Tuesday, July 10, 2012

587 Chomsky, Trots & Anarchists ignore Lobby humiliation of Hagel. AIPAC demands aid to Israel be exempt from Sequestration

Chomsky, Trots & Anarchists ignore Lobby humiliation of Hagel. AIPAC
demands aid to Israel be exempt from Sequestration

Newsletter published on 3-3-2013

(1) Chomsky, & most Trot & Anarchist sites say nothing about Lobby
campaign to stop Hagel confirmation
(2) WSWS Trots cover Hagel confirmation, "Jewish lobby" issue, but
without attesting Lobby's power
(3) Lobby demands that aid to Israel be exempt from Sequestration
(4) AIPAC To Hill: Don't Touch Israel Aid
(5) Shadow of Hagel clouds annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington
(6) Upcoming AIPAC conference in Washington sparks protests
(7) Alan Sabrosky on Hagel in the Dock: The Aipac Dog Bites A Man
(8) Hagel offers himself as secretary of Israel’s defense
(9) Retired top Generals McChrystal, Hayden and Clark back Hagel
(10) Anti-Hagel cartoon By MATT WUERKER
(11) Secret Donors Finance Fight Against Hagel
(12) What to Ask Chuck Hagel About Iran's Nuclear Threat - John Bolton

(1) Chomsky, & most Trot & Anarchist sites say nothing about Lobby
campaign to stop Hagel confirmation

- Peter Myers, March 3, 2013

Today, I did a search of "Left" sites to see which had covered the
Lobby's campaign to stop Hagel's confirmation, and its humiliation of
him during committee questioning.

These are sites which do cover the Palestinian and Middle East issues,
so one would expect that they would not avoid mentioning the Lobby's
power when it is on display - given that the whole purpose of the Lobby
is to alter or control US policy in those areas.

The name "Hagel" is uncommon, so searches of websites are easy.

TheTrotskyist/Anarchist site Red Pepper - probably the leading "Left"
site in the UK - made no mention of the matter. Hagel was only mentioned
in an article some years old.

Socialist Worker, the leading Trotskyist news/magazine site in the US,
made no mention of the matter.

Green Left Weekly, Australia's leading Trotskyist news outlet, made no
mention of the matter.

The Barcelona Anarchists website made no mention of the matter.

Chomsky made no comment on the matter.

A search in Google News on "chomsky hagel" yielded 10 hits, none of
which featured a comment by Chomsky on the Hagel nomination & the Lobby.
Chomsky thus avoid evidence which refutes his thesis.

Reader, you might like to search more "Left" sites, and let me know the
results. Do not send me bulky emails on this. Just the link, the nature
of the site, and the results. Do the work yourself; just send me the

Stalinist sites, eg Global Research and Petras, DO cover the matter.

(2) WSWS Trots cover Hagel confirmation, "Jewish lobby" issue, but
without attesting Lobby's power


US Defense nominee Hagel bows to right on Israel, Iran and militarism

By Bill Van Auken

2 February 2013

Thursday’s Senate confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel at times assumed
the tone of an inquisition, with Obama’s nominee for defense secretary
pushed to recant previous positions critical of Israel and swear his
support for unbridled US militarism.

Hagel, a Vietnam veteran and former two-term Republican senator from
Nebraska, did his best to present himself as an unwavering proponent of
the use of American armed might around the globe.

In his opening statement, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee:
"My overall world view has never changed: that America has and must
maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead the
international community to confront threats and challenges together, and
take advantage of opportunities together; that we must use all our tools
of American power to protect our citizens and our interests."

While echoing the Obama administration’s claims about ending the US war
in Afghanistan, Hagel declared his backing for a continued occupation of
the country by thousands of US troops past the formal 2014 withdrawal
deadline. He stressed that there would be "two functions for US troops
that remain in Afghanistan after 2014: counterterrorism, particularly to
target Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and training and advising Afghan
He vowed that Washington would continue to conduct its global war on
terrorism "in places like Yemen, Somalia, and North Africa" and argued
that the Pentagon must continue "to invest in and build the tools to
assist in that fight, such as special operations forces and new
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance technologies."
He also declared his commitment to keeping "all options on the table"—a
euphemism for war—in the bellicose campaign against Iran over its
nuclear program.

Hagel went on to declare his support for maintaining Israel’s
"qualitative military edge" in the Middle East, modernizing the US
nuclear weapons arsenal and preparing for "future threats and
challenges"—meaning China—by "rebalancing [US] resources towards the
Asia-Pacific region."

While Democratic members of the Senate committee for the most part
worked to bolster this image of Hagel as representing seamless
continuity with the military policies of his predecessors, Leon Panetta
and Robert Gates, some of the nominee’s former Republican colleagues
grilled him relentlessly. They cited Hagel’s previous statements and
votes which they suggested, exposed him as insufficiently loyal to
Israel, soft on Iran and unsupportive of the war in Iraq.

In particular, they cited an interview that Hagel gave for a book by
former State Department official Aaron David Miller, in which he stated:
"The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. I am not an
Israeli senator. I am a US Senator. This pressure makes us do dumb
things at times."

These statements, and others criticized during the hearing, reflected
concern within sections of the political establishment that absolute
support for Israel and the most reckless actions in the Middle East
could be harmful to the interests of American imperialism. Hagel has in
the past advocated a more measured policy, but this is a position that
is now completely marginalized.

In the course of his testimony, Hagel backed off from his statement,
repeatedly reiterating his support for Israel and saying he regretted
using the term "Jewish lobby" instead of "Israeli lobby" and
"intimidate" instead of "influence." Several Democrats also pushed him
to provide clarity on his unconditional support for Israel.

This proved far too little for South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey
Graham, who insisted repeatedly that Hagel name individuals who were
influenced by the Israeli lobby. Hagel refused. "I can’t give you an
example," he replied. If Hagel had been honest, he would have cited this
interrogation itself and his own capitulation.
Hagel faced a similar browbeating from Arizona Republican Senator John
McCain over his opposition to the 2007 "surge" in Iraq. While voting to
authorize the war in 2002, Hagel became a critic of the Bush
administration’s policy in Iraq. He also failed to support McCain in the
2008 presidential contest with Obama.

McCain repeatedly interrupted Hagel, demanding a "yes or no" answer to
whether he had been right or wrong to oppose the surge.

Hagel refused to provide such a response, stating that he would "defer
that judgment to history," referring to the operation that claimed the
lives of an untold number of Iraqis and 1,200 US troops. If Hagel had
ventured to suggest that he had been right, it would have likely sunk
his nomination, as the supposed "success" of the surge is accepted
wisdom by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Others pilloried Hagel for, among other things: refusing to sign a 2001
letter from the Senate solidarizing itself with Israel and condemning
the Palestine Liberation Organization and its leader Yassir Arafat,
failing to vote for a 2007 resolution branding the Iranian Revolutionary
Guard Corps (part of the Tehran government) as a terrorist organization,
and for referring to the Israeli assault on Lebanon in 2006 as a
"sickening slaughter."
Most Washington analysts predict that despite the virulent hostility
expressed by leading Republicans on the committee, Hagel’s nomination
will be approved by the full Senate. If any Republican moved to block
the nomination by means of a procedural maneuver, at least five
Republicans would have to join with the Democratic majority to achieve
the 60-vote majority needed to prevent a vote on the nomination from
being blocked.
Whatever the case, the nomination hearing proved a spectacle of
self-debasement in which Hagel sought to disassociate himself from the
few positions he had taken as a senator that distinguished him from his
fellow Republican—and Democratic—reactionaries. It likewise provided an
unmistakable demonstration of the sharp shift to the right of the entire
US political establishment and its unwavering commitment to militarism
and war.

(3) Lobby demands that aid to Israel be exempt from Sequestration

MJ Rosenberg <mjayrosenbergblog@gmail.com> 2 March 2013 03:29

Lobby To Get Israel Exempted From Sequestration

by M.J. Rosenberg

Friday, 01 March 2013


Douglas Bloomfield, who served as AIPAC’s chief lobbyist for more than a
decade, reports this week that the lobby intends to insist that the
United States not include Israel’s $3 billion grants package in the
sequester that goes into effect today. Writing in the New York Jewish
Week, Bloomfield says:

{q} At a time when sequestration is about to take a big bite out of the
Pentagon budget, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
will be sending thousands of its citizen lobbyists to Capitol Hill next
week to make sure Israel is exempted from any spending cuts.

This could prove a very risky strategy at a time when millions of
Americans will be feeling the bite of the sequestration debacle, from
the defense budget to the school lunch program.

But not aid to Israel, which will be untouched if AIPAC gets its way.

At one time I wouldn’t have believed AIPAC would dare try something this
nervy.That is it because traditionally AIPAC has been very cautious
about not taking actions that suggested putting Israel’s interests over
America’s. Demanding that Israel be exempt from cuts that virtually
every American will feel seems so counterproductive as to almost be
suicidal for the lobbying powerhouse.

Nonetheless, everything I hear indicates that Bloomfield is right
although I doubt AIPAC will have the gall to insist on insulating AIPAC
from the cuts that will occur in this year’s budget. More likely, it
will wait until Congress is putting the 2014 cuts in place (there is
more Congressional discretion in allotting the pain after 2013) before
demanding not just that Israel go to the head of the line but that it
not be forced to stand in the line at all.

No matter when Israel is exempted, and by how much, it is wrong and
would represent nothing more than another power play by the lobby. After
all, a cut of $175 million out of a $3 billion U.S. grant is nothing
that Israel can’t handle. Besides, since when is any foreign aid gift
automatic, so automatic that it is provided whether the donor can afford
it or not. Even teenagers don’t demand a car when his parents are filing
for bankruptcy. Additionally, if aid to Israel (thelargest chunk of the
foreign aid budget) is protected, mandated sequestration cuts will have
to be proportionately increased on other recipients, primarily African
countries which receive much needed development assistance (hunger,
poverty, disease prevention) .

But that’s AIPAC or, to use the more encompassing term, the Israel
lobby. At its conference this week it will, if Bloomfield is right, not
only demand that Israel be exempt from sequestration, but also that
Congress enact legislation declaring that Israel is a "major strategic

That is a designation not enjoyed by any other nation, JTA [the Jewish
Telegraphic Agency] pointed out, noting it may be a step toward the goal
of some conservatives of divorcing assistance to Israel from all other
foreign aid spending.

But all this is nothing compared to the centerpiece of AIPAC’s lobbying
activities this coming week. According to theDaily Beast, the lobby will
also dispatch its 13,000 delegates to Capitol Hill to promote a
resolution on Iran that is being introduced by Senator Bob Menendez
(D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The resolution "urges that, if the
Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in
self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and
provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of
Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence."

In other words, if Israel goes to war with Iran we are at war too.

Daily Beast quotes Columbia University professor, Gary Sick, who says
that the effect of the resolution would be to authorize Israel to decide
when and if the U.S. goes to war. "This legislation would effectively
entrust that decision to a regional state…. Such a decision is an
American sovereign responsibility. It cannot be outsourced."

I don’t know what can get AIPAC off this dangerous course. Surely it
understands, as the Forward reported this week, that the idea that the
lobby runs U.S. foreign policy is now even the staple of popular culture
as demonstrated in February alone on Saturday Night Live, the Kevin
Spacey miniseries "House of Cards" and at the Academy Awards.

As one who believes that the lobby is a bad influence in American life,
I suppose I should be glad that the lobby’s overreaching is finally
being taken note of. On the other hand, I don’t like it. The Lobby,
despite its claims, does not speak for most American Jews, not by a long
shot. (In 2008, the American Jewish Committee poll found that just 3
percent of Jews cast their votes with their focus on Israel, findings
that were repeated in a Florida only poll in 2012).Moreover, there is no
indication that those Jews most focused on Israel share AIPAC’s (an
organization with just 100,000 members) hard line approach.

Nonetheless, AIPAC’s aggressiveness tars us all, and Israel too. I
recall back in 1973, when Israel was attacked by Egypt and Syria on Yom
Kippur, America rushed to its aid, saving the country from possible
collapse. Few questioned that doing so was the right thing to do. But
that was before its lobby became a punch line in jokes about Jewish
power, jokes that – as the case of Chuck Hagel demonstrated – are not
fabricated out of thin air.

The lobby has outlived its usefulness. Its work no longer helps make
Jews or Israel more secure. In fact, it accomplishes the opposite. It’s
time for Israel to finally do what Yitzhak Rabin tried to: divest itself
of the lobby.

(4) AIPAC To Hill: Don't Touch Israel Aid


02/27/2013 - 18:38

Douglas Bloomfield

At a time when sequestration is about to take a big bite out of the
Pentagon budget, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
will be sending thousands of its citizen lobbyists to Capitol Hill next
week to make sure Israel is exempted from any spending cuts.

This could prove a very risky strategy at a time when millions of
Americans will be feeling the bite of the sequestration debacle, from
the defense budget to the school lunch program.

But not aid to Israel, which will be untouched if AIPAC gets its way.

This resolution could easily backfire and damage Israel far more than
any cuts in its very generous grant aid program.

With no agreement between the administration and Congressional
Republicans by March 1, sequestration will kick in.

The 13,000 expected AIPAC activists will be telling Congress not to
touch Israel's $3-billion-plus annual security assistance and to vote
for legislation declaring the Jewish state a "major strategic ally."

That is a designation not enjoyed by any other nation, JTA pointed out,
noting it may be a step toward the goal of some conservatives of
divorcing assistance to Israel from all other foreign aid spending.

AIPAC's annual policy conference begins Sunday and culminates Tuesday
with personal visits by constituents to hundreds of members of the House
and Senate.

They will also be urging Congress to enact more stringent sanctions on
Iran and press the administration for tougher measures to thwart
Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Part of that effort will be lobbying for
support for a non-binding resolution urging the president to back Israel
"it it is compelled to act against the Iranian nuclear threat," JTA

Look for opposition in Congress from lawmakers who see this as virtually
requiring the United States to surrender to Israel the decision on
whether to go to war with Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will address the gathering by
video link from Jerusalem where he is trying to cobble together a new
government, has stressed that Iran poses the greatest existential threat
to the Jewish state.

That message will be delivered in person by outgoing Israeli Defense
Minister Ehud Barak.

Vice President Joe Biden will address the group and can be expected to
stress the administration's "rock solid" support for Israel and to
reiterate its determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

As for the peace process with the Palestinians, never a popular topic
for the group, JTA's headline noted, "Palestinians aren't even mentioned
in agenda for confab." Look for the usual lip service, but don't look
for any light between AIPAC and Netanyahu, as usual.

(5) Shadow of Hagel clouds annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington


Annual AIPAC party gathers in Washington under clouds of uncertainty and
shadows of Hagel

After the Hagel conflagration and before the Obama visit, with no
Israeli coalition and a new U.S. Administration, the policy part of the
conference will be akin to groping in the dark

By Chemi Shalev | 01:30 03.03.13 | 7

Over 12,000 enthusiastic delegates are expected to descend on Washington
on Sunday for what may very well be the greatest pro-Israeli show on
earth – the annual Policy Conference of the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC.

The full text is available for subscribers & registered users.

(6) Upcoming AIPAC conference in Washington sparks protests


Saturday Mar 02, 2013 01:15 PM GMT

Colin Campbell, Press TV, Washington

An upcoming conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
-AIPAC- in Washington is sparking protests in the U-S. Protesters
gathered outside the headquarters of AIPAC to raise awareness about
Israel’s influence on U-S politics. Press TV’s Colin Campbell has the story.

Just minutes into a demonstration outside of the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee headquarters more commonly known as "AIPAC," DC police
and protesters got into a bit of scuffle causing Barbara Briggs-Letson
of California to fall to the ground.

Barbara said she was uninjured and later resolved her differences with
the officer involved in the melee. AIPAC is holding its annual policy
conference in the coming days. Protesters say that
AIPAC and allied groups have pushed for policies that include bombing
Iran, going to war with Iraq, expanding settlements in the occupied West
Bank, as well as human rights violations.

Demonstrators marched in mock settlements built from cardboard and with
a puppet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Other signs
symbolized an Israeli-built apartheid wall in occupied territories.

Protesters say they are frustrated by the ongoing tensions between
Palestinians and Israelis. They have pushed for lawmakers to block money
given to AIPAC and other

Activist groups are urging a change in Washington’s approach which they
say mixes money and politics to a dangerous level. They point to Chuck
Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense, who had been outspoken
about the Israeli influence.

This protest kicks off a weekend of actions against AIPAC. CODEPINK and
other groups will resume their campaign early next week to call
attention to the influence of the Israeli lobby over Congress and urge
Americans to try and stop it.

(7) Alan Sabrosky on Hagel in the Dock: The Aipac Dog Bites A Man


Hagel In The Dock: The Aipac Dog Bites A Man

by Alan Sabrosky on 02/22/2013

The doings in the US Senate over the nomination of former Senator Chuck
Hagel to be Secretary of Defense are illustrative of many things, not
all of which are what they seem to be at first glance. We have a few
days now before this plays out, and therefore an opportunity to reflect
on the dynamics at work here.


I won’t bore everyone with a blow-by-blow recitation of what has
happened to date. Suffice to say that Hagel’s nomination was
controversial before it became a reality, in stark contrast to the
near-unanimous acclaim that greeted the nomination of John Kerry to be
the next Secretary of State — a difference that was reflected in their
very different hearings, from Kerry’s gracious love-fest to Hagel’s
vicious grilling, and in the votes in their respective committees and
the full Senate.

What purportedly made Hagel controversial were his stands on three
issues: (1) Israel, or at least its lobby; (2) Iraq, as in Israel’s
latest national victim, courtesy of the US and its so-called "coalition
of the willing"; and (3) Iran, as in the notional "existential threat"
Israel has contrived, and which it hopes to make its next victim — as
with Iraq, largely through the use of American military power, economic
coercion and diplomatic leverage, alone or in concert with whatever
others Washington can entice to join it.

What then ensued was a fascinating political ballet in which Hagel and
his Administration backers tried to marshal as much support from Jewish
organizations, correspondents and senators as possible, asserting that
he was neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semitic. His opponents –
principally AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,
Israel’s semi-official lobby in Washington), CUFI (Christians United for
Israel, the mostly evangelical "Christian Zionist" step-child of AIPAC),
and the assorted neo-conservative "chicken hawks" littering the
journalistic and think-tank scene — equally strenuously tried to
demonstrate the converse, with the "neo-cons" and CUFI taking more and
more of the lead as time went on.

Oddly enough, what the rest of America may have thought about all this
largely went unremarked, almost to the extent that one would have
thought we had stepped back a few thousand years to a time when the
ancient Near East (as it was once called) was the be-all and end-all of
what passed for world politics in our part of the world. China? Russia?
India? The so-called "war on terror"? The condition of the US military?
Only piddly little things when weighed in the political balance against
Israel, Israel, and Israel — the Washington counterpart of the realtor’s
trinity of "location, location, and location."


Looking at the various comments Hagel made over the years, the positions
he took, and his votes, it is difficult to see how he could have been
construed by anyone to the left of the late and unlamentable Meir Kahane
as hostile to Israel as a country. He steadfastly supported it on
virtually every issue. He continued to voice support for the moribund
"two-state solution," which has been a dead issue for at least the last
300,000 Jewish settlers, if not from the outset. Never did he suggest
witholding aid from Israel for its assorted transgressions, much less
imposing sanctions on it, but endorsed an approach completely congruent
with the positions of moderate-to-liberal pro-Israel Jewish groups such
as the Israel Policy Forum (IPF).

His actual lapses were four: (1) he remarked that Israel treated
Palestinians like caged animals — true, of course, but one of many
unspeakable truths in Washington; (2) he referred to the leverage in
Washington of the Jewish lobby, not simply the Israel lobby — also true,
as manifested in the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish
Organizations (check out its website), of which AIPAC is but one of
forty-nine organizations under its umbrella, enhanced by shoals of
smaller organizations and individuals; (3) he saw no reason to rush
head-long into a war with Iran when there was no hard evidence at all
that its actions or intentions posed a threat to anyone else — perfectly
reasonable by any standard, and a position shared by the current US
Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), among many others; and (4) he rejected
AIPAC’s core principle on Capitol Hill, which is that US senators and
representatives should always act as if they were Israeli senators and
representatives on any and all matters of even the slightest interest to
Israel, and refused to blindly endorse AIPAC’s episodic resolutions
circulating on Capitol Hill.

The first three lapses were venal sins, and might well have prompted
little more than some ritualistic criticism from those who ended up
arrayed against him, but the fourth was — to AIPAC and thus to its
assorted confederates — a mortal sin, implying that he might stray, and
stray far, from the AIPAC-defined political reservation that is its
Washington enclave. This is not something AIPAC can tolerate, especially
in so critical a position as Secretary of Defense, who in concert with
the JCS could actually pose a hurdle to Israel’s ambitions. And it was
this supposed failing — not actual hostility to Israel and its security,
but to AIPAC and its heavy-handed tactics on Capitol Hill — that fueled
opposition to Hagel, and the vitriolic attacks and interrogation he
encountered (principally from Republicans) in the Senate, and from the
neo-conservatives and CUFI more generally.


Hagel was in a unique position to take on AIPAC: 12 years in the Senate,
a combat veteran, a good position with the Atlantic Council, and a
history of having made more candid comments about Israel and AIPAC than
anyone else nominated to such a post for many years. If he had stood by
what he had said in the past, he might not have been confirmed – hell,
he might not be confirmed anyway! – but the entire issue would have been
thrown onto the public screen, thanks to C-SPAN among others, and could
have forced a degree of disclosure and open discussion on these issues
heretofore unknown. Asked a pointed question, for instance, such as who
is intimidated by AIPAC, he could have named names, and no one could
have stopped him from doing so. Everyone in the committee room would
have cringed, but at least some others elsewhere would have sat up and
taken notice. From such small beginnings do great things happen.

But he threw away the chance, recanted everything, apologized for most
of his remarks, denied knowing or consorting with people he had to have
known well, and ended up asserting that Israel was our best ally in the
entire world – God, how our NATO allies, plus South Korea, Australia and
New Zealand, and others must have laughed — or cringed! It is so bad to
see a grown man grovel for the sake of his ambition, and that is just
what he did. Yet in fairness, it should not be laid entirely at his
door: Had John Kerry been subjected to a comparable eight-hour
inquisition, he would not have come out well, either; those exercises
could even have had Mother Teresa twisting in the wind.

The best that can be expected right now is a weakened, compromised but
almost certainly vengeful Hagel confirmed as Secretary of Defense, with
most of his former party arrayed against him. And most of his former
Republican colleagues would have to understand that under Secretary
Hagel, Pentagon contracts to their states are likely to be few and far
between, or at least attributable to Democratic members in their states
if they come at all. But Hagel’s options are limited. If he does attempt
to renege on his mea maxima culpa, his experience before assorted
committees in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives would
make that in the Senate Armed Services Committee recently seem like a
stroll through the Garden of Eden — pre-snake, of course!

The worst is his withdrawal rather than continuing to run the gauntlet
of personal attacks, or holding fast yet being rejected for the position
– something the neo-cons will assuredly try very hard to accomplish. And
they may well do so: the pattern so far is to attack anyone critical of
Israel or its supporters, then to extract an apology from them coupled
with a retraction of whatever was seen to be offensive, and finally to
destroy them anyway. This would put Hagel in the Faustian position of
having bartered his ethical soul and his principles away for something
snatched from his grasp in the end by a hydra-headed political

Whichever happens, we can be sure of one thing: no one with his
prospects for achieving a senior cabinet position is likely to be
presented for many years to come, if at all. There may not be a magic
bullet to end the Zionist domination of the American political process,
but in Chuck Hagel, we got a dud. I do not regret supporting him at the
beginning, but I wish he had shown more fortitude as the process
degenerated — admittedly a lot to ask, but then the position to which he
was nominated cries out for someone like that, which it has not had for
many years. Well, perhaps next time — if there is one — it’ll be a
Marine in his place.

(8) Hagel offers himself as secretary of Israel’s defense

israel shamir <israel.shamir@gmail.com> 1 February 2013 12:27
From: Saïd ZULFICAR <szulficar@hotmail.com>
Date: 1 February 2013 06:19


by Philip Weiss on January 31, 2013

The first few hours of Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing have been
sickening. I thought he was named to be United States Secretary of
Defense, not Israel's defense. The most urgent questions were about
Israel, and many came from liberal Democrats insisting that Hagel is
pledged to going to war against Iran if it acquires a nuclear weapon.

Hagel was suitably craven. "I’ve said that I'm a strong supporter of
Israel.. I’ve said that we have a special relationship with Israel… Ive
never voted against Israel in my career… I’ve been to Israel many
times," he told Jack Reed of Rhode Island.

While Kirsten Gillibrand of New York made no bones about "the most
urgent issues-- Israel and Israel’s security issues… We are
fundamentally tied to [Israel]." Then Gillibrand demanded that if there
has to be a continuing resolution in the event of a budget crush, the
Pentagon will take pains to keep money going to Israel for its Iron Dome
missile defense.

Does she believe this or is this just now the religion of Washington?

Hagel repeatedly asserted that he regards Hezbollah, Hamas, and the
Revolutionary Guard of Iran as terrorist organizations. He abandoned
every bold stand he has taken on Israel. Roger Wicker of Mississippi
said he was reversing himself for political expediency, and that a week
after Hagel had told the Omaha World Herald that he opposed unilateral
sanctions against Iran, he reversed that position in a letter to
progressive Democrat Barbara Boxer.

But the most revealing part of the spectacle was watching Hagel stand up
to John McCain when McCain said he had been wrong to oppose the Iraq
surge in 2007 and the Afghanistan surge in 2009, and then watch Hagel
fold pathetically when Lindsey Graham asked him to condemn Israeli

So: it was alright for Hagel to criticize the U.S. But not alright to
criticize Israel.

Here's Hagel's spine with McCain

"Do you stand by those comments?" McCain asked.

"I stand by them because I made them."…

"I want to know if you were right or wrong.

"Im not giving you a yes or no answer. I think it’s far more complicated
than that. I’ll defer that judgment to history."

But when Graham the former military prosecutor badgered Hagel as though
he were un-American when Hagel told Aaron David Miller that the Jewish
lobby intimidates a lot of people on Capitol Hill and gets Congress to
do "dumb" stuff, Hagel ate his words.

The critical moment in this exchange comes when Hagel refuses to say
what dumb stuff the Congress did. In the Miller interview, he was surely
referring to the license that the Congress gave to Israel to keep
building settlements, savaging the two-state solution.

Graham: Name one person in your opinion who’s intimidated by the Jewish
loby in the US Senate.

Hagel I don’t know...

Graham: I cant think of a more provocative thing to say about the
relationship of the us and Israel… [Next, tell me one dumb thing
Congress did because of the pressure.]

Hagel: I have already stated that I regret [the statement].

Graham: You can’t name one senator intimidated, give me one example of
dumb things pressured to do... One thing!...

Hagel: Well I cant give you an example.

Graham: Do you agree with me that you shouldn’t have said that?

Hagel: Yes I agree with you.

But Hagel repeatedly criticized Israel for building settlements and
wrecking the two state solution -- back when. But not now. So, again, it
is OK for Hagel to criticize the US troop increases in Iraq and
Afghanistan, but he can’t say a word against settlements.

Graham drew more blood when he savaged Hagel for being one of four
senators in 2001 to fail to sign a letter expressing solidarity with
Israel during the Second Intifada and denouncing Arafat and the
Palestinian Authority.

"It was a very big deal. At a very important time. The lack of
signature from you sends chills up my spine. " Graham said. `

Graham asked Hagel to reconsider the letter, to say whether he would
tell the world at large and Israel that he had made a mistake in not
signing. And Hagel said he would have a look at the letter.

Then Richard Blumenthal, the progressive Connecticut Senator, said he
also wanted Hagel to reconsider that letter.

This hearing is a wonderful event because it demonstrates the power of
the Israel lobby in our political life. But, you say, Lindsey Graham is
a South Carolina senator; he is operating out of his nationalist
understanding of imperial interest; the Israel lobby cannot also reach
him? But I think it has. I think Zionism has so influenced the American
discourse, via political money and thinktanks and columnists and
editors, that it has folded Israel's war against Hezbollah, Hamas, the
Palestinians and Iran into our outlook on the Middle East. The
conflation of American and Israeli interests has become an article of
faith in the establishment. Graham is the latest example of a Scoop
Jackson, the national security hawk/intellectual who has listened to
neocons and merged the two nations' futures.

Now it's the afternoon, and Hagel is walking away from his comment that
Israel keeps Palestinians "caged up like animals." He regrets that
statement too. Pathetic.

(9) Retired top Generals McChrystal, Hayden and Clark back Hagel


January 27th, 2013

Retired top generals back Hagel

Posted byCNN's Ashley Killough

(CNN) – Days before Chuck Hagel sits down for Senate hearings on his
nomination to be secretary of defense, the former senator received vocal
support from two retired generals on Sunday.

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal and former CIA director and
retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden both said on CNN's "State of
the Union" that they expect Hagel to work well as the Defense Department

Hagel would be the first defense secretary who enlisted in the military.
He volunteered to join the Army and ended up serving a yearlong tour in
Vietnam in 1968 during the Tet Offensive, considered the most violent
period in that war. Because of a clerical error, he served side by side
with his younger brother.

He earned two Purple Hearts, one of which was for saving his brother's
life. The second Purple Heart was for injuries from shrapnel he took in
the chest while on patrol with his brother; his brother saved his life
by patching up the wound.

Asked Sunday how Hagel's experience might affect his role as head of the
Defense Department, Hayden said it could be a "tremendous attribute."

"I think it would be fine," Hayden told CNN's chief political
correspondent Candy Crowley. "I know Sen. Hagel. He was on my oversight
committee when I was in the intelligence community. He was a member -
and this is not a universal condition - he was a member that you could
talk to, have an honest dialogue - not necessarily disagree, but on a
personal base have a candid exchange of views. You could always speak
with him. And frankly, given my time in uniform, that's a tremendous

"So I actually think this will work out well," he added.

McChrystal said he doesn't think military service is a "perquisite" for
the job but argued it can be "very helpful."

"Then of course he'll build relationships as he goes. He has already got
a lot of credibility," he said. "I don't think it will be a problem."

Their comments come after days after retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former
Democratic presidential candidate, also praised Hagel as a potential
secretary of defense.

Hagel, a Republican, has already taken heat for a variety of past
statements and positions. Critics argue he's not a strong supporter of
Israel and appears too conciliatory toward enemies.

In his 2006 biography, Hagel said he's not a "pacifist" but a
"hard-edged realist."

"I understand the world as it is - but war is a terrible thing. There's
no glory, only suffering," he is quoted as saying in the book.

His hearings, widely expected to be contentious, are set to begin Thursday.

– CNN's Mike Mount contributed to this report.

(10) Anti-Hagel cartoon By MATT WUERKER

Kristoffer Larsson <krislarsson@comhem.se> 28 January 2013 07:39

Anti-Hagel cartoon

(11) Secret Donors Finance Fight Against Hagel
Kristoffer Larsson <krislarsson@comhem.se> 28 January 2013 08:41


January 26, 2013


A brand new conservative group calling itself Americans for a Strong
Defense and financed by anonymous donors is running advertisements
urging Democratic senators in five states to vote against Chuck Hagel,
President Obama’s nominee to be secretary of defense, saying he would
make the United States "a weaker country."

Another freshly minted and anonymouslyan backed organization, Use Your
Mandate, which presents itself as a liberal gay rights group but
purchases its television time through a prominent Republican firm, is
attacking Mr. Hagel as "anti-Gay," "anti-woman" and "anti-Israel" in ads
and mailers.

Those groups are joining at least five others that are organizing to
stop Mr. Hagel’s confirmation, a goal even they acknowledge appears to
be increasingly challenging. But the effort comes with a built-in
consolation prize should it fail: depleting some of Mr. Obama’s
political capital as he embarks on a new term with fresh momentum.

The media campaign to scuttle Mr. Hagel’s appointment, unmatched in the
annals of modern presidential cabinet appointments, reflects the
continuing effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision,
which loosened campaign finance restrictions and was a major reason for
the record spending by outside groups in the 2012 election. All told,
these independent and largely secretly financed groups spent well over
$500 million in an attempt to defeat Mr. Obama and the Democrats, a
failure that seemed all the greater given the huge amounts spent.

While the campaign against Mr. Hagel, a Republican, is not expected to
cost more than a few million dollars, it suggests that the operatives
running the independent groups and the donors that finance them — many
of whom are millionaires and billionaires with ideological drive and
business agendas that did not go away after the election — are ready to
fight again.

"We were anxious to get back into the battle," said Nick Ryan, a
Republican strategist and the founder of the American Future Fund, which
started as a small, Iowa-based political committee in 2007 and has grown
larger since taking a leading role now against Mr. Hagel. "Postelection
we have new battle lines being drawn with the president; he kicks it off
with these nominations and it made sense for us."

Groups like his would have been able to operate freely against Mr. Hagel
even before Citizens United. But the ruling has served to erase what had
been traditional fears among donors that their involvement in the fight
of the day would lead to legal trouble or, for those who prefer to stay
anonymous, unwanted public exposure. That confidence, in turn, has
helped spur the increase in the number of political organizations that
pop up to engage in the big political entanglement of the moment.

American Future Fund was formed under a section of the tax code that
allows it to keep its donors secret. It spent more than $20 million
seeking to defeat Mr. Obama and the Democrats last year, according to
the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group. Other
major conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity — partly
financed by the industrialist Koch family — and Crossroads GPS are not
involved in the Hagel nomination, but have made it clear that they will
continue to combat the president’s agenda on several fronts.

The outside activity is not confined to Republicans. Mr. Obama’s
campaign apparatus has transformed itself into a nonprofit political
group, though it said it would disclose the names of its donors (and it
is not getting involved in the Hagel fight).

After Mr. Obama won re-election in November and Democrats kept their
majority in the Senate and made inroads in the House, Republican Party
officials and senior strategists with conservative outside groups
predicted that some of the big financiers of the larger outside efforts
would pull back and reassess their involvement and whether their
millions were wasted. But while the donors have said they will insist
that the groups they finance find lessons in last year’s losses, their
interest and stakes in what happens in Washington have certainly not waned.

For instance, the biggest individual financier of the so-called super
PACs that sought to defeat Mr. Obama, Sheldon Adelson, is so invested in
the fight over Mr. Hagel that he has reached out directly to Republican
Senators to urge them to hold the line against his confirmation, which
would be almost impossible to stop against six Republican "yes" votes
and a unified Democratic caucus.

Given the more than $100 million he donated to the anti-Obama effort
last year, no lawmakers need to be reminded of his importance to their
future endeavors. People briefed on his involvement said Mr. Adelson,
chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and a longtime supporter of
Israel, was calling in conjunction with the Republican Jewish Coalition,
a group he has financed for several years.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in December, Mr. Adelson
said he was prepared to "double" his investment in politics in the
coming year.

But it is unclear whether he is directly financing any of the anti-Hagel
advertising. An associate of his, speaking about Mr. Adelson’s thinking
on condition of anonymity, said he did not believe that expensive
television campaigns are the answer to every political push given that
Mr. Obama’s re-election team accomplished so much of its success through
online and volunteer efforts.

Citing similar reasons, another major Republican donor, Foster Friess,
said in an interview that he had developed his own skepticism over "the
whole idea of these multimedia ads from 45,000 feet." After last year’s
losses he said he was devoting most of his resources to an effort he
called "Left-Right, Left-Right Forward March," which finds projects
liberals and conservatives can support together, like water purification
in developing countries.

Still, he said, "no one in this effort is going to give up the values
that they think are important." For him, that extends to Mr. Hagel,
whose "past statements about Israel should be really taken into
consideration" Mr. Friess said, adding, "and I would hope they could
find a better person to serve in that position."

Whatever its chances of success, the blitz against Mr. Hagel is of a
sort that has generally been reserved for elections and some Supreme
Court nominations. The last major cabinet skirmish, over President
George W. Bush’s nomination of John R. Bolton as the United States
ambassador to the United Nations, had no comparable outside media blitz.
Though goaded along by a phone campaign organized by the political
action arm of the liberal group MoveOn, Democrats succeeded in blocking
him in the Senate, forcing Mr. Bush to appoint him during a
congressional recess.

That was before the Citizens United decision.

"This is the first big cabinet fight since Bolton," said Michael
Goldfarb, a strategist for a conservative group opposed to Mr. Hagel
called the Emergency Committee for Israel and a founder of a
conservative Web site called The Washington Free Beacon, which is
running a steady stream of anti-Hagel news articles. "And things have
evolved in the last seven years."

The most mysterious of the new groups is Use Your Mandate. Portraying
itself as a gay rights group, it has sent mailers to voters in seven
states — including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Montana — and run
television ads against Mr. Hagel in New York and Washington. It has sent
out posts on Twitter questioning his gay rights record and asking, "Is
this what we worked so hard for?" Established gay rights activists have
expressed skepticism about the group’s authenticity.

It has no Web site and it only lists as its address a post office box in
New York. But paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission
link it back to Tusk Strategies, a bipartisan political group founded by
Bradley Tusk, a former strategist for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New

In an interview, Mr. Tusk would only identify its financiers as
Democratic "gay and L.G.B.T. people who have been active in campaigns
around the country."

Yet federal records show that Use Your Mandate uses Del Cielo Media, an
arm of one of the most prominent Republican ad-buying firms in the
country, Smart Media, with clients that have included the presidential
campaigns of former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah and Senator John
McCain of Arizona; the 2010 Senate campaign of Christine O’Donnell, who
was known for positions against homosexuality, in Delaware; and, as it
happens, the Emergency Committee for Israel.

Mike McIntire, Kate Zernike and Derek Willis contributed reporting.

(12) What to Ask Chuck Hagel About Iran's Nuclear Threat - John Bolton


January 28, 2013, 6:59 p.m. ET

What to Ask Chuck Hagel About Iran's Nuclear Threat

Senators should probe if he endorses the dangerous step of letting Iran
enrich uranium to reactor-grade levels.


The confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel as defense secretary on
Thursday will provide senators with a critical opportunity to probe the
nominee's views on Iran's nuclear-weapons program. Let's hope the
hearing is more illuminating than last week's listless hearing for John
Kerry as secretary of state. Some enlightenment about the
administration's attitude toward Iran in President Obama's second term
would be helpful.

Meanwhile, on Jan. 18, Herman Nackaerts, the chief inspector of the
International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Vienna from Iran after
once again being barred from inspecting the Parchin military facility,
where weaponization work has likely been underway. The charade of talks
about the inspection will resume on Feb. 12. The Iranian regime is also
toying with the West on restarting more general negotiations about its
nuclear program.

Yet Mr. Obama, still misreading the ayatollahs, appears to remain fixed
on the notion Iran can be cajoled or pressured into ending its 20-year
drive for nuclear weapons. While earlier diplomacy rested on political
mistakes in reading Iran's intentions, recent efforts have added
debilitating mistakes in basic physics.

For the past decade, too many in the West hoped that negotiations,
accompanied by incentives and disincentives, would lead Iran to renounce
nuclear weapons. Until recently, the sine qua non of every diplomatic
initiative has been that Tehran must cease all enrichment-related
activities. Iran, however, has consistently rejected any limits on
enrichment, supposedly for reactor fuel or medical research, and
protracted negotiations have gained the regime valuable time to perfect
and expand its nuclear program.

The West has fundamentally weakened its case by accepting Iran's line
that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty provides the country with a
"right" to "peaceful" nuclear activities. This claim distorts basic
treaty principles. Tehran cannot claim treaty "rights" while
simultaneously violating parallel commitments not to pursue nuclear
weapons. Materially breaching a treaty voids the entire agreement,
including "rights" found elsewhere in the deal. Iran has readily
exploited the West's bad lawyering and worse political judgment, and it
has made no reciprocal concessions.

Failing to slow Iran through diplomacy or sanctions should by now have
taught a lesson to even the most credulous. With Mr. Kerry and Mr. Hagel
poised to join the Obama administration, the temptation for the new
arrivals to jump-start the stalled negotiations is distressingly clear.

It is too late to get Mr. Kerry on the record before his appointment,
but senators in the Hagel confirmation hearing should pin him down
regarding his attitude toward a disastrous U-turn the West made last
spring. That is when Western negotiators dropped their insistence that
Iran halt all uranium enrichment, conceding instead that the regime
could enrich to commercial,"reactor-grade" levels (approximately 4% of
the U-235 isotope) if it stopped enriching to approximately 20%,
purportedly to fuel a research reactor.

U.S. negotiators subsequently deluged the press with arguments that such
a deal would be a major Western victory because 20% enrichment is far
more dangerous than 4% enrichment, being much closer to the 90%+ level
used in nuclear weapons. That sounds superficially plausible: 4% is
arithmetically lower than 20%, and both are a long way from 90%.

Isn't it better to stop Iran from getting to 20%, the reasoning goes,
even if it means conceding that they can enrich to 4%? No. Mr. Obama's
negotiators are playing with numbers they don't really understand. Their
crude physics is seriously flawed, based on a misunderstanding of the
work required to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels. As a result of
the misreading, the negotiators' military-political conclusions are
erroneous. ...

Mr. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the
author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United
Nations" (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

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