 pm

      Ha! Thus implicitly affirming that there is a powerful Jewish Lobby in the US.

    • James Canning
      February 17, 2013, 6:44 pm

      What “hateful things” has Hagel said about Jews? I’m aware of no “hateful” comments by Hagel, about Jews.

      • doug
        February 17, 2013, 10:05 pm

        Just when you think Commentary can’t sink lower. And notice Commentary’s conflation of Jews and Israel. I guess it;s OK when the neoconservative flagship does it. Foxman is nowhere in sight.

      • Kathleen
        February 18, 2013, 12:51 am


    • weindeb
      February 18, 2013, 6:01 am

      How right you are, doug. Hagel does not seem like quite the right person to be Israel’s Minister of Defense.

  15. Carowhat
    February 17, 2013, 4:43 pm

    Didn’t Obama first check with Netanyahu before nominating Hagel? I can’t imagine that Netanyahu checks with Obama before selecting his own defense minister.

  16. sandhillexit
    February 17, 2013, 7:25 pm

    Possibly we could discuss why Iran is not a U.S. ally. Unlike Iraq or Pakistan it is a real country, not just a mishmash of unhappy tribes. Like Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and India it is a keystone in its region and could help us to stabilize the Asian continent. The US has a particular interest in a ring of strong and thriving countries around Russia and China to buffer their influence on the oil-belt. When did we sign on to police the competition between Sunni and Shia? Let the Wahhabis win that competition if they can by constructing an attractive modern society, rather than have us trash the competitor. Sixty years of hostility toward Iran is one of the great conundrums of the Washington view. Beyond the orbit of the mullahs the average Persian likes America. It would be great if McCain and Hagel could lead us out of that cul-de-sac. Do we really have to destroy the entire Persian cultural heritage first? Surely the lesson of Vietnam is that US business engagement is the best way to bring a country into the global economic system. Oh course nothing said at the Senate ASC hearings engenders any optimism. It is not a forum that encourages creative thinking. (We need a Nixon….)

    Israel, on the other hand, has an interest in weak neighbors all around, each struggling with domestic chaos and borrowing from the international banking cartel, at high rates just to muddle along. I would add Greece to that list by the way. Since the discovery of natural gas in the Eastern Med it is a dangerous competitor for Israel. You would think Deutsche or UBS would spot a business opportunity going begging but they follow the NY consensus like sheep.

    When the global economy is desperate for effective demand the US allows a country of 80 million consumers, a country sophisticated enough to lead the rest of the Muslim world toward a European standard of living, to be locked out. Similarly the chaos in Egypt…. I think that there are really important issues at stake for the U.S. in getting someone like Hagel into the Administration.

    • piotr
      February 17, 2013, 9:28 pm

      It is worthwhile to point that Pakistan IS NOT a “mishmash of tribes”, in spite of obvious problems. And Obama managed to royally screw up our position there, so Iran is much more popular over there than USA.

      Now Congress tries to repeat the trick with Egypt.

      • sandhillexit
        February 18, 2013, 9:23 pm

        180 mm people. Few national institutions that function. Nuclear weapons.

      • piotr
        February 19, 2013, 10:55 am

        I think that ca. 90% of Pakistanis, perhaps much more, have allegiance to Pakistan. Only Baluchi are separatists and there are few of them.

        National institution perhaps do not function at the highest standard, but I see some racist contempt here, perhaps not intentional.

        On a larger note, the whole concept of the foreign policy in which countries are categorized into those we help and those we sabotage, or do both is out of whack. Big waste of financial and moral capital.

      • sandhillexit
        February 21, 2013, 2:38 pm

        racist? race isn’t the subject. The U.S. has spent breathtaking amounts in Iraq and Pakistan, which are supposed to function as strategic allies. Every U.S. taxpayer has the right to ask why we stubbornly persist in such a spendthrift and foolhardy way. In both cases, still after all these years, their defining feature as a nation state is that they have few national institutions that work. How did we end up wasting our patrimony on these botched post-colonial experiments? Chiefly, I would say, because they neighbor Iran. Our obsession with “pay-back” regarding the Shah, the hostages, the mullahs etc. is unseemly and contrary to U.S. interests. It is Iran that has the essential thing America needs in Central Asia. It is the one country that could do what we profess to want to do, which is bring the Muslim world toward a modern economy and democracy. It was a heartbreak to watch the Green movement struggle and fail. As Kissinger observed we seem to be on the warpath. Somehow, containment was ok for the Soviets but not for Persia. Why? I want a better answer than ‘because all Muslims are terrorists.”

      • Annie Robbins
        February 21, 2013, 7:16 pm

        Why? I want a better answer than ‘because all Muslims are terrorists.”
        i think your answer might be right here sandhill

        Israel…. has an interest in weak neighbors all around, each struggling with domestic chaos and borrowing from the international banking cartel, at high rates just to muddle along. I would add Greece to that list by the way. Since the discovery of natural gas in the Eastern Med it is a dangerous competitor for Israel.

      • sandhillexit
        February 22, 2013, 8:29 am

        Well the Hagel brouhaha is not about some speech or other. It’s about whether he would silence the drumbeat on Iran for another American war.

      • James Canning
        February 22, 2013, 5:28 pm

        Hagle might be able to dampen some of the flames put out by warmongers. Why did John Brennan claim Feb. 7th that Iran “remains bent on sursuing nuclear weapons. . .”?

  17. piotr
    February 17, 2013, 9:03 pm

    I concur with some commenters that there is no reason to swoon over Hagel. He is still a human, and a conservative Republican who moved to “paleo-conservative”. I am not sure if I would wish him to be a president, but he is definitely seeming to be a good person for DoD.

    And those controversies are a gift from Heavens! Ideally, the mainstream discussion will be “should our State Department be indistinguishable from an adjunct to Israeli Foreign Ministry? Should Congress spend money to bribe hapless Pacific island states to provide those precious pro-Israeli votes? Didn’t Republican presidential candidate that State Department (and Oval Office) SHOULD be the adjuncts to Israeli government, in words of Romney, taking positions after a call to Jerusalem? And so on.

    Of course, this is but my dream, but something happens already in this direction.

  18. dbroncos
    February 18, 2013, 12:54 am

    For all the promise Hagel showed in his comments about American independence from Israel, his abysmal performance at the hearings showed that he’s just another politician who’s willing to eat his words and say anything to get the job. The Chuck Hagel that emerged from the hearings was a diminished, humiliated man. He’s not someone I’d vote for unless, like Obama, he was the only alternative to a Republican looney kook like Romney.

  19. gingershot
    February 18, 2013, 3:02 am

    Hagel has shown he has got the number of the Israeli Lobby – you can’t really walk back saying ‘the U.S. Department of State was an adjunct of the Israeli foreign minister’s office U.S. Department of State was an adjunct of the Israeli foreign minister’s office’

    You can lie about ‘really meaning it’ to get past the rabid dogs at the gate – but that’s just so you can get inside where the ammo is.

    Hagel knows the Lobby and he knows John McCain is a POW of the Lobby and Lindsey Graham is just a run of the mill treasonous sell out.

    Obama and Hagel are going to dismantle the Lobby – and they are going to do it by not giving the neocons/Israel their war in Iran – which is critical for their survival at this point in history

    • Citizen
      February 18, 2013, 11:56 am

      @ gingershot, dbroncos

      Hagel looked very fatigued going to that hearing, and the hearing itself lasted eight hours. There’s a few old videos around showing Hagel feisty as hell, and very articulate on the foreign policy issues subject here, as well as print documentation.
      His enemies are correct, he does have a track record, and it seems to have first appeared in public when he attacked how the initial incursion into Afghanistan had blossomed into full-blown war, followed by the quick realization after Iraq was attacked that there were no WMDs there. His real war experience as cannon fodder then combined with an apparently new (to him) awareness the neocons had hijacked a classically rational fullly holistic use of all aspects of US power, not only military, but economic and diplomatic–and, when he looked at the most influential players, he found the core reason for this in the Israel lobby. It must have been very draining to totally muzzle himself at his hearing, so hard to relinquish his truth on prime time CSPAN TV.

      Only if he gets the slot will we find out if he’s a broke man, or playing possum. Will the Cairo Speech of his boss get dusted off, come out of the closet, and will he and POTUS partner to cut some of that huge bloated in the war business machine Ike warned about? Obama could go right over the head of congress to the American people, as some great presidents have done. Hagel’s POV rings of wisdom. Iran, Egypt, and Turkey are very important strategic players in the most strategic region in the world.

      Mr Lamb has my point, will Obama-Hagel get to grab the hand extended by Iran?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 18, 2013, 3:25 pm

        Hagel looked very fatigued going to that hearing, and the hearing itself lasted eight hours. There’s a few old videos around showing Hagel feisty as hell, and very articulate on the foreign policy issues subject here, as well as print documentation.

        my personal theory (which i’ve mentioned before) is with so much prep time available (recall all the sorry accusations came out weeks before he was initially nominated) the WH set about, with professionals (audience psychology experts), to craft the best possible situational setting for hagel at the confirmation hearings, including not only what he was going to say..but what demeanor in which to say it. iow, fatigue was a chosen demeanor. it wouldn’t have worked for him to be himself, boisterous or flippant or anything. he was supposed to just take it and play…the battered fatigue innocent and basically deny or take back everything he said. people don’t change over night. he’s the same person he was, that’s probably why obama chose him and wants to keep him around.

        think about it, what other kind of chuck hagel would get more sympathy? had he been stronger about his presentation it would have inspired critics to call him a liar. better to look kowtowed. they planned it.

      • CloakAndDagger
        February 19, 2013, 1:51 am

        @ annie

        Your thesis is plausible about the demeanor.

    • James Canning
      February 18, 2013, 1:25 pm

      Gingershot – – Let’s hope Iran has enough good sense to stop stockpiling 20 percent enriched urasnium, so Hagel is not forced to seek a blockade of Iranian oil exports.

  20. quercus
    February 18, 2013, 8:02 am

    I just thought I’d share this bit of idiocy heard on C-span radio a few days ago during an interview with Rep Schweikert (spelling?) of Arizona. One caller referred to Schweikert has having neo-con views and Schweikert began his reply with “be careful, calling someone a neocon borders on being racist ….” or “borders of racism”.

    WTF? So, the very serious and ugly fact of ‘true’ racism is being abused by the likes of Schweikert and no doubt others, and victimhood now becomes a source of power, so the victim becomes the aggressor.

  21. irmep
    February 18, 2013, 9:26 am

    The documentary record reveals that AIPAC itself came out of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    It’s therefore obvious why AIPAC objects to such characterizations.

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