Despite President Obama's questionable involvement in foreign military conflicts, such as in Libya and Syria, as well as the continuation of operations in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, the GOP continues to paint him as weak on "defense" and "anti-Israel" — even though he has repeatedly lined up with and acquiesced to Israeli demands (AIPAC is a very powerful force in Washington). The president has signed trillions of dollars in military spending, and even though the more bellicose members of Congress complain about "cuts" to "defense" budgets, the Obama administration has proposed real spending increases for the military every time they send a budget over to the Capitol building.
Moreover, the president has taken his predecessor's penchant for murdering people with robots to entirely new levels, overseeing hundreds of known drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, in addition to an inestimable number of covert strikes and other operations that take place under deep cover and "Black" budgets (plus drug money that is funneled into terrorist organizations). So, it is very strange that President Obama would nominate someone like Chuck Hagel, an opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as an opponent of Iran sanctions, to the position of Secretary of Defense.
Charles Hagel, while an interventionist in many ways, has offered a much more intelligent approach to foreign policy, opposing wars without clear objectives and stating his opposition to war with Iran (though he's in good company, like with Gen. Martin Dempsey, and the joint chiefs of staff). However, since the GOP has no interest in intelligence, rational thinking, or peace, they have almost unanimously opposed the idea of Hagel being appointed as Secretary of Defense.
Even though Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) described Hagel as “one of the premier foreign policy voices [and] one of the giants of the United States Senate” while admitting “many of the predictions Chuck Hagel made about the [Iraq] war came true,” neoconservative Bill Kristol disparages Hagel for his “dangerous views on Iran and his unpleasant distaste for Israel and Jews.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “Quite frankly, Chuck Hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking, I believe, on most issues regarding foreign policy."
Hagel's statement about AIPAC also received a lot of attention. In 2008, then Sen. Hagel said: “The political reality is that … the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” referring to Capitol Hill. That's an obvious truth, but one can squander much political advantage by pointing it out.
Obviously, I am not supporting Hagel's nomination. I think no one should be Secretary of Defense. But since no one is not an option, we're left talking about the idiotic GOP's idiotic response to the situation. Rationality is eschewed in favor of sending more American teens to slaughter and be slaughtered. Meanwhile, the demands of our taskmasters reach farther and farther into our pockets and the pockets of generations yet unborn, in order to finance the conquest of nations that have no capacity in the least for harming us.
This article originally appeared at JamesLStreet.com