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In an article that basically sums up my views, Greenwald questions whether progressives have their priorities straight. Greenwald, a harsh critic of Obama on foreign policy, believes that this notion of Democrats being more dovish than Republicans is an outdated way of viewing foreign policy. In his view, of which I subscribe, there is a large bipartisan foreign policy establishment thats pushing for us to go to war with Iran. The other democrats who were under consideration are technocrats who are part of that establishment, and up until now, Obama has kowtowed to that establishment. Hagel is the only nominee Obama has EVER put forward who is a break from that and who offers the best hope to resist another bloody war. The fact that he has an R next to his name is pointless, and why its an obsession at Daily Kos is beyond me:

There's a reason Hagel's nomination has become so intensely controversial and such a vicious target for war-cheering neocons such as Bill Kristol and the Washington Post Editorial Board. It's because Hagel is one of the very, very few prominent national politicians from either party who has been brave enough to question and dissent from the destructive bipartisan orthodoxies on foreign policy. What plausible Democratic candidate for this job has been willing publicly to point out that the US and Israel are separate countries and American interests should trump Israeli interests when they conflict, or to advocate for direct negotiations with Hamas, or to candidly point out that America's Middle East wars are fought for oil, or to condemn the power of the pro-Israel lobby within both parties, or to harshly point out the stupidity of attacking Iran rather than cowardly mouth the "all-options-on-the-table" platitude?

---Given the steadfast and usually unquestioning support most liberals have given this Democratic President as he's pursued policies of aggression and militarism, they should refrain from opposing one of the few prominent dissidents on these matters absent some very compelling reasons. So far, nothing remotely compelling has been offered. If this nomination actually happens, this will be one of Obama's best appointments and boldest steps of his presidency. It would be ironic indeed, and more than a bit unfortunate, if liberals decide to make this nomination one of the very few times they are willing to oppose their party's leader.

I could not agree more.
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Comment Preferences

  •  I am not a fan of the choice (3+ / 0-)

    for a couple of reasons but do agree with you that he is the best we are going to get.

  •  The irony of the Hagel nomination... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew F Cockburn, TheKF1

    Is that it flies in the face of years of Greenwald's conspiracy theories about Israeli/AIPAC control of Washington (and the media) like some all-powerful Borg.  

    Last time I read a Greenwald post (which was months ago), it was all Israel all the time.  How everyone in Washington is controlled by AIPAC puppetmasters who prevent them from speaking out about how they really think.  No one in Washington can dare question Israel without being exiled from the village.  

    Yet lookie here!  Somehow Chuck Hagel got nominated (and will get confirmed).  

    How is this possible?

    Could it be that Greenwald's paranoia about Israeli control of Washington might be a tad overblown?

    Guess you can tell I'm not a big fan of the GG.

    But I am a fan of the Hagel nomination (although Markos's points about reinforcing the "R"=defense cliche are also valid).  Kudos to Obama for sticking with it.  

    Glenn's going to have to scramble to find new and more complex conspiracy theories about AIPAC now.  Maybe they're controlling the drinking water?  Our precious fluids?

    •  You do have to admit though (7+ / 0-)

      that the harsh campaign against him and the wobblinness of Democratic partisans like Menendez and Schumer is due to AIPAC and the like. I do agree that they aren't the all consuming force they're portrayed to be, but to act like they dont effect America's warped middle-east policy is extremely naive.

    •  Yes, the times are changing, aren't they? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rusty Pipes, Brecht

      The best way to prevent abortions is to arm fetuses.

      by Flyswatterbanjo on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:34:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been reading Greenwald (4+ / 0-)

      off and on for 5 - 6 years, and he was certainly a severe critic of US military adventures in the Middle East during that period.

      In any case the subject is Chuck Hagel, who is easily the best choice - from our perspectives - for a Sec'y 'Defense' in my lifetime (67 years). His VietNam experience has defined his view of the military as properly defensive, not adventurist and imperialist. The fact that he takes strong stands that often oppose the militaristic 'wisdom' of the Very Serious People makes him an outstanding choice. The chance that he will oversee the reduction of the Pentagon's budget and mission may make him one of the President's best moves yet.

      As for Brennan - severe doubts on that one, but that whole agency is problematic. I doubt that the 'chief' makes much difference.

    •  You're not only not a fan (8+ / 0-)

      But you're deliberately, and dishonestly mischaracterizing Greenwald's views. Greenwald has no "conspiracy theories about Israeli/AIPAC control of Washington".

      If you think you know differently, cite it.

      He does think, like most people in Washington and who know anything about American politics, that AIPAC has disproportional power, and that if you're a politician, you cross them at your own peril.

      One has to be either dishonest or utterly stupid not to concede this fact.

      Lastly, trying to play thew conspiracy theorist card on Greenwald is especially, lowly comical. Regardless of whether you agree with Greenwald's conclusions of philosophy, you will never find a writer who is more thorough with backing up the shit he says with hard facts and credible sources. I have never seen him theorize about anything.

      I have some serious disagreements with Greenwald on a few issues. But I've seen few writers who are better at reasoned argument and diligent support of those arguments with verifiable facts.

      •  easy to prove (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Simply read the numerous times he describes a critic of Israel being willing to say what no one else dares to say.  He uses this turn of phrase constantly (or at least he did in the years I occasionally read his rants).  

        The implication is obvious.  If someone "dares" to say something, it's because other people think the same way.

        Implied in that is that "something" scares them from speaking the "truth" (not to be confused with truth, "truth" is reality as Greenwald sees it).  

        To wit, from the excerpt cited here, we have the EXACT definition of conspiracy theory (that you accuse me of deliberately "dishonestly" ascribing to Greenwald:)

        Hagel is one of the very, very few prominent national politicians from either party who has been brave enough to question and dissent from the destructive bipartisan orthodoxies on foreign policy.
        See if you can follow me, James.

        1.  Implicit in this is that many politicians think a certain way, but act differently due to implied threats to their career.  This is a RIDICULOUSLY specious assumption, as it means that Greenwald knows how people think without speaking.  And, of course, they think exactly like him (and presumably, Hagel)

        2.  Assuming many other politicians think the way Greenwald mind-reads them to think, they are afraid to speak out with the bravery of Hagel. Folow the logic ball, James.  "brave enough" = threat.  Threat = "AIPAC"

        3.  Greenwald's mafia-like portrayals of AIPAC secretly holding Washington in vice-like grips have a long and storied history in his rants.  

        In conclusion, Greenwald assumes dissent is "brave" because there are penalties for speaking out as Hagel does.  These penalties are enforced by some form of systemic control.  This is the ONLY understanding of what "dissent" means.  Dissent in politics is implicitly a power relationship, a resistance to state-control.

        What is that "something" that prevents all but only the bravest from speaking out against Israel?

        The systemic control of Washington by AIPAC.

        Now you tell me, James, how am I mischaracterizing Greenwald's rant from this article alone, let alone the dozens of other times he speaks of people who refuse to condemn Israel as cowardly and enthrall to a power system that prevents deviation (in the way that Greenwald determines is true and false).

        From his many other rants, Greenwald assumes support for Israel is obviously and self-evidently destructive for American interests, something that is hardly a fact.  He often goes so far as to claim it is our support for Israel that fuels terrorism, despite the obvious fact that the late 1990s, when Israel was led by Rabin and Clinton was attempting to support Arafat and the two-state solution, was the time in which Al Qaeda grew strongest.

        Then there's the obvious fact that Al Qaeda rarely targets Israel, and the beef between terorrists and the USA has plenty to go on far beyond anything to do with Israel (like our own constant meddling in their countries).

        But in Greenwald-land, it's all Israel all the time.  If only the USA stopped supporting Israel, Greenwald seems to think hatred for the USA among radicals would decrease.  As if.

        It is the most pathetic form of projectionism (Greenwald objects to American support for Israel, so presumably everone else does, too, but are "afraid" to say it).  

        I'm sorry you can't see first-person rants dressed up in legalese, but that's the guy's shtick and he's sticking to it.

        That being said, I heartily support Hagel for Sec. and think America should resist everything to do with the toxic and racist Netanyahu.

        But I also support Israel, or at least I do when it's not being led by right-wing war mongers (just like I support America, even when I objected to the Bush regime).  

        And I can also see a pathetic and historically resonant conspiracy theory boiling in the blood of a "patriot," whether it's Glenn Greenwald, Henry Ford, or David Duke.

        •  I suppose that $150 MILLION that Sheldon Adelson (0+ / 0-)

          dumped into the last election is a "conspiracy theory"??

          And just in case you are wondering what Sheldon is buying from the Republicans:

          "Not long after their meeting, Romney restated his support for one of Adelson’s top priorities -- his fervent backing of Israel’s conservative government and his opposition to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Romney’s first foreign trip after his meeting with Adelson included a late July visit to Israel, which included a Jerusalem fundraiser that Adelson famously attended."

          •  And when did President Romney get elected? (0+ / 0-)

            "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

            by volleyboy1 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:14:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Slightly OT (0+ / 0-)

            but since I prefer not to rate or comment in diaries by a user who calls comments that disagree with him trolling (even when they are on-topic and supported by links and quotes from reputable sources), I'll catch up to you here.

            That diarist's conflation of JStreet with the Israel Lobby and the Iraq War is false.  Various elements of the Israel Lobby, especially neocons, pushed for intervention in Iraq in the months preceding the invasion in the Spring of 2003.

            When I joined this site in 2005, JStreet did not exist.  It was not unusual for people who criticized AIPAC to get HRed by those who claimed that AIPAC represented all Jewish organizations from left to right.  Many Jewish Democrats on this site who said that AIPAC did not speak for them complained for years that they needed a lobbying group that represented Liberal Zionists before JStreet was launched.

            JStreet was not mentioned in Mearsheimer and Walt's 2006 LRB article or 2007 book as part of the Israel Lobby.  JStreet did not exist in 2006 when Michael Massing wrote his critique of M&W's article in the NYRB, exposing the sham role of major Jewish orgs (like APN) on AIPAC's advisory board, when the real power brokers in AIPAC belonged to a fraction of its board, especially four ultra-conservative donors.  It took a while for the fledgling organization to gain influence and JStreet is still not as big a player as AIPAC (nor is it as progressive as many of its initial supporters hoped it would be).

            FWIW, it has been possible to link and quote Mearsheimer and Walt here (within fair use policy of course) -- which I have done many times over the years here without problem.  Of course the rules do change here occasionally, so it can be hard to keep up with what the admins have been convinced to deem out of bounds for the reality-based community.

            It isn't nice to go to jail ... but if that's freedom's price

            by Rusty Pipes on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:30:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Hagel (5+ / 0-)

    won't make policy.

    Frankly, I don't think he is a deep thinker about much of anything.

    I don't oppose his nomination.

    But I don't support it either.

    I think it is one of the least important developments in DC today.

    •  It's almost like it's a shiny object to distract (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Andrew F Cockburn

      from Brennan.



      "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

      by JesseCW on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:25:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Respectfully disagree Armando (11+ / 0-)

      The guy was a republican from the deep red state of Nebraska who, in 2005, completely abandoned republicans and their president in the most passionate, partisan debate of that era. Thats not a decision done lightly or without much thinking and reflection on your political future.

      He wasn't a mild critic of the war, he was harsher and more vocal than 90% of democrats. I remember watching his MTP appearances in 2006 opposite the likes of Joe Leiberman and saw someone who spoke with uncommon clarity on the issue of war/peace. The number of bridges he burnt with republicans does warrant an amount of respect that I wouldn't give to some run of the mill democrat who followed the pack in opposition to the war during that same time period.

      •  He will do what Obama tells him to do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If Obama tells him to shrink the military, he will shrink the military; if Obama tells him to prepare to go to war with Iran, he will prepare for war.

        I just don't see this as being that big of a deal, either way.  

        •  Read Woodwards book (4+ / 0-)

          about the surge in Afghanistan, and tell me that having a strong DOD won't matter. Everyone knows Obama got rolled by Mcrystal and Patreaus on Afghanistan, so to act like the president can't be convinced to make a strike against Iran by a hawkish DOD is completely wrong. Now, ultimately if Obama is convinced on one course of action I agree, that will be taken. But there's a lot of gray area where Obama seeks advice from the military brass, and thats where a SecDef Hagel would be most useful as a force to push back against any interventionist advice.

          •  He won't get rolled by Hagel (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And I 'm not too sure he got rolled by McChrystal and Petraeus.

            I don't know if anyone was paying attention, but in 2008, Obama promised a surge in Afghanistan.

            I for one expected it and supported it.

            I think Obama and I were both wrong.

          •  You'll have to explain to me (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando, volleyboy1

            how Obama was rolled because in 2008 candidate Obama ran on the idea that we had to do more in Afghanistan and that is exactly what we did.

            Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday that United States needs to focus on Afghanistan in its battle against terrorism.

            "The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism," Obama said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

            "I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq," he said.

            In fact – as should have been apparent to President Bush and Senator McCain – the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was. That’s why the second goal of my new strategy will be taking the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

            It is unacceptable that almost seven years after nearly 3,000 Americans were killed on our soil, the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 are still at large. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahari are recording messages to their followers and plotting more terror. The Taliban controls parts of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has an expanding base in Pakistan that is probably no farther from their old Afghan sanctuary than a train ride from Washington to Philadelphia. If another attack on our homeland comes, it will likely come from the same region where 9/11 was planned. And yet today, we have five times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan....

            I will send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan, and use this commitment to seek greater contributions – with fewer restrictions – from NATO allies. I will focus on training Afghan security forces and supporting an Afghan judiciary, with more resources and incentives for American officers who perform these missions. Just as we succeeded in the Cold War by supporting allies who could sustain their own security, we must realize that the 21st century’s frontlines are not only on the field of battle – they are found in the training exercise near Kabul, in the police station in Kandahar, and in the rule of law in Herat.


            So Petraeus and Mcrystal convinced Obama to send more troops to complete a mission that he conceived of on his own.  I don't see how Hagel would be any different than Gates when it comes to military strategy.  I think people are praising Hagel's policies but his policies won't really matter, they'll be Obama's policies.  My 2 cents

      •  Not my recollection at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        First, pre-2005, he was with McCain and Lieberman.

        By 2005, he was saying they fought the war the "Wrong way."

        To my knowledge he has never said the war itself was a mistake ever.

        Beyond that,  Hagel is a very mediocre thinker at best.

    •  along with Kerry (6+ / 0-)

      having two combat veterans in what has heretofore been an Amdinistration of chickenhawks is very refreshing. I for one am somewaht comforted that two senior Cabinet sceretaries have a firsthand understanding of what happens when then US military is unleashed.

      •  I oppose the Hagel nomination BUT... I think (0+ / 0-)

        you are right in this case - Having combat vets in this position is important, so for that I agree with your comment.

        "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

        by volleyboy1 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:44:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think combat veteran is a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          necessary qualification for DoD or anything else.  I just think given this Administration's roster and penchant for drone warfare etc, it is desirable now.

          •  Err... You did read my comment right? (0+ / 0-)

            I didn't say that having a combat veteran was necessary for any position. What I did say was that having a combat veteran was an important thing for Sec. Def.

            Important and necessary are two very different things. Oh and I agree, it is a desirable thing to have especially given our involvement in Afghanistan.

            "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

            by volleyboy1 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 12:49:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Glenn Greenwald was also a gullible idiot who (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew F Cockburn

    believed Bush.

    Now, being tragically wrong about an issue that led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians is one thing when your only business is analysis.  

    Good on Greenwald for admitting his stupidity.

    If Hagel was being nominated for a job writing an opinion column, I'd consider an appology good enough for him too.

    But Hagel is being nominated to advise the President about whether or not he's being bullshitted by the Brass into a war that may not be necessary.  

    This is the difference between hiring a guy with shaky hands to be your golf caddy, and hiring a guy with shaky hands to be your heart surgeon.

    Glenns wrong.  He was wrong about Iraq, too.

    "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

    by JesseCW on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:23:27 AM PST

    •  If your concern is war with Iran (0+ / 0-)

      There is only person being considered for DOD who has been a skeptic of not only strikes, but unilateral sanctions, unlike most democrats. And make no mistake, the pressure for going to war with Iran is a proxy for any pressure from Israel, which Hagel has shown more of an ability to do than most democrats.  

      So I'm not sure who else you had in mind, but no liberal dove would be considered for DOD, so the next best thing imo is a Republican war skeptic, which is what Hagel is.

      •  Hagel either can't tell when obvious bullshit (0+ / 0-)

        is being thrown at him, or was willing to pretend he couldn't tell.

        Hagel is a homophobic bigot who has yet to apologize for statements that amounted to hate speech.

        Unless he's nothing but a figurehead (and maybe he is) he's a bad choice.

        "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

        by JesseCW on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:48:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The die is cast, I support PBO nomination of Hagel (5+ / 0-)

    The President's choice is made, and I support him in this decision.

    Fwiw, the debate over Hagel does seem mainly about Israel, whether one is a hawk critic (AIPAC) or a liberal supporter (J-Street). The US conflict with Iran seems to be mainly about Israel. (Given the animosities between Persians and Arabs, and between Shia and Sunni, I'm baffled why Shia Iran invests so much in hating and terrorizing Israel and defending Sunni Arab Palestinians, at such cost to its economy. But that's another diary.)

    If Hagel supports climate protection, all the better.

    Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

    by Sharon Wraight on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:26:36 AM PST

    •  To partially answer your question (0+ / 0-)
      I'm baffled why Shia Iran invests so much in hating and terrorizing Israel and defending Sunni Arab Palestinians
      Islam calls for Muslims to support Muslims. Yes, I know it doesn't make tons of sense, but, I think that's reason enough, in their minds, to explain why they may hate Sunni Arab Palestinians, but nevertheless support them against Israel.

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:54:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In other news (0+ / 0-)
    At first the military hoped there might be as many as 20,000 U.S. troops left behind after combat operations in Afghanistan officially cease at the end of 2014. But now an administration official is saying that number will not exceed 10,000 and could be even be zero.

    The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

    by FiredUpInCA on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:37:30 AM PST

  •  I guess greewald isn't and aggressive gay n/t (0+ / 0-)

    If altar boys could get pregnant, contraception would be a sacrament.

    by tiponeill on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:44:33 AM PST

  •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

    Well, I guess that is one reason to oppose the nomination even though I do broadly support it. Few commentators on the left are as appallingly bad as Greenwald.

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