How the Israel lobby’s toadies savaged Hagel

Michael Cohen writes: [W]hat made Hagel such an interesting secretary of defense candidate was that he was willing to make provocative statements about national security and the actual limits on US power. This week, we saw the neutered version of that candidate and it wasn’t pretty.

In defense of Hagel, though, it’s hard to imagine a sadder display of senatorial prerogatives than what the country witnessed in Thursday’s hearing. There were basically three categories of questions asked of Hagel:

• “Is Israel a great country, or is it the greatest? And if it’s the former, can you explain your lack of support for America’s most important ally?”

• “Why don’t you think Iran is crazy, unbalanced and a military competitor of the United States, as I do?”

• “Let me tell you more about the vital national security rule played by the weapons system or military base located in my home state.”

I’m not really exaggerating when I say these three themes accounted for practically 80% of the questions asked of Hagel, particularly by Republicans. In fact, according to a tweet from Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran that made the rounds yesterday evening, Israel was mentioned 136 times in the hearing and Iran 135 times:

Even though the defense secretary nominee said repeatedly that he supports Israel, that he considers Iran a state sponsor of terrorism and that he wouldn’t take military force off the table in dealing with its potential nuclear program, Republicans mined practically every statement ever made by Hagel (and often taken out of context) in an effort to assert that he doesn’t hold as uncompromising a position on these issues as they do.

The day reached its point of high comedy when Senator Lindsey Graham began interrogating Hagel on whether he believes – as he allegedly said several years ago – that the so-called “Jewish lobby” causes US senators to occasionally do dumb things that harm US foreign policy. Hagel hemmed and hawed on the question when, in an ideal world, he should have said, “Yes, and this hearing is example A.”

Senator Lindsey Graham: Name one person in your opinion who’s intimidated by the Israeli lobby in the United States Senate?
Chuck Hagel (if he felt at liberty to speak the truth): With all due respect, Senator Graham, I think you are? Why else would you be asking me this question?

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8 thoughts on “How the Israel lobby’s toadies savaged Hagel

  1. jack dresser

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

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

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

  2. BillVZ

    “It’s hard to imagine a sadder display of senatorial prerogatives than what the country witnessed in Thursday’s hearing”

    From my personal file-some pithy remarks previously noted:
    “In the U.S., you can advocate torture,assassination,incarceration, illegal spying, and completely optional though murderous wars and be appointed to the highest positions. But you can’t, apparently, criticize Israeli actions too much or question whether America’s blind support for Israel should be re-examined.”
    “ The U.S. is owned lock, stock and barrel by Israel. But what about the other 6.3 billion people on the planet? What’s their excuse for tolerating this behavior?”

  3. shaslivy

    What a terrible person that Senator Graham shows the world he really is .I would consider him extreemly dangerous if not down right evil.It is so very sad that Americans have this type of person in the halls of power.Yuk.

  4. bobs

    The senator from Israel, Lindsey Graham, has an accent that matches his IQ. I almost feel sorry for the poor Israelis to have that dick-sucking weasel on their side.

  5. DE Teodoru

    The real Hagel hid in the bushes and let the NVA unit pass by rather than engage. This was no time for grandstanding and his rational modesty was showing. In the meantime, the noisy, arrogant NVA “Tea Party” unit singing Party songs and waving Party banners as it stomped the bushes fixed its position for the B-52s overhead. Sargent Hagel did well, armed with that modesty I saw in him from the first day we met. He’ll be a great SecDef who will stand up to the chickenhawks in Senate who deem a fellow combat vet a dangerous thing to give to America’s soldiers as a leader.

  6. Norman

    Graham/McCain, turned on one of their own. They should be ashamed of themselves for doing this. Disrespect, dishonor, and for what, just to appease the money interests that support their campaigns. That goes for all the others who grandstand for Israel above the very country they took an oath to uphold and defend against outside influence, especially when it’s done so blatantly as was on display in the hearing.

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