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Chuck Hagel confirmed as Secretary of Defense by 58-41 vote (Updated)



Chuck Hagel has finally been confirmed as Secretary of Defense by a Senate vote of 58-41. Although they were able to prolong the process over the Defense Secretary nomination, today’s vote serves as a stinging defeat to the neocon campaign against Hagel.

Emergency Committee for Israel Chairman Bill Kristol issued the following statement as the vote was becoming clear:

“We fought the good fight, and are proud to have done so. We salute all those — Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews — who joined with us in the effort to secure a better Secretary of Defense. We are heartened that the overwhelming majority of senators from one of the two major parties voted against confirming Mr. Hagel. We take some comfort in Mr. Hagel’s confirmation conversions on the issues of Israel and Iran, and do believe that, as a result of this battle, Mr. Hagel will be less free to pursue dangerous policies at the Defense Department and less inclined to advocate them within the administration. And since hope is an American characteristic and a Jewish virtue, we will also say that we hope Mr. Hagel will rise to the occasion and successfully discharge his weighty duties. In this task we wish him well.

“This battle against Chuck Hagel is over. The fight for a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy goes on.”


Chuck Hagel has just cleared a huge hurdle to becoming the next Defense Secretary. The Senate voted 71-27 to end debate over the nomination. Final vote could take place as early as this afternoon.

Original Post:

The Senate is now voting on a “cloture” motion to end debate over the Chuck Hagel nomination and move it forward to a vote up or down on the nomination. The cloture vote failed on Feb. 14, falling short by one vote.

It appears that the Senate will approve the cloture motion. In today’s voting, a few Republicans have changed their vote; John McCain, for instance, voted to end debate and move the nomination forward. We’ll keep you posted

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz

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78 Responses

  1. lobewyper on February 26, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Not to be negative, but do people on this board think who will be Defense Scty matters much given the power of the Lobby? Most of us hope Hagel will save us from further grave strategic errors, but can he? He will be one important and reasonable voice. But how would he be able to influence policy more than, say, Obama–who IMO has thus far shown no inclination to step up to the Israeli govt. (and by his inaction led to a worsening of the crisis by essentially offering Netanyahu carte blanche re: the settlements).

    • blg432 on February 26, 2013, 3:23 pm

      Remember that the neocons pushed their agenda out of the pentagon, and the “intelligence” justification came out of the Pentagon. It is a check against a Wolfowitz, Feith, Shulsky style Office of Special Plans that created a special intelligence unit at the Pentagon. That controversial Pentagon provided the cooked “evidence” that shaped the administration’s views on Iraq’s alleged ties to the terrorist network behind the Sept. 11 attacks. This office bypassed normal intelligence channels to make a case that conflicted with the conclusions of CIA analysts.

      The purpose of the unnamed intelligence unit, often described as a Pentagon “cell,” was to scour reports from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and other agencies to find nuggets of information linking Iraq, Al Qaeda, terrorism, and the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In a controversial press briefing in October 2002, a year after Wurmser’s unit was established, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that a primary purpose of the unit was to cull factoids, which were then used to disparage, undermine, and contradict the CIA’s reporting, which was far more cautious and nuanced than Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith wanted. Rumsfeld particularly enjoyed harassing the CIA staffer who briefed him every morning, using the type of data produced by the intelligence unit. “What I could do is say, ‘Gee, what about this?'” Rumsfeld noted. “‘Or what about that? Has somebody thought of this?'” Last June, when Feith was questioned on the same topic at a briefing, he acknowledged that the secret unit in fact looked at the connection between Iraq and terrorism, saying, “You can’t rely on deterrence to deal with the problem of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of state sponsors of terrorism because [of] the possibility that those state sponsors might employ chemical weapons or biological weapons by means of a terrorist organization proxy.

      Though Feith, in that briefing, described Wurmser’s unit as an innocent project, “a global exercise” that was not meant to put pressure on other intelligence agencies or create skewed intelligence to fit preconceived policy notions, many other sources assert that it did exactly that. That the White House and the Pentagon put enormous pressure on the CIA to go along with its version of events has been widely reported, highlighted by visits to CIA headquarters by Vice President Cheney and Lewis Libby, his chief of staff. Led by Perle, the neocons seethed with contempt for the CIA. The CIA’s analysis, said Perle, “isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.” Standing in a crowded hallway during an AEI event, Perle added, “The CIA is status quo oriented. They don’t want to take risks.” That became the mantra of the shadow agency within an agency.

      Putting Wurmser in charge of the unit meant that it was being run by a pro-Iraq-war ideologue who’d spent years calling for a pre-emptive invasion of Baghdad and who was clearly predisposed to find what he wanted to see. Adding another layer of dubious quality to the endeavor was the man partnered with Wurmser, F. Michael Maloof. Maloof, a former aide to Perle in the 1980s Pentagon, was twice stripped of his high-level security clearances‚ — once in late 2001 and, again, last spring, for various infractions. Maloof was also reportedly involved in a bizarre scheme to broker contacts between Iraqi officials and the Pentagon, channeled through Perle, in what one report called a “rogue [intelligence] operation” outside official CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency channels.

      As the momentum for war began to build in early 2002, Wolfowitz and Feith beefed up the intelligence unit and created an Iraq war-planning unit in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia Affairs section, run by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William Luti, under the rubric “Office of Special Plans,” or OSP; the new unit’s director was Abram N. Shulsky. By then, Wurmser had moved on to a post as senior adviser to Undersecretary of State John Bolton, yet another neocon, who was in charge of the State Department’s disarmament, proliferation, and WMD office and was promoting the Iraq war strategy there. Shulsky’s OSP, which incorporated the secret intelligence unit, took control, banishing veteran experts‚ — including Joseph McMillan, James Russell, Larry Hanauer, and Marybeth McDevitt‚ — who, despite years of service to NESA, either were shuffled off to other positions or retired. For the next year, Luti and Shulsky not only would oversee war plans but would act aggressively to shape the intelligence product received by the White House.

      Both Luti and Shulsky were neoconservatives who were ideological soul mates of Wolfowitz and Feith. But Luti was more than that. He’d come to the Pentagon directly from the office of Vice President Cheney. That gave Luti, a recently retired, decorated Navy captain whose career ran from combat aviation to command of a helicopter assault ship, extra clout. Along with his colleague Colonel William Bruner, Luti had done a stint as an aide to Newt Gingrich in 1996 and, like Perle and Wolfowitz, was an acolyte of Wohlstetter’s. “He makes Ollie North look like a moderate,” says a NESA veteran.

      Shulsky had been on the Washington scene since the mid-1970s. As a Senate intelligence committee staffer for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, he began to work with early neoconservatives like Perle, who was then an aide to Senator Henry Jackson. Later, in the Reagan years, Shulsky followed Perle to the Pentagon as Perle’s arms-control adviser. In the ’90s, Shulsky co-authored a book on intelligence called Silent Warfare, with Gary Schmitt. Shulsky had served with Schmitt on Moynihan’s staff and they had remained friends. Asked about the Pentagon’s Iraq intelligence “cell,” Schmitt‚ — who is currently the executive director of the Project for the New American Century‚ — says that he can’t say much about it “because one of my best friends is running it.”

      According to Lt. Colonel Kwiatkowski, Luti and Shulsky ran NESA and the Office of Special Plans with brutal efficiency, purging people they disagreed with and enforcing the party line. “It was organized like a machine,” she says. “The people working on the neocon agenda had a narrow, well-defined political agenda. They had a sense of mission.” At NESA, Shulsky, she says, began “hot-desking,” or taking an office wherever he could find one, working with Feith and Luti, before formally taking the reins of the newly created OSP. Together, she says, Luti and Shulsky turned cherry-picked pieces of uncorroborated, anti-Iraq intelligence into talking points, on issues like Iraq’s WMD and its links to Al Qaeda. Shulsky constantly updated these papers, drawing on the intelligence unit, and circulated them to Pentagon officials, including Rumsfeld, and to Vice President Cheney. “Of course, we never thought they’d go directly to the White House,” she adds.

      Kwiatkowski recalls one meeting in which Luti, pressed to finish a report, told the staff, “I’ve got to get this over to ‘Scooter’ right away.” She later found out that “Scooter” was none other than Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff. According to Kwiatkowski, Cheney had direct ties through Luti into NESA/OSP, a connection that was highly unorthodox.

      “Never, ever, ever would a deputy undersecretary of Defense work directly on a project for the vice president,” she says. “It was a little clue that we had an informal network into Vice President Cheney’s office.”

      The Lie Factory

      • Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 5:52 pm

        The Lie Factory was a loud alert as well as Jason Vest article in the Nation the fall of 2002

        As well as all of the loud alerts from former IAEA weapons inspector Scott Ritter, former middle east analyst Kathleen and Bill Christison, Ray McGovern, Dr. Zbig, El Baradei and many others who tried their very best to warn the American public that they were being seriously lied to about WMD’s in Iraq

      • blg432 on February 26, 2013, 8:08 pm

        as Jason Vest article in the Nation the fall of 2002

        The only faults in Jason Vest’s article was that it was not longer, and that there aren’t more like it.

        This subject needs a book.

        the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). And just as was the case two decades ago, dozens of their members have ascended to powerful government posts, where their advocacy in support of the same agenda continues, abetted by the out-of-government adjuncts from which they came. Industrious and persistent, they’ve managed to weave a number of issues–support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general–into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.

        If I haven’t seen a book or another article on this subject, please submit it. I would love to read it.

      • James Canning on February 26, 2013, 7:24 pm

        Great post, Bob. Very bold conspiracy, by the neocons (especially the Office of Special Plans), to set up illegal nvasion of Iraq by duping the President (and his grossly incompetent national security adviser).

      • on February 26, 2013, 11:51 pm

        Bob – Anyone who states that any Obama nominee can be, as you say, “a check against a Wolfowitz, Feith, Shulsky style Office of Special Plans that created a special intelligence unit at the Pentagon”, cooked evidence and other instruments of war –at the War Office, no less! is living in Dreamland (that’s the charitable interpretation.)

    • piotr on February 26, 2013, 3:33 pm

      Rome was not build in one day.

      Of course, if Obama visits Israel in lovey dovey mode without any real progress, we are ALMOST back to square one. Right now, important taboos in American debates are broken. And we have a new phrase in political vocabulary “bring me the donkey!” (much better than “Israel firster”).

    • lysias on February 26, 2013, 5:31 pm

      Even if Obama and Hagel can’t do much about improving the lot of the Palestinians, together they are likely to stop any war with Iran. That may not be all we want, but it is still something very important.

      • lobewyper on February 27, 2013, 3:54 pm

        I agree, lysias

        I think the main intention of Hagel’s appointment was to reduce the risk of being drawn into attacking Iran, which could have disastrous results. It is this that Hagel/Obama want to avoid–not unfair treatment of the Palestinians. Moreover, as Steve Walt says in his current article,,

        Obama is not in a position to push the Israelis now and will not be in the remaining years of his presidency due to the Lobby’s grip on congress.

    • Bandolero on February 27, 2013, 1:36 am

      Not to be negative, but do people on this board think who will be Defense Scty matters much given the power of the Lobby? Most of us hope Hagel will save us from further grave strategic errors, but can he? He will be one important and reasonable voice.

      If that would be the case, then why the lobby was taking the risk of so much exposure to try to block his nomination?

      My impression is, that the fight for the DoD Secretary is about something very powerful: budget.

      When the Israel lobby gets it’s hands on that budget it can make sure that this huge DoD budget is given to people, companies and so on, which are good donors to the lobby, so that the DoD budget indrectly finances the lobby and makes it with the DoD money as powerful as it is.

      Chuck Hagel may now be in a position to reverse this scheme. He may give DoD budget now to people who are Amercian firsters, and leave out people whom he suspect to be Israel firsters. He would be right to do so, as Israel firsters may do more harm to US security than good. If Chuck Hagel gives more and more DoD budget to American firsters, and less to some other country firsters in his own country, he woud have done really a lot for US security.

      He may spent the budget in states and towns governed by American firsters. He may give DoD budget to those who are supporters of his political views on American security – and Israel – and wo are thereby natural political opponents of those who tried to block him.

      So, my understanding, why this nomination is so important, is, that the primary reason is, that DoD directly or indirectly directs the flow of a lot of money.

  2. James Canning on February 26, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Good news.

  3. yourstruly on February 26, 2013, 2:06 pm

    chuck hagel?

    secretary of defense?

    but which chuck hagel?

    the one who once pointed out the influence of the jewish lobby?

    or the one who went belly up at his senate confirmation hearing?

    • Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 4:57 pm

      He had to go belly up to get through the warmongering slime balls

      • Citizen on February 26, 2013, 5:44 pm

        @ Kathleen
        True, but the alternative was to stick to his POV, which would have aired on CSPAN to Dick & Jane, giving more clout to Obama to also speak over our AIPACed congress to America.

        We won’t get another chance at a Hagel speaking to all of America about the Establishment’s Jewish Lobby and its impact on the best interests of US, Israel, and the World, ever again.

        I think that’s a loss. What Obama does with his Jewish Lobby-mandated trip to Israel will spell out just how much America lost by Hagel’s politically pragmatic “conversion” at his hearing.

      • annie on February 26, 2013, 6:49 pm

        We won’t get another chance at a Hagel speaking to all of America about the Establishment’s Jewish Lobby and its impact on the best interests of US, Israel, and the World, ever again.

        i doubt that, he won’t be def sec forever.

      • Citizen on February 27, 2013, 8:05 am

        @ Annie Robbins
        So, after Hagel’s is no longer Sec Of Def, nor a candidate for that office, he’s gonna get a spot light akin to his televised hearing–exactly who will give him this kleig light, and where?

      • annie on February 27, 2013, 10:22 pm

        citizen, so after hagel was no longer senator of nebraska, nor a candidate for that office, he got a spotlight. and he made alot of speeches just like chas freeman is still making speeches. chances are hagel’s stint as def sec will not last even 4 years, unless we get another dem prez who keeps him. and he’s young. tigers do not change their stripes. they just don’t.

      • yourstruly on February 28, 2013, 5:58 pm

        it’s not so much what secretary of defense chuck hagel says, but whether his words lean, however slightly, towards justice for palestine?

        assuming they do?

        that they reverberate with the public


        the unthinkable?

      • James Canning on March 2, 2013, 2:09 pm

        Yes, let’s hope Chuck Hagel wants at least minimum justice for the Palestinians. No matter how much this is opposed by so many foolish US Congressmen.

  4. blg432 on February 26, 2013, 2:12 pm

    Deals were made, and varous pro-Israeli types were assuaged. The media turned. Neocons were left in the dark to pound their fists in their respective media outlets.

    The new beltway power dynamic for all to see, but its always changing.

  5. annie on February 26, 2013, 2:52 pm

    well, glad that’s over with.

  6. sandhillexit on February 26, 2013, 3:41 pm

    Wonder if Hagel will favor Texas and South Carolina with the base closures and other cutbacks in government spending they so loudly recommend. This should be interesting to watch. California welcomes the pivot toward the Pacific.

  7. Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 4:43 pm

    Voting now. Cspan

  8. Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 5:09 pm

    Nomination confirmed !

  9. tree on February 26, 2013, 5:26 pm

    “The fight for a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy goes on.”

    Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    • piotr on February 26, 2013, 9:05 pm

      Principles can be noble, but they can also be stupid, depraved etc.

      But this is a WTF: “And since hope is an American characteristic and a Jewish virtue..”

      Don’t Latvians hope? Fidjians? If I were to spout such nonsense, I would put together something like that: “And since Hope, Faith and Love are the three daughters of Wisdom, we extend are warmest wishes to the new Secretary of Defense and we sincerely believe that while this crazy apparat-chick Fortnoy would be a much better candidate, Mr. Hagel will …”

      • Citizen on February 27, 2013, 8:10 am

        I’d like to know what people can’t be characterized as hopeful, and, assuming hope is always a virtue, is it only a jewish virtue?

        Isn’t hope a characteristic and lever for all human activity?

    • on February 26, 2013, 11:57 pm

      tree – Oxymoron? How so?
      The main principle of our Government, both big P Parties confounded, is “Israel First!” You haven’t been paying attention in Civics class (or you had it not later than the early fifties.)

      • tree on March 2, 2013, 11:43 pm

        I’m referring to the first definition of “principled” here.

        Acting in accordance with morality and showing recognition of right and wrong.

        Therefore I take “principled” to be at odds with “pro-Israel”.

    • lysias on February 27, 2013, 10:10 am

      The Nazis may not have been moral, but they did have their principles. Hitler, in his own twisted way, was an idealist.

  10. Woody Tanaka on February 26, 2013, 5:33 pm

    “The fight for a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy goes on.”

    No person who could make such a statement has any cause to call himself an American.

    • Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 8:53 pm

      Pro Palestine
      Pro Israel based on the internationally recognized and confirmed borders

      Pro Peace

      But the reality on the ground is that Israel has wiped out the two state solution

      • pabelmont on February 26, 2013, 9:55 pm

        Kathleen: Yes but. I prefer: ” Israel has wiped out the two state solution” unless and until the facts on the ground change sufficiently, and I pin my hopes on a very gradual (well, evidently, starting with ZERO) establishment of sanctions by principled countries, perhaps Turkey first, aiming at requiring Israel to change the facts on the ground.

        Israel has made it clear that it will not do this voluntarily. Wonder what Obama will say? Maybe,

        Dear Israel, gee, gosh, how I love ya, but, really, you know, the world is turning against your settlement regime — indeed, some opinion is so fiercely against the settlements that dissatisfaction with settlements is morphing into a sense that Israel as a totality is illegitimate — and the USA will not be able to stand in the world’s way, however much we might wish to spare you the trouble and expense of removing your settlers and settlements and the wall from the territories you occupied in June 1967. Maybe you ought to think about this a bit, hmm?

  11. Citizen on February 26, 2013, 6:00 pm

    On Hardball now:

    Beinhart is on, Chris asking the spitty questions. Why did the GOP senators he named by name still vote as a practical matter against Hagel today, knowing he’d be confirmed, despite McCain and Graham voting in favor?

    Beinhart: Says the lack of questions about so many key aspects of foreign policy at Hagel hearing shows just how lost in lalaland, many GOP leaders are.

    Another pundit: Hagel will come out with a more effective wide-ranging foreign policy.

    Beinhart says the Benghazi fight shows GOP is lost.

    The Golden Fleece: As per Chris M: GOP wants to show Obama was not concerned, and did not defend America at subject embassy.

    Beinhart: GOP wants a handle to beat the Democrats in next election.

    Chris M: What’s their bee in their bonnet?

    Pundit: They just want to tear down the POTUS via slander not seen in generations.

    Chris M: L Grahm is facing opposition, so wants to show he’s got some bullets in his gun.

    Beinhart: Absolutely he’s seen what happened to Tea Party losers.

    Chris M: “Beinhart, you always impress me.”

    • Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 8:02 pm

      Beinart said Hagel took a hit on his political clout. Don’t buy it. Clemons is such a great, clear, matter of fact guest on foreign policy.

      Clemons said that those who tried to take him down are going to “reinvent their relationships” with Hagel not the other way around.

      Clemons who was on Chris Matthews is spot on.

      Bill Kristol and team have two collective black eyes. Hagel in.


  12. MRW on February 26, 2013, 6:16 pm

    We take some comfort in Mr. Hagel’s confirmation conversions on the issues of Israel and Iran, and do believe that, as a result of this battle, Mr. Hagel will be less free to pursue dangerous policies at the Defense Department and less inclined to advocate them within the administration.

    Doesn’t matter now. Hagel doesn’t answer to the Lobby, and his boss is the Prez.

    Hagel’s confirmation conversions??
    Theater rehearsals.

    • Rusty Pipes on February 26, 2013, 8:17 pm

      Hagel persevered through the gauntlet and survived. He’s in. No matter what he does in office, he will have gained a lot of respect just for refusing to withdraw under such pressure — I don’t see him weakened by the process. Kristol’s just trying to put the best spin on it that he can.

      • annie on February 26, 2013, 9:21 pm

        totally agree rusty

      • Blank State on February 26, 2013, 10:48 pm

        “I don’t see him weakened by the process”

        Huh???? You musta missed the groveling before Congress.

      • annie on February 26, 2013, 11:19 pm

        nope, didn’t miss it. i do not think it will deter from his job as def sec. in fact, i think it will probably fuel a fire in his belly, it would if i were in his shoes. let’s put it this way, winners don’t generally succumb to the losers, it works the other way around.

    • Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 11:23 pm

      MRW who are you quoting? Beinart?

    • Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 11:36 pm

      Was just over at Weekly Standard. MRW is that Bill Kristol’s quote about Hagel? Neocons just had their asses handed to them on a silver platter.

      • MRW on February 27, 2013, 12:13 am

        Kathleen, I was quoting “Emergency Committee for Israel Chairman Bill Kristol” in the original post.

    • eljay on February 27, 2013, 9:18 am

      Now Barry O. and Hagel and Kerry can hold their heads up, wage war on Iran and say, “See? We didn’t do it for Israel. We did it for the security of America and the American people!”


      (What else to do with as many as 80,000 troops?)

  13. annie on February 26, 2013, 6:53 pm

    i wonder if hagel will accompany obama to the region next month?

  14. Citizen on February 26, 2013, 6:53 pm

    Chris M
    Names the GOP senators who voted against Hagel even though they knew at the time he would be confirmed. Chris M brings in Beinhart to explain, along with another pundit, but nobody mentions the Establishment Jewish Lobby.

  15. Citizen on February 26, 2013, 6:57 pm

    Steve Clemons on MSNBC Hardball: Hagel will come out with a good military spending cut.

    Beinhart says those who support Ted Cruz are not representative of America’s wishes.

  16. upsidedownism on February 26, 2013, 7:18 pm

    A victory for the Israeli lobby. It was always going to be.

    The point of the anti Hagel fight was to show anybody and everybody in America what you are up against if you don’t pay obeisance to the Israeli lobby. Even though he is a great American, a wounded and decorated soldier, a successful businessman and Senator, anybody who wants to succeed in American politics certainly won’t choose Chuck Hagel as a role model. Not unless they want a difficult life.

    • MRW on February 27, 2013, 12:15 am

      Not in my neck of the woods. The Israel Lobby lost big time as a result of what they did to Hagel. I mean major emotional support. Gone.

  17. on February 26, 2013, 7:43 pm

    over at anti-war… they could use some help there

    Report: Obama To Tell Israelis of Plans for Iran War

    According to …”unnamed officials” quoted by Israel’s Channel 10, President Obama is planning to inform Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his intention to attack Iran this summer, with June beginning the “window of opportunity” for his next war.

    tyring to put words in his mouth…I am guessing it wouldnt work

    • Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 11:27 pm

      “unnamed officials” again. Who is Jason Ditz?

      • HPH on February 27, 2013, 4:06 am

        Jason Ditz monitors various sites to collect the news for his posts. From his post, I gather that “Channel 10” spoke to the unnamed officials. I agree with Jimmy about the attempt to influence Pres. Obama. More information about this latest effort would be interesting.

  18. Shingo on February 26, 2013, 8:09 pm

    The fight for a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy goes on.

    I wonder when this man of principal will show some and reveal who the financial backer of the Emergency Committee for Israel are.

  19. David Doppler on February 26, 2013, 8:18 pm

    If Hagel does nothing else, his nomination has provided the neocons the opportunity to lay out their philosophy and their tactics for everyone to see, and then he won anyway, in their faces! They appear to want to rally up and fight even harder, but who’s rallying to their side?

  20. piotr on February 26, 2013, 8:51 pm

    One remark on “Hagel and Obama averting war with Iran”. My impression is that China and Russia put a red line on attacking Iran. They made a number of statements vehemently opposing it, and I think that they really mean it, and more importantly, given the position of Iran relative to the Eurasian block, Russia+China+Central Asia, they have both reasons and means to oppose. An attack on Iran could lead to the largest foreign policy disaster since WWII, or at least since Vietnam.

    This would explain why the Administration which is otherwise undecisive on foreign policy issue is remarkably steadfast, and why so many Establishment voices and friendly governments that include Harper’s Canada are opposed.

    I do not know if neocons (including the leading Republicans) are stupid or playing cute. They exploit the fact that no mainstream American commentator (or European) will not frankly admit that there are sharp limits of American power. Or that in wargames an attack on Iran was always the most plausible prelude to WWIII — Russia may respond with thermonuclear ultimatum and a hair trigger alert of nuclear forces.

    Thus the positions on most leading Republicans in the Senate are monumentally stupid, and that can explain why there were so many opponents of the Hagel related filibuster within GOP ranks in the Senate. And why Democrats were so united.

    • annie on February 26, 2013, 9:29 pm

      very smart piotr. and did you mean to say:

      They exploit the fact that no mainstream American commentator (or European) will not frankly admit that there are sharp limits of American power. ?

      • piotr on February 27, 2013, 10:32 pm

        Yes, Annie. I guess I still think with double negation.

    • Kathleen on February 26, 2013, 11:29 pm

      “My impression is that China and Russia put a red line on attacking Iran.” Spot on.

      • James Canning on February 27, 2013, 3:10 pm

        Germany, Russia and China do not want a US war with Iran. But all three countries want Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20%.

    • Kathleen on February 27, 2013, 12:04 am

      Over at Going to Tehran:

      “The administration is taking its own steps to forestall Sino-American conflict over sanctions. Besides issuing waivers for oil imports, the one Chinese bank Washington has barred from the U.S. financial system for Iran-related transactions is a subsidiary of a Chinese energy company—a subsidiary with no business in the United States. However, as Congress enacts additional layers of secondary sanctions, President Obama’s room to maneuver is being progressively reduced. Therein lies the looming policy train wreck.

      If, at congressional insistence, the administration later this year demands that China sharply cut Iranian oil imports and that Chinese banks stop virtually any Iran-related transactions, Beijing will say no. If Washington retreats, the deterrent effect of secondary sanctions will erode rapidly. Iran’s oil exports are rising again, largely from Chinese demand. Once it becomes evident Washington won’t seriously impose secondary sanctions, growth in Iranian oil shipments to China and other non-Western economies (e.g., India, South Korea) will accelerate. Likewise, non-Western powers are central to Iran’s quest for alternatives to U.S.-dominated mechanisms for conducting and settling international transactions—a project that will also gain momentum after Washington’s bluff is called.

      Conversely, if Washington sanctions major Chinese banks and energy companies, Beijing will respond—at least by taking America to the WTO’s Dispute Resolution Mechanism (where China will win), perhaps by retaliating against U.S. companies in China. Chinese policymakers are increasingly concerned Washington is reneging on its part of the core bargain that grounded Sino-American rapprochement in the 1970s—to accept China’s relative economic and political rise and not try to secure a hegemonic position in Asia. Beijing is already less willing to work in the Security Council on a new (even watered-down) sanctions resolution, and more willing to resist U.S. initiatives that, in its view, challenge Chinese interests (witness China’s vetoes of three U.S.-backed resolutions on Syria). In this context, Chinese leaders will not accept American high-handedness on Iran sanctions. At this point, Beijing has more ways to impose costs on America for violations of international economic law that impinge on Chinese interests than Washington has levers to coerce China’s compliance.”

  21. yourstruly on February 26, 2013, 10:03 pm

    re: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel & hope

    hope for what?

    justice in Palestine?

    a just & peaceful world?

    but for a pro-Israel foreign policy?

    definitely not?

  22. Blank State on February 26, 2013, 10:46 pm


    “Blahblahblah…..a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy….blahblahblah….”

    There is no such thing.

    • James Canning on February 27, 2013, 3:16 pm

      A “principled pro-Israel foreign policy” would have the US exerting maximum pressure on Israel to get out of the West Bank.

      • piotr on February 28, 2013, 7:01 pm

        A luta continua! Less idiocy, just principles and peace! The national discussion on Hagel nomination, perhaps more than nomination itself, was an important step. There is life, there is hope.

        Since his stint as the chief advisor of Vice-president Quayle (relatively amiable idiot), Cristol was on the forefront of the struggle to empower cretins is the national politics.

  23. DICKERSON3870 on February 26, 2013, 11:19 pm

    RE: “We fought the good fight, and are proud to have done so. . .
    We take some comfort in Mr. Hagel’s confirmation conversions on the issues of Israel and Iran, and do believe that, as a result of this battle, Mr. Hagel will be less free to pursue dangerous policies at the Defense Department . . . [W]e will also say that we hope Mr. Hagel will rise to the occasion and successfully discharge his weighty duties. In this task we wish him well.”
    ~ Bill Kristol

    LOOSELY TRANSLATED: We take considerable comfort in having neutered Hagel!

    SEE: “Elliott Abrams: ‘Hagel will be confirmed, but he will be a weaker secretary of defense'”, By Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine, 2/22/13

    [EXCERPTS] In an interview to the Israeli daily ‘Yedioth Ahronoth,’ the former neoconservative diplomat criticizes Hagel for his ‘I am an American senator’ remark.
    Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea has today a short interview with Elliott Abrams on the issue of Chuck Hagel’s nomination to secretary of defense, which various Israeli advocacy groups have opposed.
    Abrams opens by explaining why he believes Hagel is an anti-Semite . . .

    ● Abrams: “I don’t hate him (Hagel). I don’t know him in person. I have friends who say they have known him for years and never heard an anti-Semitic remark from him. I think that everyone who rules out an initiative by Jews to influence American policy is an anti-Semite. That’s my definition. “Hagel once said ‘I am not an Israeli senator, I am an American senator. My commitment is to the United States’. This wasn’t a gaffe.” […]
    Barnea: You know that eventually he will be confirmed. The Senate usually doesn’t interfere with the president’s appointments.
    ● Abrams: “Yes. I suppose he will be confirmed. But he will be a weaker secretary of defense. The fight against Hagel presents the Republican party as a very pro-Israeli party, which is a good thing. Second, it’s becoming clear to everyone that there is a strong pro-Israeli lobby that is relying mostly on Christians. This is not a Jewish lobby.”

    SOURCE –

    • DICKERSON3870 on February 26, 2013, 11:26 pm

      RE: “Yes. I suppose he [Hagel] will be confirmed. But he will be a weaker secretary of defense. ~ Elliott Abrams (from above)

      MY COMMENT: Ergo, Elliott Abrams apparently thinks that the U.S. having a weak Secretary of Defense is a good thing, and he is proud of the role his smear campaign played in weakening our new Secretary of Defense.
      If Elliott Abrams isn’t an “Israel-firster” (actually a Likud-firster), then I’m a monkey’s uncle (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

      • MRW on February 27, 2013, 12:19 am

        What? He’s a weaker Sec Def because Elliott Abrams says so? Abrams is out to lunch.

  24. gingershot on February 26, 2013, 11:55 pm


    Let’s see how long Apartheid in Israel can stand twisting in the wind of no war on Iran

    Time for the world to turn it’s attention to eliminating Apartheid – rather than fight the war Israel was so desperate the world fight so it wouldn’t have to be standing all alone out in it’s winter of Apartheid, freezing to death

  25. Carowhat on February 27, 2013, 1:15 am

    Will Hagel be a better secretary of defense for America than anyone else? In order to get confirmed, didn’t he promise to love Israel more than America, more than his family, more than life itself? If Hagel is just another Israel-Firster how does that help anyone in this country?

  26. amigo on February 27, 2013, 6:56 am

    “We fought the good fight, and are proud to have done so. We salute all those — Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews — who joined with us in the effort to secure a better Secretary of Defense.”Kristol

    What he means is he is proud he found a number of Israel Firsters who put Israel,s interests before those of the USA.

    He should be kicked out of the Country and sent to Israel.

  27. Citizen on February 27, 2013, 8:28 am

    Now that Hagel is in, is it true that Sec Of Def is one of the more independent cabinet slots?

    And, if so, here’s a reminder of the evolution of Hagel’s past foreign policy stances–a guide to his controversial statements–in context:

    I’m sure Obama knows about them, and in their historical context.

  28. Citizen on February 27, 2013, 9:42 am

    Will any lesson be learned by the American people via all the radioactivity surrounding Hagel as Defense Secretary? Or will they remain stupid as rocks as to US foreign policy regarding anything Israel? I see nothing to indicate a light bulb going off in Dick or Jane’s head, not even the internet. Maybe the better question is, will Hagel toss himself out a window like Forrestal did?,

    Even though Hagel is in, I think the inquisition of Hagel did what it was suppose to do: display Zionist power and threaten deeply US politicians and government appointees and hires. Sorta like Ted Bear did at the Oscars. Put the fear of Zion in every Gentile working in Hollywood. And on primetime TV for all those star wannabes out their in the Boondocks.

    One thing sure is zionist donors on both sides of the aisle will continue to cement US foreign policy. And Hollywood will continue to go along for the Zionist ride. Bribe ’em and brainwash ’em. Boobus Americanus.

    • yourstruly on February 28, 2013, 7:51 pm

      based on past performances pessimism certainly is justified but don’t the results of recent polls (as reported yesterday on mw) suggest that dick &/or jane may be rethinking u.s. subservience to israel? and doesn’t the viciousness with which israel firsters attack anyone who isn’t on their side suggest a degree of desperation? something that not so long ago wasn’t evident, at least in their behavior, so confident were they in the public’s everlasting support of the zionist entity. thus it was in the summer of ’82 that someone like myself could return from lebanon, speak out publicly (on radio & tv) for the victims of a u.s.-backed israeli war, yet never hear a word about it from israel’s u.s. supporters. not that they didn’t notice, because a friend told me afterwards that my name came up at an executive adc meeting – “on the list of self-haters”, I asked? “Yes”, his reply. “did you mention that you knew me?” “you must be kidding”, his answer. seems back then it was “ignore them & they’ll go away”, whereas, today it’s “whatever it takes to make them say “i was wrong & i’ll never ever do it again.” time’s really a-changin?
      perhaps we’re about to find out?

  29. iResistDe4iAm on February 27, 2013, 10:34 pm

    Shortly after this MW article was posted, there were 3 comments posted in response to the Emergency Committee for Israel statement re the Hagel confirmation. One of the comments is included below:

    Ben Gayeh commented – 15 hours ago:
    You stay classy Kristol, keep lobbying for a foreign government and against American interests. Great job on smearing a national hero who fought bravely for his country, not wholly different to how you fight for a foreign entity. By fight I mean lie, smear, raise unlimited secret money and wallow in your own filth. Go back to riding your daddy’s laurels.

    Not surprisingly, all 3 comments have now (at time of posting) been censored/removed from the ECI website.

    For a screenshot of the 3 comments BEFORE censorship, refer to:

    For a screenshot AFTER censorship (NO comments), refer to:

    ECI website:

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