EDITOR'S NOTE: It's a double whammy- a one-two punch!
President Obama : "Chuck knows that war is not an abstraction"
Hagel is the man to clean house at the Pentagon. Hagel nomination is a sign that Obama is sending a message that things are changing.
Well done President Obama!
Hagel’s nomination (a done deal as of today) is showing signs of forcing repugs, zios and war hawks in general out in the open to display the exact nature of their Cause and Ammo– in other words what IS their whole case against Hagel, a decorated vet? He is also a Repug, so what is their prob with him anyway? The argument has forced the whole issue of Zio control into the public eye.
Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard who has been leading the charge against Hagel is also peddling other long-held grievances– plus the gay thing– no doubt to take some of the edge off their own "anti-semite" knife bite and dilute that whole argument with other squabbly red-herrings.
Former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts (Barney Frank) who retired after 32 years in the House is asking the state's governor to appoint him to fill out Senator Kerry's term once he is confirmed as Secretary of State. Why? Not something he has coveted, BUT Frank – who is liberal, gay and Jewish – would be one more vote against Hagel for SecDef, and a catylyst for other Democrats to do likewise.
The Back Channel Al-Monitor
As President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense Monday, opposition to the choice appeared to be receding somewhat.
“Chuck knows war is not an abstraction,” Obama said in a ceremony in the White House East Room. Hagel “understands that sending young American to fight in the dirt and the mud is something we only do when absolutely necessary.”
Several groups and political leaders said Monday they would not formally oppose the choice, though some admitted to being lukewarm. Among them, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League, and former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who earlier said he opposed the choice.
“I was hoping the president wouldn’t nominate him,” former Rep. Barney Frank told the Boston Globe Monday. However, Frank added, while he resented what Hagel said in 1998 regarding the candidacy of an openly gay ambassador nominee, for which he has since apologized, “the question now is going to be Afghanistan and scaling back the military,” he said. “In terms of the policy stuff, if he would be rejected [by the Senate], it would be a setback for those things.”
“Senator Hagel would not have been my first choice, but I respect the president’s prerogative,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s national director, said in a statement Monday.
“AIPAC does not take positions on presidential nominations,” the group’s spokesman Marshall Wittman said by email Monday. Perhaps easing the group’s concerns about the appointment, the Atlantic’s Jeff Goldberg reported, the fact that White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew reached out to AIPAC’s executive director Howard Kohr last week to argue the case for Hagel.
Meantime, two former officers with the Republican gay rights group the Log Cabin Republicans took to Twitter Monday to say they dissented with the group’s ads opposing Hagel’s nomination.
“This Hagel is ‘anti-gay’ smear campaign is disgraceful and a damn lie,” Chris R. Barron, the former national director for Log Cabin Republicans, wrote on Twitter. “Fact: Chuck Hagel has a better record on gay rights than Mitt Romney.”
The most vocal anti-Hagel activists on Monday appeared to be the Bill Kristol-led GOP outfit, the Emergency Committee for Israel, (which also opposed Obama’s election), the Republican Jewish Coalition (which also opposed Obama’s election), the head of the Israel Project, a non-profit group, WashingtonPost.com columnist Jennifer Rubin, and the current leadership of the Log Cabin Republicans, which took out newspaper ads against Hagel in recent days. (The Emergency Committee for Israel bought the ChuckHagel.com Internet domain on January 2nd, Buzzfeed reported.)
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), the only Republican Jewish member of Congress, also expressed opposition to the nomination Monday, though his chamber of Congress doesn’t vote on the matter.
Texas Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as South Carolina’s Lindsay Graham have in recent days suggested they were likely to vote against Hagel.
Fellow former Vietnam veteran Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), however, a leading Senate hawk who has a long and complicated friendship with the Nebraska Republican, released a nuanced statement, congratulating Hagel for his nomination and praising him for his honorable service in Vietnam. But, McCain said, he has “serious concerns” about some of Hagel’s positions on national security matters he would be asking about in his confirmation hearing.
If confirmed, Hagel would be the first enlisted soldier and Vietnam combat veteran to lead the Pentagon.
President Obama said that experience has made Hagel a champion for the troops sent to fight and die, in implicit contrast to Washington’s cadre of armchair warriors. “My frame of reference is geared to the guy at the bottom who is doing the fighting and the dying,” Obama cited Hagel.
Laura Rozen writes the Back Channel news-blog for Al-Monitor. She previously served as senior foreign policy reporter for Politico and Yahoo News, and wrote the “Cable” blog for Foreign Policy magazine. She is based in Washington, D.C. You can follow her on Twitter at @lrozen
Rozen has reported from the Balkans, Russia and Turkey and earned a masters degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Her reporting has also been published by the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, the Forward, the Tablet, National Journal, Mother Jones, the American Prospect and the Washington Monthly. She has appeared as a guest on CNN, NPR, the BBC, MSNBC and other public affairs programs. She is also a columnist for World Politics Review.