The doings in the US Senate over the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense are illustrative of many things, not all of which are what they seem to be at first glance. We have a few days now before this plays out, and therefore an opportunity to reflect on the dynamics at work here.


Dr. Alan Sabrosky



I won't bore everyone with a blow-by-blow recitation of what has happened to date. Suffice to say that Hagel's nomination was controversial before it became a reality, in stark contrast to the near-unanimous acclaim that greeted the nomination of John Kerry to be the next Secretary of State — a difference that was reflected in their very different hearings, from Kerry's gracious love-fest to Hagel's vicious grilling, and in the votes in their respective committees and the full Senate.

What purportedly made Hagel controversial were his stands on three issues: (1) Israel, or at least its lobby; (2) Iraq, as in Israel's latest national victim, courtesy of the US and its so-called "coalition of the willing"; and (3) Iran, as in the notional "existential threat" Israel has contrived, and which it hopes to make its next victim — as with Iraq, largely through the use of American military power, economic coercion and diplomatic leverage, alone or in concert with whatever others Washington can entice to join it.

What then ensued was a fascinating political ballet in which Hagel and his Administration backers tried to marshal as much support from Jewish organizations, correspondents and senators as possible, asserting that he was neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semitic.  His opponents — principally AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Israel's semi-official lobby in Washington), CUFI (Christians United for Israel, the mostly evangelical "Christian Zionist" step-child of AIPAC), and the assorted neo-conservative "chicken hawks" littering the journalistic and think-tank scene — equally strenuously tried to demonstrate the converse, with the "neo-cons" and CUFI taking more and more of the lead as time went on.

Oddly enough, what the rest of America may have thought about all this largely went unremarked, almost to the extent that one would have thought we had stepped back a few thousand years to a time when the ancient Near East (as it was once called) was the be-all and end-all of what passed for world politics in our part of the world. China? Russia? India? The so-called "war on terror"? The condition of the US military? Only piddly little things when weighed in the political balance against Israel, Israel, and Israel — the Washington counterpart of the realtor's trinity of "location, location, and location."


Looking at the various comments Hagel made over the years, the positions he took, and his votes, it is difficult to see how he could have been construed by anyone to the left of the late and unlamentable Meir Kahane as hostile to Israel as a country. He steadfastly supported it on virtually every issue. He continued to voice support for the moribund "two-state solution," which has been a dead issue for at least the last 300,000 Jewish settlers, if not from the outset. Never did he suggest witholding aid  from Israel for its assorted transgressions, much less imposing sanctions on it, but endorsed an approach completely congruent with the positions of moderate-to-liberal pro-Israel Jewish groups such as the Israel Policy Forum (IPF).

His actual lapses were four: (1) he remarked that Israel treated Palestinians like caged animals — true, of course, but one of many unspeakable truths in Washington; (2) he referred to the leverage in Washington of the Jewish lobby, not simply the Israel lobby — also true, as manifested in the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (check out its website), of which AIPAC is but one of forty-nine organizations under its umbrella, enhanced by shoals of smaller organizations and individuals; (3) he saw no reason to rush head-long into a war with Iran when there was no hard evidence at all that its actions or intentions posed a threat to anyone else — perfectly reasonable by any standard, and a position shared by the current US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), among many others; and (4) he rejected AIPAC's core principle on Capitol Hill, which is that US senators and representatives should always act as if they were Israeli senators and representatives on any and all matters of even the slightest interest to Israel, and refused to blindly endorse AIPAC's episodic resolutions circulating on Capitol Hill.

The first three lapses were venal sins, and might well have prompted little more than some ritualistic criticism from those who ended up arrayed against him, but the fourth was — to AIPAC and thus to its assorted confederates — a mortal sin, implying that he might stray, and stray far, from the AIPAC-defined political reservation that is its Washington enclave. This is not something AIPAC can tolerate, especially in so critical a position as Secretary of Defense, who in concert with the JCS could actually pose a hurdle to Israel's ambitions. And it was this supposed failing — not actual hostility to Israel and its security, but to AIPAC and its heavy-handed tactics on Capitol Hill — that fueled opposition to Hagel, and the vitriolic attacks and interrogation he encountered (principally from Republicans) in the Senate, and from the neo-conservatives and CUFI more generally.


Hagel was in a unique position to take on AIPAC: 12 years in the Senate, a combat veteran, a good position with the Atlantic Council, and a history of having made more candid comments about Israel and AIPAC than anyone else nominated to such a post for many years. If he had stood by what he had said in the past, he might not have been confirmed – hell, he might not be confirmed anyway! – but the entire issue would have been thrown onto the public screen, thanks to C-SPAN among others, and could have forced a degree of disclosure and open discussion on these issues heretofore unknown. Asked a pointed question, for instance, such as who is intimidated by AIPAC, he could have named names, and no one could have stopped him from doing so. Everyone in the committee room would have cringed, but at least some others elsewhere would have sat up and taken notice. From such small beginnings do great things happen.

But he threw away the chance, recanted everything, apologized for most of his remarks, denied knowing or consorting with people he had to have known well, and ended up asserting that Israel was our best ally in the entire world – God, how our NATO allies, plus South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and others must have laughed — or cringed! It is so bad to see a grown man grovel for the sake of his ambition, and that is just what he did. Yet in fairness, it should not be laid entirely at his door: Had  John Kerry been subjected to a comparable eight-hour inquisition, he would not have come out well, either; those exercises could even have had Mother Teresa twisting in the wind.

The best that can be expected right now is a weakened, compromised but almost certainly vengeful Hagel confirmed as Secretary of Defense, with most of his former party arrayed against him. And most of his former Republican colleagues would have to understand that under Secretary Hagel, Pentagon contracts to their states are likely to be few and far between, or at least attributable to Democratic members in their states if they come at all. But Hagel's options are limited. If he does attempt to renege on his mea maxima culpa, his experience before assorted committees in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives would make that in the Senate Armed Services Committee recently seem like a stroll through the Garden of Eden — pre-snake, of course!

The worst is his withdrawal rather than continuing to run the gauntlet of personal attacks, or holding fast yet being rejected for the position – something the neo-cons will assuredly try very hard to accomplish. And they may well do so: the pattern so far is to attack anyone critical of Israel or its supporters, then to extract an apology from them coupled with a retraction of whatever was seen to be offensive, and finally to destroy them anyway. This would put Hagel in the Faustian position of having bartered his ethical soul and his principles away for something snatched from his grasp in the end by a hydra-headed political Mephistopheles.

Whichever happens, we can be sure of one thing: no one with his prospects for achieving a senior cabinet position is likely to be presented for many years to come, if at all. There may not be a magic bullet to end the Zionist domination of the American political process, but in Chuck Hagel, we got a dud. I do not regret supporting him at the beginning, but I wish he had shown more fortitude as the process degenerated — admittedly a lot to ask, but then the position to which he was nominated cries out for someone like that, which it has not had for many years. Well, perhaps next time — if there is one — it'll be a Marine in his place.


*Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College. He can be contacted at docbrosk@comcast.net

Previous article Iran is not in the process of developing a nuclear arsenal
Next articleAmerica Shamed Again: Are US Lawmakers “Owned” by the Israel Lobby?
Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a writer and consultant specializing in national and international security affairs. In December 1988, he received the Superior Civilian Service Award after more than five years of service at the U.S. Army War College as Director of Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, and holder of the General of the Army Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research. He is listed in WHO’S WHO IN THE EAST (23rd ed.). A Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Army War College, Dr. Sabrosky’s teaching and research appointments have included the United States Military Academy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Middlebury College and Catholic University; while in government service, he held concurrent adjunct professorships at Georgetown University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Dr. Sabrosky has lectured widely on defense and foreign affairs in the United States and abroad.


  1. To learn more about the John Kerry love affair with Israel people should read the article by the late Joe Vialls. The title is Kosher Kerry cons the Christians, crikey and it reveals how Kerry claims to have been surprised to learn that he is a jew, although his brother is a jew who has a jewish wife. Interesting reading about Kerry flying with Israeli airforce and how he felt a sense of being at home in Israel.  

  2. It would have been nice if Hagel would have defended the things he said and did, but then he would never get the position.  I think he knew he had to shut up at the hearing, but maybe, if he gets the job, he will stand agianst war and against Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people–which are crimes against humanity.

  3. I am still surprised that Obama was allowed to pick Hagel, who is a representative for the average goym. I agree with Frederick, if Hagel had barked during the hearing he would never get the job and his reply would be confined to C-SPAN, not being relayed by the MSM. I just wonder what Lee Whitnum would do if she had a chance to go to a Congress hearing.

  4. Alan is right on the mark.  Israel is a rogue state, and responsible for most of the foeign policy ills the U.S. has.  We must make elections publicly financed to take away from Israel and all others the chance to bribe our legislators for their corrupt agendas.  = George Beres in Eugene, Oregon

  5. Most of our politicians are whores to Israel.  We send billions every year to this criminal hideout and it comes back in the form of campaign contributions.  Victory through deception Chuck! Change your name to Hagelstein, start talking about what a genius Adam Sandler is, your election will be a piece of cake.

  6. “ he (Hagel) threw away the chance, recanted everything, apologized for most of his remarks, denied knowing or consorting with people he had to have known well, and ended up asserting that Israel was our best ally in the entire world – God, how our NATO allies, plus South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and others must have laughed — or cringed! It is so bad to see a grown man grovel for the sake of his ambition, and that is just what he did”  


    Yes, as a person from one of those allies mentioned above by Alan, it is cringe-making, and how.   As a country, we have never bombed a ship like the USS Liberty and strafed the crew in the water; we have fought with  the US in every conflict (many totally unjustified) including WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanstan and will no doubt do the same when the Zionists take control of the whole of America and start a war of convenience (to them) so that  their troops can remain away from all the battles as has been their practice, except of course when it is safe to come out and bomb women and civilians in Gaza or to use the settlers to murder and destroy villages in Palestine.  


    What a psychotic state  is Israel, the state that made a man like Hagel, who could have bought & sold one or all of his inquisitors at the hearing many times over,  (or so we thought) become an instant coward and agree with the so-called ‘US Senators’ that Israel was really a gem, were loveable people with the interests of America uppermost in their minds, constantly re-evaluting what they can contribute to the welfare of this once great country and ready to serve the cause, at any price.  


    So much for fiction. That’s enough for one day.   All the things that a person like Chuck Hagel could have represented have now vaporised. He is a man with feet of clay and whether he gets the confirmation matters little. He has prostrated himself before his new masters, the Zionists of America and won’t they relish it. So he is no better than they are and whereas he may still retain his dislike of war, his interest in negotiating rather than sanctioning a war, he has shown the Zionists, Neocons, Christian Zionists, fellow travellers and sycophants that he can be bullied and that he WILL go to water on demand, well, perhaps on request is a better phrase.   Now for the forces of evil, that’s a good result.


    McCain, who I believe has stated that he will now vote for confirmation, knows that he has Hagel at his beck and call. The qualities or lack thereof that Hagel may have had three weeks ago were always there and were always going to be controlled so it seems Now we have seen it  


    So what the hell was it all about, anyway. Just another step on the downhill road for a morally bankrupt America. A great disappointment

  7. Morally bankrupt.
    Have you noticed that the US is not too well placed financially either.
    Yes it is disappointing about Hagel. States clearly that one shouldn't bank  on the availability of decent people in the upper echelons any more.
    Reading on VNN today that the FBI seems corrupt as well when you see the actions in place to stop any further murmurs from that brave lady whisteleblower and now the corruption involving Israel (no surprise there) and Turkey. Those Israelis are akin to a limpet mine. They'll cling to anything to get an advantage (for them, that is).
    Where to from here?
    Further down I would think. All we really need is for the arch villain Cheney to emerge to "arrange" with Israel a false flag incident, someting like 9/11, to get another war going. Helps the military suppliers to fill their order books.
    Just a matter of time.

  8. Thank you all for visiting and taking the time to express your views.

    Yes, indeed it is pathetic that the politicians and leaders of the only superpower are reduced to such servile boot-licking, by Israeli apologists in the Senate, shamelessly on display on national television for the whole world to witness.


    As I have said before and I reiterate, the Jewish Lobby has a very long history of threatening and blackmailing US politicians and even US presidents and subjecting critics of Israel in America, to the anti semitic smear.


    This is just one more example in a long list of decent Americans that have at least had the courage to try and lift the taboo but have ended up paying dearly for being forthright in their criticism of Israel.


    The Hagel nomination hearings has been a great exposure, whoever planned it and if it was in fact a plan, they have achieved their objectives.


    For how long are Americans expected to continue to censor themselves for Israel? Do they realize they are becoming the laughing stock of the free World? Think about how many otherwise honest, knowledgeable are restrained and have worn the same albatross around their necks.


    “The truth is, for our democracy to work it needs not just an engaged citizenry, but an informed one.”


    In a democracy, public misperceptions carry an enormous cost, eg: The Invasion of Iraq.


    As PC Roberts notes: “To every American’s shame, the Republicans demonstrated for all the world to see that they are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Israel Lobby.The Israel Lobby is not their only master. They are also owned by powerful interest groups, such as Wall Street and the Military/Security Complex.”  dig a little deeper into Wallstreet & Military Industrial security complex and you will once again be led to the tribe. Go figure!


    Read the whole article here:





  9. Well, I for one am not as pessimistic as Alan. I think Hagel was coached to be submissive by the WH trainers prior to the training because without the performance he displayed, he would not be confirmed. Now he has a good chance of being confirmed, and you know he is not gong to take this humiliation lying down. I think the best is yet to come.

  10. So this is the way in which the United States is going to continue to degrade itself?

    A man, no matter how decent, who has debased himself by withdrawing so many things that he'd previously stated he believe to be true is looked upon as the best they can get for such an important position?

    What a message to send to young people.  Never mind, say what you like, you can always recant if the going gets tough.

  11. It really saddens me to see these comments, all valid in one way or another.   One is forced to ask, where to from here?.  


    The control and repression exerted on the American pioneers against the foreign king and colonising country, England, forced them to take up arms thereby producing a country, free at that time, a Constitution, valuable at that time but now past its use-by-date and a then followed a couple of hundred years of growth, espousing all the while the decent words that so many others have seen as worthy enough to emulate, all around the world.  


    A leader, a true leader among countries   Not any more   It pains me to say that America is now a spent force. It should have, but still  has not sacrificed its costly and exhorbitant empire structure, still there as 900+ military bases, sending the country into liquidation, but it has sacrificed its REAL democracy to a foreign, grasping user nation, Israel. Even worse than that, however, is the people's acceptance of the status quo, the alienation of all the good things that used to mean the USA, no longer visible, anywhere. They are just not there any more. Nothing. An empty shell.  


    The rightwing Christians are political, not religious, the politicians are consumed with preserving their seats and will do anything to maintain that grand lifestyle, but the real shame is that the people have lost their will to question their government. So we have a debt level that is a disgrace. We manufacture overseas for $5 per hour and wonder why there is such high unemployment in our country. That's just for profit. Ask Apple!  


    The US has allowed an arrogant and selfish country to get to a point that no one has a voice  any more, no one can have a contrary viewpoint to the well-entrenched Zionists who have, based on their nature, used this country for its own ends, never giving, just taking all that they can manage. They planned this well knowing that they could create  a fertile environment based on the apathy of the people who, year after year were becoming disenchanted with their government. They used that apathy. It is the nature of the beast!   And who seemed to care then? These are the same Zionist who “stand apart” from the real US, who search out the weakness in people so that they can be exploited and then use it to their advantage.


    Fifty years, well planned and now crippling  the country that has given them shelter, crippling in every possible way imaginable.   You cannot change what people are, their natures, their psychotic mentalities, but you can and shoulf try to stop them infecting 300 million people with the same disease, surely.   But only if you have the will. No better reason has ever been seen than this humiliating period  in the so-called United States Senate.