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Monday, January 7, 2013

David Brooks, "Why Hagel Was Picked": Anti-Semitism?

Is Chuck Hagel anti-Semitic? I don't know. I've never met the man, and although I am disturbed by his reference to the "Jewish lobby" and his response to efforts to keep the USO open in Haifa, i.e. "Let the Jews pay for it" (see: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/mr-hagel-and-jews_693993.html), I am far more troubled by his complacency toward Iran, which regularly calls for the extermination of Israel; by his call for talks with Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis; and by his refusal to sign a Senate letter calling upon the EU to brand Hezbollah, which was responsible for the 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing that killed 241 American soldiers, as a terrorist organization. Among those backing Hagel's nomination is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who called on Obama to shoot down Israeli planes if they attack Iran.

However, if we are examining the issue of anti-Semitism, I am more concerned by Obama's stubborn decision to proceed with Hagel's nomination for secretary of defense, notwithstanding his questionable positions, which, according to The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/chuck-hagel-is-not-right-for-defense-secretary/2012/12/18/07e03e20-493c-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html), place him "well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him." Anyone skimming readers' comments in response to recent opinion pieces regarding Hagel in US newspapers and journals cannot fail to notice the wave of accusations of "control" and "manipulation" of US foreign policy by AIPAC, "Israel firsters" and "Zionists" that has been unleashed by this nomination. Obama surely must have known that this would be coming.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Why Hagel Was Picked" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/opinion/brooks-why-hagel-was-picked.html?_r=0), David Brooks approaches Hagel's nomination from a different angle. Brooks believes that US health care expenses are "squeezing out all other spending," including programs for children, education and the poor. With respect to the military, Brooks states that "there will have to be a generation of defense cuts that overwhelm anything in recent history." Specifically regarding the Hagel nomination, Brooks postulates:

"Chuck Hagel has been nominated to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks. If a Democratic president is going to slash defense, he probably wants a Republican at the Pentagon to give him political cover, and he probably wants a decorated war hero to boot.

All the charges about Hagel’s views on Israel or Iran are secondary. The real question is, how will he begin this long cutting process?"

Hagel will provide "cover" for future cutting by Obama of the defense budget? Maybe. But my guess is that this symbiosis extends much further and deeper. Hagel represents everything that Obama, a radical wolf in moderate sheep's clothing, could not say during his first term in office, including an underlying hostility to Israel and a desire to avoid confrontation with Iran, even if should it be days away from building its first atomic weapon.

Note that Ed Koch, who supported Obama's re-election, is now admitting that Obama is no friend of Israel (http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/01/07/ed-koch-on-chuck-hagel-nomination-obamas-reneging-on-his-conveyed-support-for-israel-has-come-earlier-than-i-thought/):

“Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when [Obama] would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel,” said Koch, adding, “it comes a little earlier than I thought it would.”

Given the storm surrounding Hagel's nomination, it is remarkable how much political capital Obama is willing to spend to make Hagel, a Vietnam war hero with dubious administrative and executive talents, his next secretary of defense.

5 comments:

  1. Yes, Chuck Hagel is an antisemite (I know what I am talking about - expertise) and it looks like he was chosen because of that.
    Now, when Obama can be "flexible."
    When the Democrats promote antisemitic and anti-gay, poorly qualified REPUBLICAN, you can't explain the situation differently. It must be antisemitism.
    I am trying to imagine future campaigns of the "all embracing" "rainbow" and tolerant party. I am going to be the first to bring Hagel into picture.

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  2. Yesterday, I listened for a second to our chief demagogue babbling about dirt and mud of the war, rationalizing his nomination of Hagel.
    Well, I am all against dirt and mud of wars and against all wars in general, but the fact that Hagel's qualifications are limited to experiencing this dirt and mud makes me extremely uncomfortable. My own mother experienced as a very young nurse real mud and dirt of the most tragic war, but I am the first to admit that she probably wouldn't have been the best secretary of defense.
    Something tells me, that Hagel isn't the only person in America with this mud and dirt experience, so it's possible that other factors, not mentioned by our chief of manipulation, were decisive.

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  3. Ed Koch passed away this morning, February 1, 2013. He was an American patriot, a proud Jew and a true friend of Israel who wasn't scared to speak his mind when it came to confronting Antisemitism. Yehi Zichron Baruch.

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  4. Why is it when someone speaks against zionist activity they are label anti-semitic are you above reproach? Are you not held accountable for misleading lies, and deeds? Does the people of Iran, Iraq, Palestine and the Islamic world have a right too life as israeli does? Do you hold one life more valuable than the other? Do they have a right to life as everyone else? I applause the President for not being completely control by aipac and his nomination of Chuck Hagel. These same people label Pres.Carter and Pres.Clinton anti-semitic until Mr. Clinton came back to the lobbyist fold. American are getting sick of certain group of people that we give billion of US dollar too, stand on your own and we are sick of going into these senseless wars for an unjust invasion of other territory fight your own unjust wars, your lives are not more important than our troop lives.

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  5. Hey, Shaker, what is "Zionist" activity? I'm curious: How do you link Israel to American involvement in Afghanistan? Or American involvement in Iraq? (My guess is that you also blame Israel for American involvement in Vietnam.)

    And by the way, Israel does fight its own wars.

    Do the people of Iran, for example, have a right to (not "too") life? Absolutely. And it's a pity that they stone to death women, hang homosexuals, imprison Baha'is, torture persons daring to oppose the government, oppress Kurds, and discriminate against Sunni Muslims.

    I suggest that before venting additional ignorant rage, that you begin by learning a bit about the travesty of "honor killings" in the Muslim Middle East.

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