Sunday, January 06, 2013

Chuck Hagel - Who They Kidding?

So it looks like the President will be nominating Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. The buzz is that he's anti-Israel. Is he though? Well, I'll lay out the facts as I can see 'em:

  1. He has not been part of Obama's team before this nomination, as far as I can see. So why does his name come up?  What is the special reason for his candidacy?  Presumably it's because as a Republican he will demonstrate Obama's bipartisanship. But surely his dovishness is part of his appeal.
  2. More troubling are the people who are defending him.  Most are trying to desperately support him while either scoffing at the anti-Israel accusations or at least downplaying them.  And these defenders are often inveterate enemies of Israel.   Steve Clemons and Robert Wright at the Atlantic online are big fans of Hagel and are shocked, shocked!, that someone could accuse Hagel of being anti-Israel.

    According to the Atlantic's James Fallows - who isn't anti-Israel but he's at best tone-deaf about the issue, as I expect most WASPs to be - brings this list of Hagel supporters as a way of showing bipartisan support:
    "See the peeved tone, and the detailed rebuttal, of reactions from the otherwise non-homogenous group of Marsha Cohen, John Judis, Dana Milbank, Peter BeinartDavid Weigel, Andrew Sullivan, Nicholas Kristof**, and Steven Walt. [Update: and Robert Merry and Emily Hauser and Clyde Prestowitz and Steve Clemons and Ali Gharib.]"
    I like Fallows, so I don't want to think he's stupid, but does he seriously think that Steven Walt, Nicholas Kristof, Andrew Sullivan and (sad but true) Peter Beinart are good character references for being pro-Israel?!? The first 3 clearly hate Israel and Beinart hates his Jewishness, and is on published record being no good friend of a Jewish state. So, yeah. This is a bad list
Basically, this is a 'who are they kidding' moment. I hate to say it, because I am an Obama supporter, and I can only give the benefit of the doubt for so long. But it's clear to me that Hagel is being nominated purely because he's a dovish Republican. That is, Obama (or whoever's idea this is) WANTS Hagel's dovishness and hopes that his being a Republican will make him acceptable across the board. This is the same cockeyed thinking that gave us John Kerry as the Democratic nominee in 2004.

I am very disappointed with this, because it shows not only bad faith towards Israel, but it shows disrespect to our intelligence. And, I should say, that Hagel's ideas are themselves stupid or evil, as almost everyone who is Anti-Israel has been shown to be.

No comments: