Hagel and Brennan Nominations
by Stephen Lendman
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 project.
The Washington Post listed other Hagel credentials. Past and current ones include:
• US senator (Nebraska-R.) from 1997 - 2009;
• chairman of the US Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee;
• 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 chairman;
• Hagel & Clarke co-founder, director and president;
• president McCarthy & Co,;
• Veterans Administration deputy administrator;
• Firestone Tire & Rubber government affairs director; and
• 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) said:
"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 choice.
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 on Humanity."
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 Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.