Apparently, President Obama has decided this term that he will allow individuals’ names to be floated for cabinet positions; then, when opposition to their candidacy arises, the potential nominee will be able to slink away without Obama facing the ignominy of having a nominee rejected. That was his modus operandi for Susan Rice. Now, the same dance is playing out for former Senator Chuck Hagel.
Hagel was a Republican Senator from Nebraska from 1996-2008. During the Vietnam War, he was in the Army, volunteered to serve as a sergeant in Vietnam, and earned two Purple Hearts, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He later was a Deputy Administrator with the VA, but resigned when his boss referred to veterans as ‘greedy’ and claimed that Agent Orange wasn’t much more than teenage acne. Hagel then started a number of companies and was eventually elected to the Senate.
Hagel’s problems with being confirmed, or even nominated, as Defense Secretary occurred while in the Senate, as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Here are some of the statements that he made that have drawn the ire of AIPAC:
• “The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now. President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop.”
• “Our relationship with Israel is special and historic,… But it need not and cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships.”
• “There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq,”
• “[t]he Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people [on] Capitol Hill.”
We often hear talk about which interest groups are the most powerful in Washington. People on the left argue that some conservative groups have the most influence. Those on the right claim that liberal pressure groups exert the most clout. But, virtually all political scientists know that AIPAC owns DC. Politicians from both parties are only too eager to pay homage to Israel. It matters little to them that the rest of the world regards Israel as a renegade outlaw nation. It matters little to them that obeisance to this tiny country has led us into a series of wars, none of which ended well for America. Their kids don’t have to fight in the wars.
So, it seems as if we’ll let another country decide who gets to serve as Defense Secretary. I assume that the eventual nominee will have to urge us to get involved in war with the dozens of nations that AIPAC longs for. We saw in the Presidential election that we just held that both Obama and Romney made sure that they appeased Israel, regardless of what the voters wanted. The electorate doesn’t matter much when it comes to foreign policy. All that matters is the money that lobbyists provide.