Has Hagel ‘Sold Out’? Nope

I see my colleague John Glaser has taken to the hustings to once again express his skepticism of All Things Hagel. He’s convinced that our boy Chuck has “flipped and flopped like a fish out of water” in response to the Other Chuck’s (Chuck Schumer, that is) interrogation. His evidence? A Los Angeles Times story which he quotes at this point: “According to Schumer …” So we are getting the story second-hand.

Another reason to be skeptical of Glaser’s skepticism: among Hagel’s alleged mortal sins is the assertion by Schumer that “Hagel promised to make planning military options against Iran his ‘top priority,'” a prospect that, on the surface, seems ominous — unless one looks at what sort of “option” it might be. For Hagel has said that air strikes will not suffice, and that we’ll need at least 100,000 troops on the ground in any conflict with the Iranians. In short, it will be another Iraq — only worse.

“Make planning military options against Iran his ‘top priority'”? I say go for it, Chuck. Because, given his grim prognosis, it’s hard  to imagine the President will go for it.

As for disavowing his previous support for opening negotiations with Hamas: since this was never a possibility, it’s hard to be disappointed. On sanctions: it’s not within the Pentagon’s purview to make policy on this issue, and so — again — this is simply not relevant.

Glaser misses the real point of the Hagel nomination fight, and it is this: a victory for Hagel would be a huge defeat for the War Party, which has gone after Hagel hammer and tongs. That in and of itself would strike a big blow for peace. Why this is so hard to understand is … hard to understand. As one of the commenters on John’s post put it:

“The ONLY thing that matters is that Hagel stops Netanyahu and the Israel Lobby from an attack on Iran – THAT’S IT. It’s a ‘single issue’ “


31 thoughts on “Has Hagel ‘Sold Out’? Nope”

  1. True, Justin.

    With all the complaints against Hagel, I have yet to see anyone suggest an alternate, reasonably qualified candidate for SecDef who meets all their professed expectations.

    1. Well, yes, but the whole point of the "radical" critique of my pro-Hagel campaign is that peace advocates have NO BUSINESS supporting anyone for SecDef: our job, as they see it, is to stand on the sidelines and then bemoan their inevitably warmongering policies. In short, it is a sectarian strategy fundamentally pessimistic about achieving even the most basic immediate goals of the peace movement.

      1. That's true, but by the same token, one could argue that Obama–who gave the impression that he would be better on foreign policy–turned out to be worse, since he adopted many Bush positions, and much of the "Antiwar" left immediately turned apologist.

        Just the same, I agree with you. It's premature to abandon Hagel, that's for sure.

      2. Stand on the sidelines?

        The point is to stop feeding false hopes by engaging in false arguments.

        The financial mafia and the global war machine will not be made acceptable
        by any of the pro-empire leaders vetted by the established order.

        You are sidetracked, only joining in the TPTB debate over the most effective way for the empire to proceed. Should overt aggression against Iran be prioritized, or covert counter-revolution world-wide, or maybe a compromise between the two?

        You sidetrack others when you basically contend that the problem is leadership, not systemic.
        The problem is not that the neocons have too much influence and the Orwellian named “realists” have too little. They both advocate destructive agendas of war and globalization. Bottom line, the TBTF debate is hairsplitting about image, footprint, and where to strike next.

        Instead, focus on educating and organizing to confront the systemic problem of empire.
        The appointment of Hagel will not make the global Pentagon less violent, despite your protestations, even Hagel has said so.

  2. One can't blame Glaser for being skeptical. It's the default setting for examining the Obama administration. Almost certainly, Schumer saw his task as castrating Hagel on behalf of the Israel Firsters, and he (Schumer) would like to convince them that he's succeeded.

    Hagel will have to curb his forthrightness in public — that goes with the territory. But we'll just have to hope he's not under the same restrictions while in the privacy of the Oval Office.

    Hagel has two crucial tasks: Overseeing cuts to the DOD budget and keeping the US out of yet another outrageously stupid war in the Middle East. If he succeeds in these two things, he'll go down in history as one of America's most successful Secretaries of Defense.

  3. You're hallucinating, Justin. In fact, I suspect someone has slipped you some of the Obama Kool-Aid if you think Hagel is going to make any significant difference in whether a war with Iran will occur.

    You're also hallucinating if you think Obama doesn't want a war with Iran. The only thing Obama wants is not to be BLAMED for starting the Iran war. He wants to squeeze Iran sufficiently that it causes Iran to do something in retaliation that he can then use to "justify" the war. Expect a naval blockade sometime in the next year or two to provide that "justification", spun as merely an "extension" of his unilateral sanctions regime rather than the act of war it is.

    And finally, you're hallucinating if you think Hagel can stop Israel from attacking Iran if it turns out Netanyahu really isn't bluffing about that. If Netanyahu won't listen to the President., who says he will listen to the flunkie in the Defense Department?

    The entire notion is ridiculous. The War Party will lose nothing if Hagel is appointed. The Iran War will happen regardless. But it won't happen until Syria is taken out as an effective actor, along with Hizballah in Lebanon. That will happen this year. The Iran war is unlikely to happen before 2014.

  4. I'm very skeptical of Obama puppet Hagel. He was one who recommended Biden for VP to Obama in 2008 and endorsed Bob Kerrey for Senate in 2012. Biden and Kerrey approved the wars of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hagel is a career politician and has been since his days in the Nebraska Senate as an aide in 1971. With war looming in Mali, Algeria and Iran, Hagel will be an Obama yes-man and a defense contractor puppet.

  5. As a socialist, I have fundamental, nay, irreconcilable differences with the "libertarians" and conservative neo-isolationists such as Justin Raimondo who run this site. Nonetheless, being categorically opposed to imperialist war, I find this site, with its myriad links to news articles about conflicts all around the world and with its sundry editorials / columns, to be a useful resource.

    That having been said, I can't help but regard as reactionary and ridiculous Raimondo's strong support for Chuck Hagel's nomination as the Secretary of Defense. What makes you think that Hagel has anything whatsoever to do with opposition to war ?

    The reasons for this notwithstanding, this site was against the 1999 US-NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia (i.e. The Kosovo War.) Hagel was a strong supporter of that war. Principle would thus seem to dictate that ostensible foes of war would then have to oppose Hagel, but ….. this is not the case with antiwar.com

    Hagel was an advocate of the US-NATO assault on Afghanistan in 2001 (which was also supported, at least in its early stages, by this site and the likeminded "libertarian" and paleoconservative hero Ron Paul also supported in its early stages.) Just that stance alone should have disqualified this site from taking the name "antiwar.com" for itself, but I digress.

    Hagel supported the US-led assault on Iraq in 2003. His only apparent "objection" to the 2011 US-NATO assault on Libya was that the end goals of the respective campaign should have been better defined / clarified going in.

    In other words, Hagel is a reactionary right-wing warmonger who should feel right at home alongside Brennan, the aggressive advocate of drone-bombing, torture and extra-judicial assassination who Obama has selected to head the CIA.

    Stopping the US's imperialist warmongering will require nothing less than a socialist, working class-led revolution to smash the capitalist state and all its props, such as the corporate-controlled lie machine generally referred to as the "mainstream media."

    1. While I'm extremely skeptical that Hagel will come through on the Iran issue and recognize that it is the system itself, not the actors within it, that fuels the war machine, I do need you to show me where it is that this website supported a war of occupation in Afghanistan. It's a pretty strong remark so provide some links.

      1. Next time, do your own research.

        "A military response to the devastating attack on the WTC and the Pentagon is not only appropriate, it is required

        … the anti-interventionist response is quite different: it is roughly congruent with Powell's arguments, as expressed to date, that we need to go in, kill 'em, and leave
        – Justin Raimondo

        There were other options, possibly to explore the Taliban government’s offer to turn over Osama if some evidence were presented. That, however, would have required a more thorough examination of the roles of the US and Israeli governments around 9/11.

        1. There is a problem pro-empire “realists” share with pro-empire neocons. Neither of them say they want an “empire”. Obama does not say he wants an “empire”.
          The Orwellian-named “realists” pursue the same goals of empire as do neocons. The “realists” may reject flowery talk about “spreading democracy", etc. But of course those were only false cover for the invasions.
          If anything, the neocons are more hard-nosed about what the real (economic) goals of the US establishment are, than do self-proclaimed “realists”. The “realists” generally have fanciful libertarian disconnect as to the essential nature of corporate capitalism, “free trade” globalization, and the for-profit privatization of the world.

          Thus, realists see no problem with Hagel writing:
          "American military power [must] sustain its commitments"
          “America must remain the global champion of free, fair and open trade. As the world’s strongest, largest and most dynamic economy, America must continue to lead world trade.”

  6. It is rather clear that Justin Raimondo supports Hagel ONLY BECAUSE THE ISRAEL LOBBY REJECTS HIM. Quite REACTIONARY, huh? A SecDef, if Congress were to formally declare war or the White House Monarch were to declare hostilities on his own, must march to the tune of that drum anyway, even if he disagrees with it. Which again, begs the question, should a site named Antiwar.Com be supporting anyone for SecDef? I WOULD CLEARLY SAY NO…………..

  7. The war party will have lost face in opposing Hagel but news reports regarding Schumer and Hagel claim that Hagel has changed his point of view. It shows that you still have to sing to the correct tune to be allowed near power in Washington.

  8. The libertarian agenda at work, claim to be strongly anti-war and then lobby to place someone on the Defense throne. Then when it turns sour defend him to the bitter end. Disgusting hypocrisy at work.

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