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Moore writes: "Chuck Hagel. We may not agree on much, but we agree that politicians should tell the truth about war and peace and life and death."

Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images)
Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images)

Chuck Hagel Told the Truth About Iraq

By Michael Moore, Open Mike

05 January 13


ou might have seen that on Monday President Obama will likely nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, to be Secretary of Defense.

But what you probably haven't seen - because everyone has forgotten - is that back in 2007, Chuck Hagel went totally crazy and told the truth about our invasion of Iraq. Here's what he said:

"People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America's national interest. What the hell do you think they're talking about? We're not there for figs."

Whew! Wouldn't it put a spring in your step to read the news each morning and see Hagel's name? If he's willing to say that about Iraq, who knows what he'll bust out with next! He might mention that the sky is blue, or two plus two equals four...or even that we should change the name of the Department of Defense back to what it was before World War II - the Department of War.

Now, I'm not saying Hagel is the best qualified choice for Secretary of Defense. (That would be Andrew Bacevich.) I'm not even saying he's the best qualified Senator or ex-Senator. (There are 19 of those - the surviving senators who voted against invading Iraq in the fall of 2002. Hagel voted yes.)

But what I am saying is: thank you, Chuck Hagel. We may not agree on much, but we agree that politicians should tell the truth about war and peace and life and death. We're all in your debt for that - especially since, when it comes to Iraq and oil, President Obama's first Republican Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, couldn't manage it. your social media marketing partner


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+90 # DaveM 2013-01-05 12:44
Rudyard Kipling "told the truth" about the Middle East more than 100 years ago. Strange that no one paid attention then, and no one is now.
+63 # ER444 2013-01-05 14:44
"Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die." How right you are Dave. How did Peter, Paul and Mary put it? "When they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?" Let's hope Mr. Hagel will help bring our young people home. It is time to "reason why" and question the powers that be and to "learn" that playing police and sending our young people everywhere in the world breeds hate and mistrust!
+44 # Interested Observer 2013-01-05 16:33
"Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die."

The "and" is critical to the meaning. Doing is not an alternative to dying in this setting.

The credit for "When they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?" belongs to Pete Seeger in 1955. Well known covers are the Kingston Trio 1961, Peter, Paul and Mary 1962, and Marlene Dietrich in English, French and German 1962 and later, among many.
+17 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-01-05 22:28
note, 'Theirs not to reason why...' is from Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade.
+56 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-05 15:44
Rupert Murdoch (The infamous Prince of News Corp)was selling the idea of war because "when we win, oil will come down to 20 dollars a barrel." Suppose the U.S. and allied forces did take over Iraq's oil and oil contracts, which they did, who was the recipient of the oil and oil contracts? We, as citizens have a right to know if Bush,Cheney and his murderous thugs now control Iraqi oil exports and profits there of. This one idea Michael Moore is not addressing. And he should address this idea.
+23 # RMDC 2013-01-06 08:41
The point of war is to keep the price of oil as high as possible. In a world of peace, the price of oil would come down to near production costs, which in the middle east are very small (4 to 10 dollars a barrel). All commodity prices would move toward cost of production, transportation, and investment. That would be a nightmare for capitolism.

The reason the US went to war all over the earth is not for oil but rather because the US is an empire. It must go to war, destroy nations, colonize people, and attempt to convert the world into an image of itself. The ruling elite in the US are imperialists and they cannot do anything other than attempt to master people. The rest of the world knows this -- they've been on the bad end of British, French, Dutch, and etc. imperialism for 500 years. It is only the turn of the US now to be the criminal nation.

War keeps the prices of everything up. You really have to add in to the price of a barrel of oil the cost of the US wars around the world to control the supply of oil.
+3 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-01-06 05:12
How the evil villinaire rulers, a.k.a. the war, war, war for $$$$$ and total control over and enslavement of all Bushwhackers and Kochsuckers, must hate and wish to shut up brilliant, talented truth tellers like Michael Moore. Guess that's why Navy Seals are the security guards for this so brave and determined saintly Irish devil.

At Michael's urging, hold my nose and vote for Oh Bomb Ah I did. And now, as Michael directed, it's time to push like there's no tomorrow (no duh!) on this disappointing plus Pres.. Ain't easy to get him to get out of continuation of the Bushwhacking puppet whore m.o., (i.e. his signing vs. vetoing of two NDAA's that quelch basic, essential rights. Cannot be allowed to have liberty and justice for all and stoppage of the longtime coming MIC/terrorism corporate takeover (recall Ike's warning?) now can we?

Push, Michael, push on this Pres., with great gusto. The future of our kids/future generation, and this world and its survival are at stake.
-9 # RLF 2013-01-06 08:08
Exactly! This is just the kind of republican asshole that I've come to expect from Obama.
0 # Polar Bear 2013-01-06 19:09
What did Kipling say?
+111 # corallady 2013-01-05 13:16
If Hagel continues to tell truth to power--about war and peace, about Israel and Palestine, about needs and non-needs at the Pentagon, about whether we should have a Department of Defense or, more factually, a Department of War, about whether the U.S. should be arming the world and poking its nose into the affairs of other countries, he will get thumbs up from me even though he is a Republican. We desperately need some truth-telling about our so-called foreign policies.
+61 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-05 15:46
Will Hagel tell the truth about who now owns Iraqi oil and Iraqi oil contracts? Bush and Cheney, Halliburton and associates?
+13 # chomper2 2013-01-05 17:11
I'm with you coralady, but I'm not holding my thumb in my behind. I do also like Moore's other pipe dream: Bacevich for SecDef.
+41 # Eisnera 2013-01-05 13:29
Look up Chuck Hagel on blackboxvoting. org and in the book Blackbox Voting by Bev Harris. You'll find in a chapter titled " Poster Boy for conflict of interest, " it shows that in 1996 when Hagel unexpectedly swept into office as the first GOP senator "elected" in Nebraska in 24 years, over extremely popular war hero, Ben Nelson, that just weeks before he announced his campaign, he led an electronic voting company - the black box company with hidden "proprietary " programming that could create any desired results programmers - not voters - wanted. It.s the same company that "counted" his votes in that "upset" that was (and is) unsupported by statistics and polls; (and that company AIS was direct forerunner of today's nationwide sweep of vote "counting" - ES&S.
I don't care what Hagel professes to believe to try to persuade his own standing and popular following. Absolutely NO! - I would not like to daily wake up to his self-interested untruths. No spring in step or warm fuzzy feelings here.....
+33 # susienoodle 2013-01-05 13:33
I agree, and also agree Andrew Bacevich would be great, but he'd never get through the confirmation process. At least Obama didn't cave as easily as he did re Susan Rice. So refreshing to have someone telling us the truth, so rare, but so appreciated by me.
+32 # tclose 2013-01-05 16:56
Agree with your, and Michael's, nomination of Andrew Bachewich - he has the bonafides being and Vietnam War vet and a distinguished military career. As a second career, a remarkable historian who is not afraid to speak the truth - not from time to time as Sen. Hagel has, but continually.

As a result, you may be right that he would have a hard time getting through confirmation. Too bad, he would be great.
+61 # James Marcus 2013-01-05 13:36
Today, Truth Telling, sharing the actuality of what is going on, including all motives, is a rare event. As if words, themselves, were not inherently 'slippery' enough, we have added, deliberate obfuscation, impertinent 'secrecy' and even elaborately orchestrated misrepresentati on.
Neither the Media nor any Government employees are held to any measure of Truth
The Wolves are loose in the Henhouse!
And we are getting exactly what we accept from them, violent chaos, and mayhem. Constitutional Violation without consequence (yet), War without end and an Empty Treasury.
Welcome to Rule by the Military Industrial Complex
+20 # Dotty 2013-01-05 13:36
Can't believe a senator said that, big cheer for him.
+6 # dawn99 2013-01-05 13:59
DaveM, Please, will you help me find the Kipling quote on the subject. I'd love to read it
+3 # MindDoc 2013-01-05 21:04
I wonder what Dave has in mind, too. Most famously, probably, Kipling said “East is East. West is West. And n’er the twain shall meet.” Not so helpful or illuminating (this quote) ... And not of the 21st Century, either, Kipling. Time and context do matter.
+9 # Anarchist 23 2013-01-05 21:19
I believe it was Tennyson and the poem was about the charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War of 1855-'Into the Valley of Death rode the Six Hundred, cannons to the right of them, cannons to the left of them, cannons in front of them, volleyed and thundered, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die,' More or less accurately quoted from memory.
+21 # walt 2013-01-05 14:07
Chuck Hagel does seem an excellent choice. I do agree with Mike, however, that Andrew Bacevich would also be an excellent Secretary of Defense. He is a retired Army colonel, a university professor, author and sadly a victim of Iraq war loss.

Let's watch and see the lobbies at work here! Hagel does not like the USA using war as a first choice and he also does not want us controlled by Israel's demands for war. Now this ought to be interesting. Any bets?
+36 # Peace Anonymous 2013-01-05 14:17
Iraq, Afghanistan, Honduras, Columbia, Chile, Vietnam, etc. etc. etc. If you only knew the truth you would never stand for it. And the cost for the military is your tax burden while those at the top simply deal with the profit. Does anyone know where Halliburton's International Office is? Do your homework.
-113 # Doc E 2013-01-05 14:51
Overwight loafs like Moore has no biz giving his opinion or attempting to be an authority because he's not qualified about anything. Ignore Moore.
+5 # rockieball 2013-01-06 12:05
Would you include Rush Limbaugh in this? I doubt it. Or maybe any talking head on Fox News.
+20 # frederico 2013-01-05 14:58
Michael, When are you going to start telling the whole Truth? I once thought you were a revolutionary, and I admired your films, and I looked forward to hearing you speak on Democracy Now, and reading your commentaries, etc. But, your wishy washy support for Obama and Hagel and the Democrats tells a different story, which is very disappointing to me. Do you not understand that the U.S. government/mili tary/industrial complex is the leading cause and perpetrator of the destruction of the environment, the atmosphere, safe and organic food, healthy social structures, and practically everything that is good on Planet Earth, and beyond? I believe we must call for an end to the madness, NOW! It may already be too late for our species, but I'm an Apocaloptimist, and I believe that we must raise mass consciousness immediately and rapidly if we are to have a chance for a bright future. I'm not ruling out that possibility yet. How about urging your fans and readers to support a Dept. of Peace, instead of apologizing for and kissing the asses of war criminals and the architects of our current demise. ameRikA is a failed experiment, get over it. Tell the truth that our species has already entered the 6th mass extinction in planetary history, and that if we continue supporting the choices of "lesser" evils, then we are responsible for the suicide, fratricide and genocide of the human race, by the human race. We need to hear the real Truth, not your lesser weakness.
+3 # in deo veritas 2013-01-06 10:49
BRAVO! So well stated! No amount of apologizing for the adoption of everything evil by this country will save it from divine retribution. It is past the time when "God Bless America" is being heard.
+30 # giraffee2012 2013-01-05 15:08
Has it occurred to anyone else? Congress (especially the House) is a bunch of "drama queens" - They are so self-involved they cannot even know what truth is (in the end)

Their dramas are to cover up agendas that are crimes.
+31 # vhftpm 2013-01-05 16:18
I worked directly under Chuck when he was the Asst. Administrator of the US Veterans Administration in the 80's under the Reagan Administration. He was very aware of the needs of military personnel and veterans having served as a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. Unlike other possible candidates for the position, he knows intimately the effects and cost of war on our military and on this country. He also has seen and heard the false justifications made for our move toward war. We need him in that position.
+17 # harbormon 2013-01-05 16:49
I agree with you, Federico. We need to hold our President (who I voted for on both occasions) his Cabinet, advisors and judicial appointments to the highest possible standards that have alway been reflected in our Democratic Party mission, goals and ideals, that is until 2008. Even Michael is giving Obama a free pass on our current warrantless invasion of privacy, loss of due process and of habeus corpus, let alone the police state mentality that is permeating even small communities and is the rule of the day in urban centers.
+6 # in deo veritas 2013-01-06 10:52
And hold them all accountable for covering up the crimes committed by their predecessors. In legal terms, they have become accomplices and will be judged as such by a judge that has not been appointed or elected and cannot be bribed.
+24 # bobby t. 2013-01-05 16:49
The congress just passed a defense budget bill of almost 700 billion dollars for this year. It contained language to retain Guantanamo and the less than two hundred prisoners. Obama said he didn't want it, but signed the bill. Interesting to me how fast that Sob bill was passed. What the hell happened to spending cuts the gop raves about? What happeded to obama cutting the mililtary budget? Yes, I understand the jobs in places like california which are dems country. But why is everything about votes? Where are the portraits in courage? No one talks about the 1,000 American military bases all over the world. How about closing half of them. They are not there to help the people of that country. They are there to protect American corporations, like the Fruit companies, etc. Close them and help our people who are going to be wage slaves like the Dutch did back when they were selling herrings. Poor people certainly help the rich get richer!
+15 # chrisconnolly 2013-01-05 20:24
Or maybe if we just closed most of the elaborate golf courses the military maintains at our expense for the now too many officers that never see any action or do anything but draw military pay, benefits, travel, and retirement.
-16 # bobby t. 2013-01-05 16:52
wrote a comment on the bottom. give it a few hours and then come back to read and see the responses to my comment. some readers actually read what i have to say. never got a letter back from Moore however. bobby t.
-9 # DrEvel1 2013-01-05 16:59
Hegel is a committed homophobe whose appointment would signal to the elements of the military that are still firmly committed to the exclusion of LGBT people from the ranks that they can continue their campaigns of intimidation and restriction with support from the highest levels of the Department. I admire his thoughts about Iran/Iraq, but he'd be only one voice in an Administration still firmly committed to the neocon agenda. In terms of internal DoD issues, however, he would play a much more dominant role, directly threatening the implementation of one of the relatively few progressive achievements of this Administration in the military domain. Scary!
+13 # fredboy 2013-01-05 17:58
Iraq fit the ideal business launch guidelines--cre ate a real or false need, swarm the concept with fallacious reasoning and emotional tags, then generate dedicated suppliers who will depend on the business's perpetuation. Link supplier and employee loyalties, thus they put shared reward systems at the forefront. And cite false risks to preserve brand loyalty and support.

Worked like a charm. And so highly profitable. All because dumb shit, chicken shit Americans fell for it or were afraid to speak up.
-6 # bobby t. 2013-01-05 18:48
so was obama until recently. was politically correct in the black churches.he has apologized but you can not uncumple a piece of paper after you step on it. so yes, doc, you be right.
+8 # cwbystache 2013-01-05 19:19
Yes, Michael, you're right, we'll all in Hagel's debt, especially for his having voted yes to go into Iraq. Lemme see ... how much did that war cost, again? How long will will it take us to pay off that debt we're so into because of him, and others like him? How much will we be in debt to him with the war(s) he'd be yet to drag us into?
+14 # genierae 2013-01-05 19:30
I love you Michael Moore. But I think we should rename it the Department of Peace.
+1 # kyzipster 2013-01-06 08:43
Mr Moore, would you be so complimentary of Hagel if he had a recent record of blatant racism?

Many people are finally coming to understand that homophobia is no different than other forms of bigotry that we no longer tolerate. There's nothing wrong with pointing out a rare instance of Republican honesty like you're doing here but this article reads as an endorsement with no mention of his undeniable anti-LGBT record.

I don't believe we need a homophobic Secretary of Defense to oversee the integration of lesbians and gays serving openly in the military.
+1 # werker 2013-01-07 14:44
I am with RMDC above. Oil prices have always been artificially manipulated! The Mother Load was discovered in the Middle East a long time ago. Their fields were easy to extract from and the crude is sweet. Unrest, war and the appearance of scarcity are good for the Oil Goons. Espescially the Saudi's!

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