Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hagel Nomination Conveys Chilling Message

President Barack Obama announces former Senator Chuck Hagel, second from left, as his nominee for Secretary of Defense, and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, second from right, as his nominee for Director of the CIA, during an announcement in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 7, 2013. Joining them are departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, and acting CIA Director Michael Morrell, right. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)



by Isi Leibler

In light of the opposition generated when former Senator Chuck Hagel’s candidacy for defense secretary was initially mooted, most analysts predicted, mistakenly, that President Barack Obama would not proceed with the appointment. 

The decision to appoint such an extreme isolationist to this position sends a chilling signal about the broad direction of Obama’s foreign policy during the next four years. 

But there are particularly disconcerting connotations for American Jews and Israel.

For a start, by appointing a person with such a consistent track record of disdain for Israel, it is evident that Obama has no inhibitions or concerns about alienating and distressing the vast majority of Jews who voted for him and whom he now takes for granted.

Obama is nominating a man who accused “the Jewish lobby” of disloyalty, of harboring dual allegiances and acting as a fifth column by supporting Israel. The views are similar to the anti-Semitic stereotypes described by authors Walt and Mearsheimer in their notorious book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy."

Beyond this, Hagel’s senatorial voting record in relation to Israel, even declining to endorse Senate resolutions broadly supporting Israel, would place him as one of the most hostile senators in recent times. 

What makes Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary even more alarming is that he also has a consistent track record of totally opposing any actions against Iran, including sanctions.
For six months before the election, Obama repeatedly pledged that he would not merely “contain” Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but would ensure that Iran would never develop a nuclear bomb. Yet Hagel explicitly promoted a policy of “containment” as opposed to military action. 

Given this context, one is entitled to query how Obama could appoint Hagel, whose record on this issue was so diametrically opposed to his own stated position? Or has Obama’s position changed? 

What sort of message does this send to Iran? The Iranian state-owned Press TV referred to Obama’s nomination of the “anti-Israeli ex-Senator Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary,” pointing out that “he has consistently opposed any plan to launch military strikes against Iran.” The Iranian Foreign Ministry said this suggested potential “practical changes” in U.S. foreign policy which would bring about an improvement of relations between Washington and Tehran. 

Obama was certainly aware that prominent mainstream Democrats were opposed to such an appointment. The New York Times conceded that even “some Obama aides had doubts about the wisdom of the choice,” and the liberal Washington Post made it clear that it considered Hagel an inappropriate nominee for the position. 

Alan Dershowitz, who supported Obama during the election, stated that the appointment would send a mixed message to the mullahs and embolden those who assumed that Obama was bluffing, thus increasing the likelihood of needing to resort to the military option. He maintained that the Hagel nomination was “not only a mistake for Israel” but “a mistake for America, a mistake for world peace.” He said the move would undermine Israeli confidence in Obama’s commitment to ensure that Iran never becomes a nuclear power and would reinforce Israeli fears that the country was on its own. 

Ed Koch, former Democratic New York mayor, who also endorsed Obama, cynically told the Algemeiner Jewish newspaper that he had anticipated that the president would renege on support for Israel, but “it comes a little earlier than I thought.” He said the nomination “will encourage the Iranian nuclear project and the jihadists” in the belief that “America is beginning to desert Israel,” adding “I’m sure the Arabs are drinking orange juice and toasting Hagel’s good health.”

The American Jewish leadership is deeply distressed. 

AIPAC did not formally comment on the issue, stating that “AIPAC does not take positions on presidential nominations.” Yet there is no doubt that the leaders who need to maintain access to the Pentagon were privately anguished and bitterly opposed to the Hagel nomination.

Interestingly, the nonpartisan heads of major Jewish organizations uncharacteristically condemned Hagel’s views unequivocally. 

ADL head Abe Foxman initially accused Hagel of statements “bordering on anti-Semitism.” After the nomination, while reiterating that Hagel would not have been his first choice, he said he “respects the president’s prerogative” but still needed to be “convinced” that Hagel’s positions were in fact “misunderstood.”

The American Jewish Committee’s David Harris remarked that “we have concerns,” and urged the Senate to “fully probe” the nomination. Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the Hagel appointment sent the wrong message to the Iranian mullahs and called on him to apologize for his “hateful statements” on Israel.

In contrast, when trial balloons about Hagel were initially floated, Jews on the Left aggressively promoted his candidacy.

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman lauded Hagel as an ideal candidate, dismissing his former hostility to Israel and offensive remarks on the Jewish lobby. He also lambasted Jewish critics, whom he accused of either being motivated or manipulated by the Israeli far Right, and having the chutzpah to label them as McCarthyists for daring to question Hagel’s political bona fides. 

Friedman’s fellow columnist Roger Cohen described Hagel as “a quite a strong friend of Israel” and castigated unrepresentative “well-organized and remorseless” extreme right-wing Jewish leaders who endorsed those who “propel Israel into repetitive many wars of dubious strategic value,” saying they were behind the campaign against Hagel’s nomination.

Similar views were expressed by Peter Beinart in his Open Zion blog, who effectively campaigned for Hagel’s candidature. J Street launched a slogan, “Smear a Bagel not Chuck Hagel,” and was supported by the Israel Policy Forum and Americans for Peace Now.

The National Jewish Democratic Council, which in 2007 had alleged that Hagel had “a lot of questions to answer about his commitment to Israel,” stated that despite having “expressed concerns in the past, we trust that when confirmed former Senator Chuck Hagel will follow the president’s unrivaled support for Israel.”

The reality is that the vast majority of Jews, including Democrats, are deeply distressed with the choice. Dershowitz claims that 95 percent of the Jewish community opposes the appointment.

Yet while Jews have a particular reason to dislike Hagel’s approach, his selection has far wider global implications. There are concerns that Obama is renewing his former policy of “engaging” rogue states and appeasing Islamic extremism.

There will undoubtedly be some tough cross-examination in the Senate, and Hagel will in all likelihood play down or modify some of his previous positions. He already insists that his remarks have been distorted and that his statements always represented “unequivocal, total support for Israel.” But while his confirmation is far from a certainty, with the Democrats controlling the Senate, the odds are in his favor. 

The Israeli government has, correctly, not commented on what is clearly a U.S. domestic issue. But we should be under no illusions. If Hagel’s appointment is confirmed, the newly appointed defense secretary will have a clear track record of appeasing the Iranians, reaching out to Hamas and being highly critical of pro-Israeli influence in Washington. The appointment will signal that Israel’s relationship with the Obama administration may be more turbulent than we had hoped.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at He may be contacted at


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The meaning of Hagel by Charles Krauthammer

“This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
March 26, 2012
The puzzle of the Chuck Hagel nomination for defense secretary is that you normally choose someone of the other party for your Cabinet to indicate a move to the center, but, asThe Post’s editorial board pointed out, Hagel’s foreign policy views are to the left of Barack Obama’s, let alone the GOP’s. Indeed, they are at the fringe of the entire Senate.
So what’s going on? Message-sending. Obama won reelection. He no longer has to trim, to appear more moderate than his true instincts. He has the “flexibility” to be authentically Obama.
Hence the Hagel choice: Under the guise of centrist bipartisanship, it allows the president to leave the constrained first-term Obama behind and follow his natural Hagel-like foreign policy inclinations. On three pressing issues, in particular:
(1) Military Spending
Current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in August 2011 that the scheduled automatic $600 billion defense cuts (”sequestration”) would result in “hollowing out the force,” which would be “devastating.” And he strongly hinted that he might resign rather than enact them.
Asked about Panetta’s remarks, Hagel called the Pentagon “bloated” and needing “to be pared down.” Just the man you’d want to carry out a U.S.disarmament that will shrink America to what Obama thinks is its proper size on the world stage; i.e., smaller. The overweening superpower that Obama promiscuously chided in his global we-have-sinned tour is poised for reduction, not only to fund the bulging welfare state — like Europe’s postwar choice of social spending over international relevance — but to recalibrate America’s proper role in the world.
(2) Israel
The issue is not Hagel’s alleged hostility but his public pronouncements. His refusal to make moral distinctions, for example. At the height of the second intifada, a relentless campaign of indiscriminate massacre of Israelis, Hagel found innocence abounding: “Both Israelis and Palestinians are trapped in a war not of their making.”
This pass at evenhandedness is nothing but pernicious blindness. Just last month, Yasser Arafat’s widow admitted on Dubai TV what everyone has long known — that Arafat deliberately launched the intifada after the collapse of the Camp David peace talks in July 2000. He told his wife to stay in the safety of Paris. Why, she asked? Because I’m going to start an intifada.
In July 2002, with the terror still raging, Hagel offered further exquisite evenhandedness: “Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace.” Good God. Exactly two years earlier Israel had proposed an astonishingly generous peace that offered Arafat a Palestinian state — and half of Jerusalem, a previously unimaginable Israeli concession. Arafat said no, made no counteroffer, walked away and started his terror war. Did no one tell Hagel?
(3) Iran
Hagel doesn’t just oppose military action, a problematic option with serious arguments on both sides. He actually opposed any unilateral sanctions. You can’t get more out of the mainstream than that.
He believes in diplomacy instead, as if talk alone will deter the mullahs. He even voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization at a time when they were supplying and supporting attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most tellingly, he has indicated that he is prepared to contain a nuclear Iran, a position diametrically opposed to Obama’s first-term, ostensibly unalterableopposition to containment. What message do you think this sends the mullahs?
And that’s the point. Hagel himself doesn’t matter. He won’t make foreign policy. Obama will run it out of the White House even more tightly than he did in the first term. Hagel’s importance is the message his nomination sends about where Obama wants to go. The lessons are being duly drawn. Iran’s official media have already cheered the choice of what they call this “anti-Israel” nominee. And they fully understand what his nomination signals regarding administration resolve about stopping them from going nuclear.
The rest of the world can see coming the Pentagon downsizing — and the inevitable, commensurate decline of U.S. power. Pacific Rim countries will have to rethink reliance on the counterbalance of the U.S. Navy and consider acquiescence to Chinese regional hegemony. Arab countries will understand that the current rapid decline of post-Kissinger U.S. dominance in the region is not cyclical but intended to become permanent.
Hagel is a man of no independent stature. He’s no George Marshall orHenry Kissinger. A fringe senator who left no trace behind, Hagel matters only because of what his nomination says about Obama.
However the Senate votes on confirmation, the signal has already been sent. Before Election Day, Obama could only whisper it to his friend Dmitry. Now, with Hagel, he’s told the world.

Obama: "The Oath of Office" on a Stack of Bibles

January 20, 2009 - Oath of Office

Bee's Note:  Mark Levin's comments posted on Real Clear Politics has been shared and posted on many Conservative blogs this week.  His comments express our concerns about the man soon to be sworn in for a second term as President of the United States.

For those who did not vote for Obama, it is difficult to hear our allies say "Well, you voted for him!" ("you", as in America), which is their way of saying, "You made your bed, now lie in it!".  I can't blame anyone, including my close friends for thinking this way; after all, to the world it appears Americans made their choice on Nov. 6th, and there is no sense crying over split milk, or whining about it now - it is what it is no matter how disappointed many of us feel.

And, now that Obama no longer needs to campaign, he has no fear of revealing his "flexible" agenda and an ideology. An ideology that is completely foreign to America. 

Today, Americans must wake up and speak out, noting that Obama is out of control and has no intentions of following his Oath of Office:
-"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The Washington Times/Community reports that this year Obama will be sworn in on three Bibles:
President Obama will use three different Bibles for his oaths. For the private ceremony on Sunday, he will use the Bible belonging to Michelle Obama’s family, the Robinsons.
At the official inauguration, the President will put his hand on two Bibles, stacked on top of one another, the Lincoln Bible he used four years ago and one that belonged to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Three Bibles"! Read the Oath again!  "Preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution.  Really?!  Obama can place his hands on three, twenty, or a hundred Bibles and with no conscience or fear of repercussions for giving false testimony, he has absolutely no intentions of fulfilling his oath.  He did not fulfill his oath during his first term and he is already hinting that he will by-pass Congress and the Constitution by signing Executive Orders against the Second Amendment.  

Liars and would-be dictators never take an oath seriously, nor do they believe the truths contained inside the Bible. To them, the Bible is as meaningless as the promises they swear to keep. 

If ever there was a time to speak up and speak out, now is the time, dear America. Here are the comments by Mark Levin:
Mark Levin: "I Can Barely Contain My Fury At What Is Going On"
MARK LEVIN: You know folks, I'll be honest with you. I just told a friend of mine -- even though I sit behind this microphone and I try to be civil and so forth -- I can barely contain my fury about what's going on in this country. I'm just being honest with you. I can barely contain it. I'm so frustrated by this tyranny, you have no idea. Now we can analyze it, we can intellectualize it, we can parse it and so forth and try to unravel it. But I'm just telling you, from an emotional point of view, it is just so damned infuriating to see the greatest country on the face of the earth run by a bunch of lilliputians, who are constantly attacking it from within.
No discussion on the news programs about an imperial president exercising an authority he does not have under our constitution. Nothing. No discussion about all the lives saved and all the people protected as a result of the Second Amendment. Nothing. They continue to perpetuate the lie, the big lie that somehow, some new regulation, some new government fiat would have prevented what happened in Newtown, Connecticut. And then they pretend that they're for law enforcement. They pretend that they're hard on crime when they're not. 
 We have evidence over one decade after another of how the very same people pushing for gun control against law-abiding American citizens support radical left-wing judges who are soft on criminals, support weakened sentencing rules, decriminalizing this and that. Since when was Obama strong on fighting crime? Since when has Obama supported law enforcement? But here he is, you know, 'we have to stop gun violence.' No, we have to stop violent criminals.
Now, there's a fury in me -- I'm just being honest with you -- that I'm trying to contain. Biden, the moron Senator from Delaware, taking his train back and forth and back and forth on Amtrak. Oh wow, what a guy. Anyway, so they may do by executive fiat -- I'm trying to read between the lines -- a national gun database. Now, why would we need a national gun database? Well, listen, we need to know who has the weapons, at all times, and how many weapons they have and what weapons they have. How come? Why? The guy that killed all those people in Newtown, Connecticut, we know who he was and we know who had the weapons, his mother. So what does this national database have to do with anything? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Oh, okay, but we need one anyway, right? To prevent what exactly? To prevent what? (Mark Levin Show, January 10, 2013)
(via The Right Scoop)