Hagel’s uncommon honesty

It is widely reported that President Obama will nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense today.

Peter Beinart writes: Hagel says in public what others only say in private. In his 2005 book, The Much Too Promised Land, former Clinton administration Middle East hand Aaron Miller notes that “of all my conversations [about the Israel debate in Congress], the one with Hagel stands apart for its honesty and clarity.” That’s because when Hagel told Miller that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” he was saying the same thing that people who work in Congress and the executive branch say all the time. As Thomas Friedman has noted, “I am certain that the vast majority of U.S. senators and policy makers quietly believe exactly what Hagel believes on Israel.” But the operative word is quietly. I’ve also heard many government officials, some of them Jewish, say things similar to what Hagel is now being flayed for having told Miller. The difference is that those other officials first confirmed that they were speaking off the record. One even lowered his voice and closed the door.

Hagel’s uncommon honesty isn’t restricted to Israel. Among the statements that critics now decry is Hagel’s 2007 declaration that “People say we’re not fighting for oil [in Iraq]. Of course we are.” In The Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol calls Hagel’s statement “vulgar and disgusting.” What Kristol doesn’t note is that the same article that quotes Hagel also quotes noted radical Alan Greenspan saying virtually the same thing. The difference: Greenspan said it in his memoir, published once he was safely retired from government service.

As John Judis notes, Hagel was considered a plausible Republican presidential candidate in 2008 until his blunt criticism of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies ended his career in the GOP. He is, therefore, one of the very few public figures in recent memory — Joe Lieberman, whose blunt support for the Bush administration’s Iraq policies ended his career in the Democratic Party, is another — to have forfeited a national role in his political party because of his policy views. In the process, Hagel has incurred the wrath of the same hawkish “pro-Israel” forces whose influence he was rash enough to acknowledge. He has done, in short, exactly what people who aspire to jobs like secretary of defense in Democratic administrations learn not to do.

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Comments

  1. DE Teodoru says:

    Hagel’s problem with “Jews” is NOT with Jews but with the Likudnik Zionaizs who want blank military check for their version of Israel– IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH AMERICAN “JEWS.” Republicans oppose Hagel as SecDef for two reasons: (1) they don’t want a popular Republican combat hero cutting the “Military-Industrial Complex” profiteering Eisenhower warned us about and are using Israel only to get their neocon whores to do all the leg work of fogging Hagel’s insider exposure of the chickenhawk Bush-it Administration’s wars; (2) these Republicans will simply do anything to paralyze that “Nigger President” who won re-election with such a large margin.

    The Likudnik Zionazis have their reason too: since more Sabras are moving OUT of Israel than Diasporics are moving IN, they like anti-Semitism as a scary force that will stampede Jewish migration to Israel. There is no connection between the Holocaust and Zionism. Millions of Jews died, not because they tried to move to a Jewish Homeland and couldn’t, but because they considered their European lands of birth as their homelands and wouldn’t move to Palestine. In fact, it has been argued by numerous Jewish historians that the Zionists exploited the Holocaust rather than try to stop it. Once again, they figure on anti-Semitism giving Zionism a boost at the expense of OUR Jews when Israel is in population exsanguination.

    But both the Republicans and the Zionazis miscalculated the stubborn America-first sentiments of OUR Jews, so far silent on the principle: above all do no harm. Already many Democrat Jews have spoken out FOR Hagel, his honesty, his open mindedness and how uniquely he is suited for the job as a decorated combat veteran who shed much of his blood for our nation. The chorus will get louder and louder because AMERICAN JEWS are as outraged– as are all OTHER AMERICANS– that reckless Republican attempted-saboteurs of Obama’s electoral victory and neocons are using Israel as a cover for their war-profiteering service to the Military Industrial Complex. The racist frustration of the Republican Right and its secret funders will slime through its pretended pro-Zionist cover as Jews speak out to express their patriotic reasons for supporting such a fine combat hero for the top job at Defense. The Zionazis are only recklessly sabotaging the American-Israeli Alliance in hope that they can, once again, bog the US in mortal Middle East combat; and, they are weakening US Jewish support for the Israel of their Zionazi creation (on the old South Africa model) by attempted stampeding of American Jews in fear of the anti-Semitism they deliberately create to save THEIR Zionazism from depopulation of sabras through immigration to the West. For Beinart to say less is to make himself an irrelevant analyst!

  2. Well said, DE. A few new words for the vocabulary, thanks. Personally, I believe that every person who puts Israel-Zionazis first, should be stripped of their U.S. citizenship and deported to Israel, providing Israel wants them without their personal assets.

  3. DE Teodoru says:

    There would be a lot fewer than you think, Norman. As for those that do…well, just follow the money!

  4. rosemerry says:

    Good article and comments!!