January 7, 2013

The Hagel illusion

Suin, Firedog Lake - [Chuck] Hagel, whose policy positions were never exactly progressive – just scan these ratings to get a flavor of where he stands: Chuck Hagel on VoteSmart — ran afoul of his own party’s dogma police by suggesting that the Iraq war was a mistake. Of course, that opposition to the Iraq War which is now being touted so widely as a sign that he is “a war skeptic” didn’t come until 2007 when we had clearly lost. He also upset the Israel First wing of DC-land by suggesting he was an American rather than an Israeli senator and by using the phrase “Jewish lobby.”

...While I certainly understand – and share – the opposition to AIPAC’s vicious campaigns against anyone who dares question loyalty to the Israeli interests as the cornerstone of US policy – and I understand that some, including Glenn Greenwald, feel that support for Hagel is worthwhile:
But at the very least, Hagel’s confirmation will be a much-needed declaration that some mild dissent on foreign policy orthodoxies and Israel is permitted. It will shatter AIPAC’s veto power and dilute the perception of the so-called “pro-Israel community’s” unchallengeable power.
I have to wonder if such a confirmation really will do that as we watch Hagel’s supporters argue more and more loudly that he really didn’t mean it as Greenwald himself rightly points out in his link to Think Progress’ Chuch Hagel’s Pro-Israel Record.

Or look at the Politico article highlighting the Fact Sheet that Hagel’s allies are circulating (here) that includes such counterpoints to the cheerleaders’ claims that he will stop a war on Iran and oppose sanctions as assurances that Hagel “has never ruled out the use of force and supports keeping all options on the table” and that he is not opposed to sanctions on Iran, merely to unilateral sanctions noting that “in a March 2012 interview, he said the U.S. should “keep ratcheting up the sanctions…” Add in the “Facts” about his fervent support for Israel and it’s hard to see how Hagel breaks any molds in reality.

...So, as we watch the faux DC drama that pretends to be policy debates during the Hagel confirmation, I’m not going to be cheering him on. Some day – perhaps – we’ll begin to understand that only if we stand firm for what is actually right, not for some pretense of “reform” or “bipartisan foreign policy” in which both parties represent a continuation of more of the same will we have any chance to bring about change that can be cheered by us — and by the people who live beneath the threat of our drones and occupying forces

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is no author for this article, which has my bullsh**t meter ticking madly. As far as I can tell, criticism of Hagel has been coming from both the left and the right, which makes me believe that perhaps he is someone different. If you anger partisan fools on both sides, you are all right with me.

He didn't oppose the Iraq war to begin with ... he at least has realized his mistake and admirable enough to admit it. That says something very good about him. I hope his nomination is confirmed.