No, this ISN’T a fundraising letter; it’s a call to arms If you’ve been reading my column recently, you know I’ve been writing about Chuck Hagel, who is apparently the frontrunner to replace the evil Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense.
The Israel lobby’s smear campaign against Hagel is an absolute outrage: they are hurling every mudball they can get their hands on at him, and of course the main charge is “anti-Semitism” because he won’t kowtow to the Lobby and proudly declares that, while he supports Israel, "I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator." I was on Twitter tonight, and I was sickened to see that the buzz is that because the evil Washington Post has come out editorially against Hagel, his nomination is supposedly doomed. I thought to myself. Really? Is the editorial page editor of the WaPo, a notorious neocon, really going to dictate the future of American foreign policy? Do these people really have that kind of power or do we, the people, have the power?
I decided to put this question to the test. So I posted a White House petition on the White House petition web site supporting Hagel’s nomination and urging the administration tofight for him. We have until January 18, 2013, to get 25,000 signatures on which occasion the White House will have to respond in some manner. We’ve never done anything like this before, and I’m here to tell you why. Something calling itself "the Emergency Committee for Israel" is running television ads in the Washington DC area accusing Hagel of being soft on Iran: because he said such a war is not viable, feasible, or responsible the Emergency Committee is arguing Hagel must be rejected.
This fight isn’t about Chuck Hagel, it isn’t a political endorsement. It’s about whether a gaggle of discredited ideologues, in alliance with a powerful lobbying group openly serving the interests of a foreign government, is going to be allowed to take us into a war certain to devastate the region, drive us further into bankruptcy, and cause untold human suffering. We have been perilously close to war with Iran for the past few years: Hagel's defeat at the hands of the War Party would bring us to the brink of the abyss. At a time like this, it isn't enough to just sit around on my butt writing about observing, as it were, from a safe distance the seemingly inevitable drift toward war. Too many lives are at stake. It is necessary for the peace movement to engage with our friends, as well as our enemies. With the Hagel issue being framed as a question of war or no war with Iran, there is no way to abstain from fighting this battle. To do so would be to abdicate our own personal and political responsibility to our readers and supporters. It would, in effect, amount to passive complicity with the drive to war. This is important. If the War Party gets away with this vicious campaign of character assassination, then they can get away with anything.
The American people want out of Afghanistan, just like they want out of Iraq and they overwhelmingly oppose war with Iran, which the War Party is pushing like hell. Hagel opposes their war plans: he has opposed the murderous sanctions on Iran, and has advocated diplomacy over military action. He has consistently and bravely stood up to the Israel lobby, and refused to sign on to their numerous open letters urging the administration to kowtow to Tel Aviv. No, the Washington Post editorial board doesn’t have the last word when it comes to the vital issue of war and peace not if you speak out and let your voice be heard. Yes, we can have an effect but only if you act now.
One month; 25,000 signatures. It’s doable so let’s do it.
Please go here to sign the petition.
In peace and liberty,