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Kaplan writes: "It's good news that President Obama will nominate Chuck Hagel as his secretary of defense, despite the frantic campaign against him that's been mounted by certain Republicans."

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel. (photo: Junko Kimura/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel. (photo: Junko Kimura/AFP/Getty Images)


The Real Reason Republicans Hate Hagel

By Fred Kaplan, Slate Magazine

07 January 12

 

It has more to do with President Obama than the former senator from Nebraska.

t's good news that President Obama will nominate Chuck Hagel as his secretary of defense, despite the frantic campaign against him that's been mounted by certain Republicans.

I don't think that he chose Hagel because of the opposition. It's generally not Obama's style to pick a fight for its own sake (cf. Rice, Susan). He's an issues man, and he faces many fights on other pressing matters. If he thought that someone less controversial could do the job at the Pentagon, he'd have gone with that person in a flash (cf. Kerry, John).

The real question is what kind of job Obama wants his next secretary of defense to do. I have no inside knowledge on this, but judging from some of his actions and remarks on matters of national defense, Hagel seems to be the right choice. And that's what disturbs the most outspoken Hagel-resisters.

These resisters have four main concerns. They fear that Hagel will cut the military budget. They fear that he'll roll over if Iran builds a nuclear weapon. They fear that he's too reluctant to use military force generally. And they fear he doesn't much like Israel; the extremists on this point claim he's anti-Semitic.

Let's look at these points, one by one.

It is true that Hagel once said the defense budget was "bloated” with unnecessary items. Does anyone doubt this is true? Even if sequestration is avoided, the military services are coming in for some cuts, maybe some drastic ones. That always happens after a war, and with good reason; the money spent on those wars is no longer needed. The baseline military budget (excluding the costs of the wars) amounts to $525 billion. Adjusting for inflation, that's only 7 percent less than what Ronald Reagan spent on defense at the peak of the Cold War - a time when massive Soviet tank armies were poised on the East-West German border and a nuclear arms race was spiraling out of control. It's hard to argue that we need more money for defense than we spent back then. We still face threats, but not the kinds of threats requiring massive sums on fighter aircraft, tanks, submarines, and nukes.

It's also true that Hagel isn't keen on going to war with Iran. Two things here: First, the same is true of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and most of the American people; second, ultimately, the point is irrelevant. The president makes these sorts of decisions. Obama has said that he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Some Republicans say that they don't believe him and that by picking Hagel - who would have a loud say in deliberations on the issue - the president is confirming their worst suspicions. First, they have no evidence for this claim. Second, maybe they're right; but either way, does the Senate's role of "advise and consent” include an insistence that the secretary of defense favor a policy that they believe the president opposes? Are they sure that Michele Flournoy - the former undersecretary of defense who had also been under consideration for the top job (and who was touted as the superior candidate by such neo-cons as Paul Wolfowitz) - would take a harder line on the subject? And are they really sure what Hagel's position is? For the past year, he has been co-chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, where he has won plaudits from several veteran intelligence officials for his probity and objectivity. One of these officials told me that, during discussions of intelligence on Iran's nuclear program, Hagel put no political spin on the issue.

Again, the Republicans' real problem on Iran is with Obama - or, rather, with what they think Obama stands for. In the wake of his incontestable re-election, Hagel serves as a stand-in.

On the issue of military force, Hagel is more dovish than many Republicans and perhaps some Democrats. He opposed the Iraq war, but so did Obama (then an Illinois state senator), and, as is clearer now than ever, they were right. More disturbing to some conservatives, he opposed President Bush's 2007 troop surge in Iraq. The surge and its accompanying shift in strategy did help significantly tamp down the violence in Iraq and allowed, five years later, for a dignified U.S. exit. In that sense, it "worked.” But it only bought time for the Iraqi political factions to settle their differences. (That's all that Gen. David Petraeus, the strategy's architect, ever claimed it could do.) And now it's clear that the factions didn't want to settle their differences, and so ethnic clashes have persisted, and the issues that divide the factions are no closer to settlement. Therefore, was Hagel so wrong? And, for what it's worth, Obama, now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time opposed the surge, too. Are Hagel's critics denouncing any of them? Again, they're really going after Obama.

But the bugaboo issue - the third rail when it comes to foreign policy - is Israel. As a senator, Hagel once complained to a reporter that "the Jewish lobby” intimidates many lawmakers on Capitol Hill. And he once intoned that he was a senator from Nebraska, not a senator from Israel. These may have been impolitic remarks, but they weren't false - either in strict substance or in spirit.

No one could deny that AIPAC has an overpowering influence on many lawmakers. Hagel's sin, in the eyes of some, was to call it the "Jewish lobby” instead of the "Israel lobby.” If this is a sin, AIPAC and its allies have brought it on themselves. For decades, they have thundered that criticism of Israel is thinly disguised anti-Semitism. Yet they cry "anti-Semitism” again when someone inverts the equation (which is what the phrase in question amounts to: If anti-Israel equals anti-Jewish, then pro-Israel equals pro-Jewish). As for saying that he's a senator from Nebraska, not Israel: Had he or any other senator said this about any other country ("I'm not a senator from France … England … Canada” or wherever), no one would have batted an eye. To accuse him of anti-Semitism on these grounds is to reveal a staggeringly deep paranoia - or a sensitivity far too acute to be allowed any role in American politics.

An open letter from nine former U.S. ambassadors, five of them ex-ambassadors to Israel, strongly endorses Hagel for secretary of defense and rejects as ludicrous the charge that he's anti-Semitic (as does the columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, who's perceptive on such matters). Again, the complaints about Hagel are proxy-complaints about Obama, who is denounced by these critics as soft on Israel, even though the recently retired Israeli defense minister said that Obama has done more for Israeli security than any U.S. president in recent memory.

Let's look at the real issues. Hagel is a former two-term Republican senator. He won two Purple Hearts as an infantry squad leader in Vietnam. No one could possibly dispute his devotion to the country, its security, or its armed forces. But he is a pragmatist, and there may be the rub. What Republicans seem to fear most is that by appointing Hagel as secretary of defense, Obama can claim a false bipartisanship in his national-security team. In fact, these critics say Hagel does not reflect the values or positions of the Republican Party; his presence in Cabinet meetings would not constitute real bipartisanship.

If that is true, the real problem is with the present-day Republican Party. It's often said that today's GOP wouldn't nominate Ronald Reagan for president. By the same token, much of its leadership would rail against Robert Gates for secretary of defense.


 

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+134 # grouchy 2013-01-07 23:21
Excellent piece, all points noted--and true! Bravo!
 
 
+55 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-08 09:25
Why am I suspicious? Why do I think the talk of Iran "getting a nuclear weapon" is a ruse? How much oil does Iran have? Who wants this oil? Will the Republicans please step forward and quit lying?
 
 
+16 # X Dane 2013-01-09 13:25
Grouchy.
I agree with you......But I believe there is one point I don't think any of us have considered. Hagel is a PERSONALLY very courageous man. Something that is intimidating to many in congress, who never put themselves in danger, as he did.

When a lot of men ran fast ....the other way, he enlisted and was very brave, risking his own life to save others. If I remember right, he was a sergeant, being a leader, and in front. I know, an awful lot of sergeants were killed or seriously injured

It is easy to sit back and vote for sending other people's sons and daughters to war. He will be a voice of reason, because he knows war, having been there
 
 
+3 # bigkahuna671 2013-01-11 17:48
Actually, X Dane, it's the Repub congressmen who are intimidated because most of them have NEVER served in the active military or in combat, while the Dems have seen more than half their membership serve, including women. These Fascists, and let's call them that, have always been more concerned with corporate profits driven by participation in wars. There's no war that a Repub opposes, all are supported with shouts of "National Security" and the like. Then they have their war and don't fund it, so the country goes more and more in debt. Even Reagan had his "phony" war in Grenada to take our minds off his debacle in Lebanon and the Iran-Contra scandal, then touted it as being in the "National Security" because Cuba was sending troops to the island, another of his exaggerations of facts. Hagel is also scary because he's not from the moneyed plantation-prop erty-owning types who've discovered how to make money off the American people by selling their votes to lobbyists. Ever wonder how some of them went from middle class to wealthy? He's a former ENLISTED man, not even an officer, the nerve!! He's exactly the right man for the job, one who will think before he sends out boys and girls off to fight and die in some phonied-up war!!!
 
 
+81 # ganymede 2013-01-07 23:34
(Part1)There's really a shift going on in our government. Hagel represents the best conservative values the Republican Party use to stand for, and as we're discovering, our President is much more conservative than even his left critics have claimed. Hagel will bring more sanity to our warmongering foreign policy of the recent past.
The extremist rightwing hatred for Hagel will intensify but will, obviously, fail because it is not based in reality. Obama will probably go down in history as the greatest friend Israel ever had. Already, all the sane Israeli security people are saying this is the case. Israel really has no future in the Middle East unless it makes some abrupt changes and begins to work out a way to live in peace surrounded by hundreds of millions of Muslims. A nuclear free Middle East is one of the pillars in which this will happen. Israel, like Saudi Arabia cannot remain a theocracy. Saudi Arabia will change when their oil runs low and/or the need for its oil dimishes. Israel can be the modus vivendi for how the whole Middle East modernizes. Israel has all the components for real progress - education, business, culture and a large number of progressive, educated Israelis and West Bank Arabs - and can easily become the Mecca of the whole Middle East.
 
 
+79 # ganymede 2013-01-07 23:39
(Part 2) Israel really has no future in the Middle East unless it makes some abrupt changes and begins to work out a way to live in peace surrounded by hundreds of millions of Muslims. A nuclear free Middle East is one of the pillars in which this will happen. Israel, like Saudi Arabia cannot remain a theocracy. Saudi Arabia will change when their oil runs low and/or the need for its oil dimishes. Israel can be the modus vivendi for how the whole Middle East modernizes. Israel has all the components for real progress - education, business, culture and a large number of progressive, educated Israelis and West Bank Arabs - and can easily become the Mecca of the whole Middle East. Also, most American Jews will continue to support Obama, simply because American Jews, and I'm one of them, are an advanced people and there is no alternative. Netanyahi certainly does not represent true Jewish values and can't even see the connection between Israel's treatment of Muslims and how this resembles a teeny bit the way in which the Nazis marginalized and finally exterminated the majority of European Jews. Romney and crew along with Netanyahu would have bombed Iran and caused total mayhem throughout the Middle East just like Bush/Cheney did.
 
 
+25 # X Dane 2013-01-08 15:56
ganymede.
Hallelujah!! How great to hear a Jew say what I and many others feel. Netanyahu is
a greater danger to Israel than Iran is. The way he keeps stealing the Palestinian land to build settlements is so dangerous. It makes it almost impossible for the Palestinians to get their own state.

I remember, living in Denmark during the second WW how the Jews were helped by all who knew, that they would be deported.

One thing is interesting though. I had Jewish class mates and I had no idea they were. Meyer did not mean anything to me. Jews were simply Danish citizens.

I am seriously worried that the treatment of the Palestinians could spark an angry backlash and Netanyahu would be largely to blame.
 
 
+43 # robcarter.vn 2013-01-08 00:01
NB: I suggest they both will and Isn't it great as this good read Washington Post suggests, this mix an anti-Vietnam War Veteran, a Democrat Senator head of Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate and a Vietnam Veteran a Republican Senator member of that committee who supported aims of the VN War. Just shows how astute the USA Voting public really were in choosing Obama of such wisdom to choose his Foreign Secretary and Defence secretary in such a way they have opposing views of equal experience and wisdom to debate to the end rather than declare war to end the debate.

Furthermore it will be very 2 faced to try refusing one of their own who they chose to put on Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Kerry chairmanship.
 
 
+14 # X Dane 2013-01-08 15:36
robcarter.vn.

I like to think the voters are smart, .....well at least 51 percent ARE.....Talking about percentages.... did y'all know that Romney lost the election by.....drum roll....you guessed it 47% !! Is that sweet or what??
 
 
-46 # Dion Giles 2013-01-08 00:15
If Hagel will stand up to that racist abomination maybe the open cheque will start to grow some strings.
 
 
+85 # teineitalia 2013-01-08 00:18
Spot on, Mr.Kaplan. It is Obama they rail against, not Hagel. The present day leadership of the GOP is so out-of-touch with America that they continually give this country reasons to let them go the way of the Whigs-- into the political dustbin of history. Republicans are not honest, because if they were, they would admit that many things which Obama has done stem from policies once espoused by their leadership. It is Obama the black man who would be president that they hate. In turn, their days are numbered because hate produces nothing lovely, beautiful, creative, or noteworthy. It destroys that which it occupies.
 
 
-32 # bmiluski 2013-01-08 10:30
The fact the president Obama is black does not have anything to do with the republicans hatred of him. Bill Clinton was not black and their hatred towards him was just as bad. The republicans hate Obama because he is a democrat. His being black is very incidental to most.
 
 
+31 # dkonstruction 2013-01-08 13:01
Quoting bmiluski:
The fact the president Obama is black does not have anything to do with the republicans hatred of him. Bill Clinton was not black and their hatred towards him was just as bad. The republicans hate Obama because he is a democrat. His being black is very incidental to most.


Right, like there has never been anything racist in any of the opposition to Obama....

http://socialnewsdaily.com/6041/racist-sunday-night-football-tweets-attack-president-obama-for-interrupting-game/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/opinion/sunday/political-racism-in-the-age-of-obama.html?_r=0

"His being black is very incident to most" who truly believe that we now live in a "post-racial" society. Wish it were so.
 
 
+106 # Skeptical1247 2013-01-08 00:30
The real reasons that jackasses like Lindsay Graham are attacking the Hagel nomination are these: 1. They are Republicans, and Republicans have literally pissed and moaned about every single thing that this President (did you know his father was black?) has done since taking office four years ago. Some of these jackasses are angry over his propensity for breathing, being more intelligent, better spoken, more magnanimous, having a better sense of humor, being a better singer and being suspected of having a much bigger dick than any republican. They have never NOT bitched about him, even when he embraced ideas that they used to think were really cool.
2..... actually there is no other valid reason
 
 
+10 # California Neal 2013-01-08 18:08
He's also a better basketball player than they are.

His policies tend to be those of a dwindling species known as moderate Republicans. The Affordable Care Act is based on Republican ideas. He took single payer off the table, & gave only weak support for a public option.
 
 
0 # TJGeezer 2013-01-09 08:03
Quoting California Neal:
He took single payer off the table, & gave only weak support for a public option.

Only one of many betrayals of the progressives who campaigned for him. A man who thinks his personal review before assassination or imprisonment without right of appeal makes a fine and constitutionall y valid due process is Republican in all but name. No wonder he supports the banksters.
 
 
+33 # Thebigkate 2013-01-08 00:57
To add insult to injury, the right-wing "Emergency Committee for Israel" has bought: www.chuckhagel.com for the purpose of smearing and stopping his confirmation in the Senate. Since there are several senators from AIPAC, led by Chuck Schumer, I fear they may be successful.
 
 
+15 # MidwestDick 2013-01-08 10:07
I predict Schumer will be a yes vote for Hagel. Opposition to his nomination is highly overblown. BHO and the foreign policy establishment have this appointment wired from in front.
 
 
+77 # X Dane 2013-01-08 01:14
Hagel didn't tow the line. He had the guts to say, what I think, many other republicans felt, that the Iraq war was a mistake. They may have felt it, but they were totally in lockstep with Bush.

They also hate that Obama and Hagel really like and respect each other, and no doubt can work well together.
 
 
+20 # robcarter.vn 2013-01-08 02:26
NB: I suggest they both will and Isn't it great as this good read Washington Post suggests, this mix an anti-Vietnam War Veteran, a Democrat Senator head of Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate and a Vietnam Veteran a Republican Senator member of that committee who supported aims of the VN War. Just shows how astute the USA Voting public really were in choosing Obama of such wisdom to choose his Foreign Secretary and Defence secretary in such a way they have opposing views of equal experience and wisdom to debate to the end rather than declare war to end the debate.
 
 
+13 # End Endless Wars 2013-01-08 03:05
OK... but the question is, why pander to any Republican? Are you telling me that there is no Democrat in this vast country that could do the job?
 
 
+43 # FIRSTNORN1 2013-01-08 04:01
Thanks to Fred Kaplan for a great article; most problems in the US today are the direct result of the way the Republican Party views the world and this country's roll in it.
 
 
-1 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-09 13:13
yes, but the word you want is 'role'.
 
 
+40 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-01-08 04:51
A dear friend, retired rear admiral, once said it best to me: "You'll have trouble finding more dedicated to peace and justice people than those of us who have seen and lived, firsthand, the horrors of war."

Must have the evil, villainaire rulers shaking and puking - the thought that in spite of all the caca they put out on their corporate owned and controlled 'mess medea', word of mouth is prevailing, and more and more folks and any and all and no political persuasions, here in the naive U.S. of (greed and power) A.(ddiction) are taking off the blinders, and putting on the boxing gloves, to...UNDO THE COUP !
 
 
+18 # cwbystache 2013-01-08 06:33
Not all that much trouble finding such people: look in the phone book under "Quakers".
 
 
+1 # kelly 2013-01-11 12:08
Nixon WAS a Quaker.
He was our only president who was one. Look it up.
Historical fact of the day...one day after his b-day.
 
 
+4 # flippancy 2013-01-08 05:44
My only objection about him is that he ran ESS which gave him the election when he had been far bewhind before ESS appointed him Senator.

But this isn't about that, this is right in his wheelhouse.
 
 
-18 # RMDC 2013-01-08 05:49
It is interesting that Obama would appoint a psychopath war/torture monger to head the CIA and a war skeptic to head the Pentagon. It may only show Obama's preference for covert war, as he's been pursuing in Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Mali, Congo, and many other places including all over South America. The Bush team was clearly in the Pentagon camp and loved to attack nations with total force as in Shock and Awe.

If Hegel is really skeptical of the coming war against Iran and is skeptical of Israel's role in influencing US politics, then that would be good. But I doubt that such a skeptic will be confirmed. Hegel will probably have to pledge unwavering support for Israel and its war plans in a congressional hearing.

Hegel would have to have been bought off or intimidated by AIPAC and the Israel backers in the Congress. The pro-Israel crowd like Jeffrey Goldberg will howl to the end of the earth if Hegel has not made the appropriate pledges to Israel.

This will be an interesting confirmation hearing -- if it gets that far. I would not put it beyond the Israeli fascists to intimidate him in one way or another -- even to the point of a death threat. Israeli death threats against US politicians have happened in the recent past.
 
 
+2 # Majikman 2013-01-08 09:52
RMDC, all the red thumbs are a mystery to me. I'll bet no Mossad goons are on the no fly list. The CIA pick is truly a horror show.
 
 
-8 # dbriz 2013-01-08 09:57
What is also interesting about the appointment of "...a psychopath war/torture monger to head the CIA..." are the muffled peeps of opposition from a mere handful on the left.

Brennan should awaken all the LOTE voters on the left who were telling us ad nauseam that once the election was over they were going to "hold Obama's feet to the fire".

Lefties who delight in referencing the right as "dupes" for fascism ought to be looking in the mirror on this one.
 
 
+24 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-08 10:21
Maybe Israel and the U.S. want Iran's oil.
Gerald Ford made some interesting comments. I know some people accused Gerald Ford of playing too much football without a helmet and that he was not elected president because as a center position in football Gerald Ford was used to looking at the world upside down and through his legs. But he did say one thing which he was truthful about war: "all wars are fought over natural resources." It is like a football in a football game.
 
 
+6 # MidwestDick 2013-01-08 10:22
You have contributed an important element to this dialog, but I think that name calling against Israel always raises the ire of many on this forum and it doesn't add much value to what you are saying.
Also, accusing the "Israeli fascists" of death threats is not a credible accusation absent any further documentation.
That said, your point, that Hegel and the Obama administration are not changing their mid-east policy and that that policy is almost blindly pro-Israel (and pro Likud) is a correct one. And, as you observe, the administration is not about to forgo American Military hegemony even while cutting corners by preferring covert targeted warfare to massive military destruction. So. though this tendency is obviously not peace, it does signal a move in the right direction.
I am giving you a thumb's up.
 
 
-69 # WASABIMON 2013-01-08 06:02
since i dont trust OBAMA as far as i could throw him ---i am still waiting to see the catch here
 
 
+8 # giraffee2012 2013-01-08 18:46
Quoting WASABIMON:
since i dont trust OBAMA as far as i could throw him ---i am still waiting to see the catch here

You'll die before you "see the catch" - MAYBE you can find a blog better suited to your view?
 
 
+41 # cwbystache 2013-01-08 06:22
The debate should be about how to dismantle calmly and without violence both the Pentagon and the CIA, rather than about which man should be chosen to be the CEO of either corporation.
 
 
+21 # bmiluski 2013-01-08 10:34
We might be able to do that but only IF/WHEN women were/will be in charge of the world. Til then, you'll have to put up with the Pentagon and the CIA.
 
 
+2 # X Dane 2013-01-08 14:53
bmusski.

I do think women are more reasonable,.. in most cases....BUT... How about Mrs. Thatcher??? ....She was certainly not your warm fussy and reasonable woman.

It was a terrible mistake to have so many people die and use so much money on the Falklands islands war, when England was so poor at the time...still is.

But it seems like Mr. Cameron is less hungry for war, than Mrs. Thatcher was. I believe I read recently, that he said the people should vote about which country they want to belong to.

It may not go the way president Kirchner wants. She may find that the Falklands islanders will not choose Argentina, but England, as the people of Gibraltar chose to belong to England instead of Spain, much to the displeasure of Spain.
 
 
+3 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-09 13:16
She certainly was 'fussy' but definitely not 'fuzzy'...
 
 
+1 # X Dane 2013-01-10 21:09
Oops, Cassandra...I stand corrected.
 
 
+38 # walt 2013-01-08 07:13
Fred Kaplan has made an excellent, clear and accurate assessment of the situation, especially the "antisemitic" aspect of it all.

Note who the opposition is in this appointment. One has already emerged in Lindsey Graham, the same guy who attacked Susan Rice over the Libyan incident and also for nomination as Secretary of State. Graham (who sounds more like Gomer Pyle) has routinely shown himself as a bigot and one seriously lacking in judgment. Let's watch and see the others of the GOP's parade of the mindless speak out against Hagel. Their party has established itself as idiotic and there is no reason to suspect they have changed!
 
 
+9 # X Dane 2013-01-08 15:06
walt.
You may remember that Lindsey Graham was also in the forefront of the impeachment proceedings against Clinton,... together with the guy now in charge of the NRA push the arm our teachers, (I can't remember his name)

I kept an eye on Graham, and thought, that when he became a senator, he would be more reasonable. I was stunned that when Hillary became a senator, she chose to work on some bills with Graham.

What a wise woman...I think many men would have wanted to punch his lights out.
 
 
-1 # Muffy787 2013-01-09 09:38
I have always thought Graham was a closet gay and this accounts for his frustration. A totally disgusting senator who does act and sound like Homer Pyle!!
 
 
+37 # handmjones 2013-01-08 07:51
The Jewish people in seeking rights for themselves have convinced us all that every state must be secular and tolerant of all religions. Let them do unto the Palestinians what they would have all the World do unto them.
 
 
+28 # tswhiskers 2013-01-08 10:09
Given Chuck Hagel's military and Congressional background, he seems to me an excellent choice for Defense Sec. I'm very glad that Obama, unlike the Reps., seems blind to party affiliation when choosing his Cabinet. it is a relief to me that we have a thinking politician in the WH and not a lockstep puppet in thrall to the crazy conservative thinking of today's Rep. Party. I am so grateful that Romney lost the election, esp. when we are in the midst of so many important issues right now. He would have been the perfect Rep. puppet.
 
 
+30 # CC1951 2013-01-08 11:17
Yes, it does have more to do with Obama rather than WITH Hagel. Some people are just against anything Obama proposes. That is no way to run a country. But the Repugs show they are very self-centered, not caring about the US's economic standing and are willing(& wanting) to see this country go to hell-just to prove they were 'right' about Obama. What are they THINKING ??????
 
 
+18 # X Dane 2013-01-08 15:17
CC1951.

They are ONLY thinking about pleasing and helping the rich and the corporations, that pay them,.....and keep them in office.

Promising to get people back to work??? only a ruse to get elected. they have ONLY fought to kill all efforts to help people get back to work. Obama has a bill in the house for more than a year. It would create thousands of jobs. It is not acted on.
 
 
+21 # tbcrawford 2013-01-08 11:48
Hagel, unlike most in Congress, signed up for active duty and served honorably. Courage is a virtue he's also brought to politics. As for Israel, I am furious that AIPAC should represent my views because they have money to buy votes. As a non-religious member of Jewish Voice for Peace, I question why Israel persists in submitting Palestinians to the horrible discrimination and ultimately the Holocaust they endured. There is an immense travesty here. And please people, inform yourselves about Iran. It is not a simple black and white issue but it is one in which we have our own black marks. It is about Oil!
 
 
+31 # reiverpacific 2013-01-08 11:50
"Hagel is a former two-term Republican senator. He won two Purple Hearts as an infantry squad leader in Vietnam. No one could possibly dispute his devotion to the country, its security, or its armed forces. But he is a pragmatist, and there may be the rub."[quote from article].
The rub indeed, as most of those who are agin' Hagel are chicken-hawks and cowards who avoided by hook or by crook, any kind of military service but are always at the forefront of those who send young people off as cannon-fodder to do the dirty work for their Corporate State.
'Nuff said.
 
 
+19 # ThinkRodan 2013-01-08 13:18
I'm sick of all these so-called Americans who value ISRAEL & AIPAC interests over AMERICAN INTERESTS! Israel is a small APARTHEID community of Europeans who laid claim to Palestinian Land,and were legitimized by UN decree! They are not & never were SEMITIC people;they are misplaced EUROPEANS!
 
 
+17 # California Neal 2013-01-08 18:27
I'm a nonreligious American Jew, who supports the Jewish Voice for Peace & J Street organizations. There are huge numbers of us, but we are not as organized as the right-wing AIPAC supporters, & own no Senators. We oppose Netanyahu & the settlements in disputed territory, & support a two-state solution. Most Jews ARE ethnically Semitic. And the founders of Israel were not misplaced, they were displaced--have you heard of Hitler?--when they returned to Palestine, where the Jews lived before the diaspora. Which does not excuse their treatment of Palestinian Arabs.
 
 
-18 # drew 2013-01-08 18:31
Anti-semite ignoramus
 
 
+5 # PatG 2013-01-10 17:37
As Helen Thomas, reporter extraordinaire, so aptly pointed out before she got booted out of the White House press corps for it... Tjis is what happens to courageous speakers of Truths
 
 
+22 # MsAnnaNOLA 2013-01-08 14:02
I am sorry but we need to stop acting like the President and his cabinet can declare war unilaterally. The Congress alone has the power to declare war.

We have not actually had a legally declared "war" since WWII. Everything else has been a police action because there was no war declared.

We are stupidly conducting the latest police action under the AUMF...the what? The authorization to use military force....yeah not a war declared even though every news outlet and blog will call it that.

It is open ended. We will be authorized to use military force forever unless we repeal this AUMF and insist on a proper war declaration before the force is used.
 
 
+12 # drew 2013-01-08 18:30
If (this utterly vile iteration of) the GOP hates Hagel, he MUST be the right choice!
 
 
+7 # Misterioso 2013-01-08 22:18
Bottom line:
Israel is a big piece of doo doo on America's shoe. It must, and will be scraped off.

We are witnessing the beginning of the end of the "special relationship."

George Washington was right. In his Farewell Address,he admonished his fellow citizens to steer clear of a “passionate attachment” to another nation, as it could create “the illusion of a common interest...wher e no common interest exists.”
 
 
+15 # Ellisdtripp 2013-01-08 22:43
Hagel was a grunt who had his ass in the grass in Vietnam. He understands the reality of war. He does not have his head up his as and he doesn't want the US in a permanent state of war. And he doesn't buy into this bullsh*t about Iran being our new bugaboo and understands it is the usual politics of fear used by the powers that be to coerce Americans into wars that only benefit the defense contractors. That's why they hate him.
 
 
+10 # drew 2013-01-09 07:50
Right on! I heard a great interview yesterday with a former associate of Hagel's who said that he is honest, principled and has no fear (to speak his mind) politically. He stands for paring back the (incredibly) bloated military budget (arguably THE key cause of our debt/deficit); NOT starting a reckless & counterproducti ve war w/Iran; he opposed the Iraq war (especially its prosecution) and in hindsite, was totally right; he is very pro-Israel, just not necessarily in-line with THEIR right wing; and he has 'evolved' on gay rights - the (former Hagel associate) interviewed was gay and had NO problem with this nomination on this point.
 
 
-3 # netmentor 2013-01-10 16:15
I have another even more serious concern. Hegel is behind the Biggest, most secret and most corruptable election voting machine company in the world. ES +S hass an unprecedented, unrestrained and uncheckable power to just steal our elections. In Wisconsin our ALEC republican legislature made it illegal to actually check, verify or manually count to see if the count of the paper ballots actually matches the "tabulated count" of the ES+S machines.. we CANT know unless there is an official, office wide, expensive recount.. and even THEN they only feed the ballots through the same hackable, insecure, unreliable tabulating machines Hegels company made billions selling around our country. It is already a serious breach of Democracy to have so many hundreds of Millions of ballots be unverifiable and that we just have to rely on black box voting systems like ES+S.. but to entrust the power of our elections AND the power of our military all into one mans hand.. that is a recipe for epic fascism and epic corruption. just Goofggle ES+s, election fraud or hackable election machines.. we Cant give this man our full force of Military. period.
 
 
-3 # PatG 2013-01-10 17:49
Very interesting point. This is very worrisome, as this man would never have been a Senator, had it not been for election fraud. If you doubt this, you must google a lot, perhaps visit blackboxvoting dot org, and bradblog dot com and find the statistics which clearly point to an un-winnable Hagel election- save for fraudulent counting of votes.
But guess what, real honest talk about real election fraud is NEVER allowed into national televised conversations. And NEITHER party has ever wanted to truly investigate rampant and WELL-DOCUMENTED election fraud. Very much the same with any reasonable questions about the facts surrounding the triggering event of our Endless Wars.
 
 
+2 # kelly 2013-01-11 12:39
Whoa. He served on the board between 1992-1995 and owned some stock in a parent company until about 2002. And the problems you are mentioning, occurred in 2007. I did google all of it. Hagel, the machines, manufacturers, etc. Those points are invalid.
 

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