Senate confirmation on both
is required. Expect little opposition to Brennan. More on him below.
Republicans will challenge Hagel. At issue is political opportunism
more than who serves. Questions about Obama's nominee are exaggerated.
More on that below.
Rarely ever are presidential nominations rejected. Expect nothing
different this time. Candidates are carefully vetted. Selection depends
on full support for US policies.
Hagel is a reliable imperial supporter. His Senatorial voting record
offers proof. The Peace Majority Report rated him highly. The lower the
score, the higher the rating. He scored 5%. John McCain got 4%, Joe Lieberman
26%, and Bill Clinton 74%.
The American Conservative Union called him solidly Republican. It
gave him a lifetime 84% rating.
In 1996, Hagel suspiciously defeated Nebraska's popular Democrat
governor Ben Nelson.
At stake was a US Senate seat. Polls suggested a close race. Hagel
won by 15 points. Few Nebraskans knew about Hagel's ties.
He was part owner, chairman and CEO of Election Systems & Software
(ES&S). It's an electronic voting machine company.
At the time, it was called American Information Systems. AIS' parent
company founder, Michael McCarthy, was Hagel's campaign treasurer. His
easy victory made winning suspect.
He never disclosed his business ties. A Senate Ethics Committee
investigation was requested. It was rejected. Nothing followed. Expect
little or nothing said now.
Hagel serves as chairman of the Atlantic Council (ACUS). In 1961,
former Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter established
it. It was done to support NATO.
It's headquartered in Washington. It supports Washington's global
agenda. Past and current members include a rogue's gallery of reliable
American imperial supporters.
Among others, they include Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James
Schlesinger, James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Jones, Condoleezza
Rice, Richard Holbrooke, Susan Rice, and an array of current and former
top military officials.
Frederick Kempe is president and CEO. He's a former Wall Street
Journal correspondent, editor and associate publisher. He's a regular
major media commentator.
Damon Wilson is executive vice president. Formerly he served on
George W. Bush's National Security Council. He's committed to strengthening
NATO. Like all past and current ACUS members, he supports America's imperial
The Washington Post listed other Hagel credentials. Past and current
US senator (Nebraska-R.) from 1997 - 2009;
chairman of the US Vietnam War Commemoration
co-chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory
Board and Defense Policy Board member;
Private Sector Council president and CEO;
Vanguard Cellular Systems co-founder, director
and executive vice president;
Communications Corporation International LTD
Hagel & Clarke co-founder, director and president;
president McCarthy & Co,;
Veterans Administration deputy administrator;
Firestone Tire & Rubber government affairs
a decorated Vietnam vet.
He's no dove. He's solidly right-wing. He supported Bush's war on
terror. He backs it now. He voted for every National Defense Authorization
Act (NDAA). He endorsed NATO's 1999 Yugoslavia war.
At the time he said: "When you're in a war, you're in a war to win."
He called Slobodan Milosevic "a butcher loose in the backyard of NATO."
He viewed Kosovo as a "goal-line stand."
He said if America doesn't respond, "we will be tested every day
for the next who knows how many years." He favored sending US forces to
Kosovo. He said "never….take any military option off the table."
He voted for the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts. He endorsed
an "urgent need" for missile defense. He called the 1972 US/Soviet Russia
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) "obsolete."
He said "We can't hold America's national security interests hostage
to any threats from some other nation."
After Bush withdrew from ABM in December 2001, he said "What the
president did was responsible. I support it. I think it was the right
thing to do."
He accused North Korea of being "on the verge of fielding a ballistic
missile capable not only of striking my home state of Nebraska, but anywhere
in the United States."
He supported the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)
for "the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for
the recent attacks launched against the United States."
The Afghanistan war followed. It rages. It shows no signs of ending.
It's America's longest war. It was lost years ago.
Hagel supported the 2003 Iraq war. When it was too late to matter,
his tone got more dovish.
He favors lawless warrantless surveillance. He opposes habeas and
due process rights for Guantanamo detainees.
On January 7, the Washington Post headlined "On Israel, Iran, and
spending, Chuck Hagel looks a lot like Robert Gates," saying:
His opponents claim he'll dramatically change defense spending and
America's position on Israel and Iran. Reality suggests otherwise.
"The bottom line is that" Hagel and Gates "are remarkably similar
and appear to share a number of policy preferences." They include drawing
down in Iraq and arguing against Libyan intervention.
Both men differ somewhat on Iran. Gates is more hardline. Hagel
tried having it both ways. On the one hand, he claimed sanctions are counterproductive.
At the same time, he said they're "working."
In his first post-nomination interview, he said critics "completely
distorted" his record.
"I have said many times that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism,"
he stressed. "I have also questioned some very cavalier attitudes taken
about very complicated issues in the Middle East."
Nonetheless, he favors "direct, unconditional, and comprehensive
talks with the Government of Iran."
He called for direct Hamas/Hezbollah engagement. In 2008, he endorsed
direct talks with Syria and North Korea.
There's "not one shred of evidence" that he's anti-Israeli, he said.
"Israel is in a very, very difficult position. No border that touches
Israel is always secure. We need to work to help protect Israel so it
doesn't get isolated."
He calls "distortions about (his) record….astonishing." During Senate
confirmation hearings, he welcomes "an opportunity to respond" to critics.
At the same time, Politico quoted him saying "I'm not an Israeli
senator. I'm a United States senator. I support Israel, but my first interest
is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States,
not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. If I go run for the
Senate in Israel, I'll do that."
Politico added that:
"In 2006, (he) used the term 'Jewish Lobby,' " saying:
"The political reality is….that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot
of people up here. I have always argued against some of the dumb things
they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel. I just don’t
think it’s smart for Israel."
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) head Abe Foxman responded, saying:
"What I find more troubling is, he had sufficient time to distance
himself from the ‘Jewish lobby’ quote, to explain, and he hasn’t."
"He let it stand. I find that more troubling than the original statement.
He sees it out there. He sees it being seen as this truly conspiratorial
view, that the Jewish lobby controls foreign policy, and there’s no comment."
AIPAC withheld comment. The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC)
"While we have expressed concerns in the past, we trust that when
confirmed, (Hagel) will follow the president's lead of providing unrivaled
support for Israel - on strategic cooperation, missile defense programs,
and leading the world against Iran's nuclear program."
On January 8, the right-wing Jerusalem Post headlined "Ayalon: Hagel
sees Israel as 'true and natural' ally," saying:
Ayalon is Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister. He's positive on Hagel's
nomination. "I have met him many times," he said, "and he certainly regards
Israel as a true and natural US ally."
Netanyahu withheld comment. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin expressed
concerns. "Because of his statements in the past, and his stance toward
Israel, we are worried," he said.
He added that Washington's ties to Israel don't depend on "one person."
The New York Times commented on Hagel and Brennan. Obama chose "two
trusted advisers," it said.
Expect Senate hearings for Hagel to be "bruising," it added. Confirming
both will likely follow.
John Brennan is Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security
and Counterterrorism. He's Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor.
He heads the administration's Murder, Inc. agenda. He chairs a panel
of National Security Council officials. CIA, FBI, Pentagon, State Department,
and others are involved.
America's war on terror is wide-ranging. It includes direct and
proxy wars. Special Forces death squads operate in 120 or more countries.
CIA agents are virtually everywhere. They're licensed to kill.
US citizens are fair game. They're vulnerable at home and abroad.
Obama's kill list picks targets. Brennan advises on who next to assassinate.
Victims are a closely held secret.
Anyone can be targeted anywhere in the world. Ordinary people, distinguished
ones, or officials are fair game. Their crime is opposing US imperialism.
Drone wars are prioritized. Human lives don't matter. Rule of law
principles are spurned. Summary judgment overrides them.
Obama usurped diktat authority. He appointed himself judge, jury
and executioner. He and Brennan meet regularly. Eliminating America's
enemies matter most.
Washington calls innocent victims "terrorists." Names go on kill
lists. It's called America's "disposition matrix." Brennan's in charge
of global assassinations. Prioritizing them made him top CIA director
Expect drone wars to expand. So will targeted assassinations. Summary
executions will be prioritized. Rule of law principles, standards, and
protocols won't matter. Counterterrorism takes no prisoners.
Targeted killings and imperial wars won't end. Hagel, Brennan, and
other high-profile administration national security officials prioritize
them. Humanity may not survive the onslaught.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
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