• Israel lobby, warmongers, those who make living off war all oppose outspoken nominee
By Charles E. Carlson
Chuck Hagel, former Republican Senator from Nebraska, was roasted on a Republican spit in his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense. Nevertheless, it is quite possible he may be confirmed, if he gets some public support. He is also the target of a national smear campaign on major networks, unprecedented, since he is not running for office but as a presidential appointee.
Hagel’s good name is also being smeared on the Internet. Those who do not want Hagel to be confirmed by the Senate have set up an attack website as though it was Hagel’s personal domain. Former Senator and wounded Vietnam foot soldier Hagel must be very important to those in America who want war. Those who long for peace need to take notice.
The issue will be decided by a few Republican senators whose votes are needed to confirm him. Hagel was attacked on Friday by former allies, including John McCain and Lindsay Graham, because he is not sufficiently warlike in the interests of Israel for them. Behind the scenes powers allied against him include neocon William Kristol, Chairman of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Kristol is rumored to be behind the purchase of the website named Chuckhagel.com from web giant Go Daddy, though the owner has not been made public, but “Paid for by The Emergency Committee for Israel” is clearly displayed at the bottom of the site.
In a 2011 Salon article entitled “Wesley Clark and the Neocon Dream,” Glenn Greenwald described a speech General Wesley Clark had made several years earlier, in which he stated that a group of neocons had taken over U.S. Middle Eastern policy. He listed seven countries that the coup planned to destroy or “stabilize”, starting with Iraq, and moving on to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.
The neocon war plans, which are now a part of public records, cannot be achieved without grass roots support. And this support is being provided by the Judeo-Christian right, which attacks anyone who is not willing to put the state of Israel’s needs and desires ahead of our own.
Behind the attacks on Hagel are Christian Zionist groups like John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, and hidden behind them are Jewish Zionist groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the many other Jewish Israel-first groups who are openly or surreptitiously engaged in fighting for Israel’s success, right or wrong.
On January 5 I wrote “Hagel Visited Israel, Now Attacked By Zionists.” Letters of response from readers reveal that many who are a generation younger than me have no way to judge the difference between the attacker, war-promoter McCain, and the victim, apparent peace-promoter Hagel. This knowledge vacuum exists because the change in our military from conscription to professional took place in 1973, before the time of half our population.
Hagel was one of the last conscripts. In contrast, McCain is a third generation professional military elitist who grew up in a Navy family and planned his life around wars. He looks down on “noncoms” like Hagel, who served in the same war as he did, but never planned it or wished to be in it or wanted to make a career of wars.
Why is Hagel not acceptable to those whose interests fronted by Graham, McCain and others? Hagel would be the first conscripted soldier in modern times to serve as Secretary of Defense. He just might not be willing to accept the doctrine of continuous war laid out in the neocons’ PNAC, which has been followed by those who have proceeded him.
It is important to understand how Hagel and the millions of veterans who served without wanting to came to populate our military and to suffer wounds or die in our country’s wars. I am sure my children and grandchildren do not know how the soldiers of past wars came to be there.
According to published information, Hagel graduated from a Catholic high school in 1964 and then finished a two-year technical school Radio and TV course, at which time he would have been “1-A” – the top of the list to be drafted into the ongoing war in Vietnam, unless he enlisted or left the country. Hagel was, it seems, a standard GI, an army infantryman who started out as a private and in two years rose five or more ranks to sergeant. He did his job, was wounded, discharged and went home, all in two years.
While Hagel is referred to as an “enlisted man,” this only means he was not a professional soldier who trained for war and entered as on Officer, like his harshest critic, McCain. Hagel said in his hearing that he “saw the war from the bottom.” I do not know if he was drafted or “volunteered for the draft.” Both are sides of the same coin.
Lots of us, in and before Vietnam, volunteered for the shortest time possible, to get it over with. The unofficial policy of the U.S. Defense Department was to use the draft to scare young men into enlisting. Who would want to get married and get a job, and then be drafted to fight in Vietnam, where 58,101 Americans were to die?
Most people did not know it was a phony war. A “hero” was someone who saved the life of someone else who did not want to be there either. Men like Sergeant Chuck Hagel were decorated for being wounded and living through it.
In contrast, young Captain John Sidney McCain III planned his life around becoming a professional warrior, or had it planned for him. His father was Admiral John S. McCain; his grandfather by the same name was also an admiral — all professional warriors whose lives and careers were built on war.
In 2011, McCain was finally confronted about his father’s role in the cover-up of the 1967 Israeli attack on USS Liberty. McCain supported his father’s actions.
Hagel has reacted against the power Israel has over Congress, something that has been known yet ignored by scholars and former congressmen for decades. Those few who have spoken out have suffered serious consequences. Although he has softened his statements, his criticisms of Israel will not be forgiven or forgotten. What he has said is known to everyone in Congress, and every one of them knows it is taboo to talk of Jewish power. In 2007 scholars Mearsheimer and Walt wrote of this power in their book, THE ISRAEL LOBBY and U.S. Foreign Policy.
Hagel is willing to take on the job of Defense Secretary, and he does understand war from the bottom, unlike the neocons, who plan the wars.
Charles E. Carlson is a longtime writer and activist. He is the founder of Strait Gate Ministries and the force behind We Hold These Truths.