Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 5 Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (7 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   5 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Hagel: The Neocons' Last Stand?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 12/20/12

Become a Fan
  (53 fans)
- Advertisement -
Cross-posted from Consortium News

Sen. Chuck Hagel during a 2008 visit to Iraq. (Photo credit: Lance Cpl. Casey Jones)

The year 2012 has been a rough one for Washington's arrogant neocons. Their political influence has waned since they threw in their lot with presidential loser Mitt Romney and then witnessed the ignominious resignation of their ally David Petraeus as CIA chief. But they are now mounting a fierce counter-attack to reestablish their relevance by demonizing former Sen. Chuck Hagel.

Hagel has become the neocons' new target of opportunity after emerging as a likely choice to become Defense Secretary. He is a bete noire to the neocons because he is viewed as disturbingly independent of Israel's preferences for what U.S. foreign and military policy must be.

The former Republican senator from Nebraska also once made reference to Washington's powerful "Jewish Lobby" when he apparently should have said "Israel Lobby," though it's often been a firing offense in Washington to publicly acknowledge the existence of any lobby favoring Israel.

Hagel has indicated, too, a preference for real negotiations with Iran regarding its nuclear program rather than simply a steady escalation of sanctions and hostilities leading inexorably to war, as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many neocons seem to prefer.

Another one of Hagel's alleged sins is that he believes the vast Pentagon budget "needs to be pared down." The Washington Post editorial page, which has long been the neocons' media flagship in the nation's capital, denounced that position as irresponsible and out of the mainstream.

"Mr. Hagel's stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term -- and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him," the Post sniffed in a Dec. 19 editorial.

But it is clear that Hagel's primary disqualification is that he has, at times, refused to sign on to hawkish neocon positions circulated by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, such as piling on more anti-Iran sanctions and demanding that Europe designate Hezbollah, Israel's chief foe in Lebanon, as a terrorist organization.

- Advertisement -

Thus, the neocons' campaign to intimidate Obama into pulling back Hagel's expected nomination has become a test of whether the neocons can still exert enough muscle to block disfavored American citizens from holding public office. Such hardball tactics succeeded during Obama's first term.

The War on Chas Freeman

Indeed, the neocons' current offensive against Hagel is reminiscent of their successful drive in 2009 to blackball former U.S. Ambassador Chas W. Freeman from getting a job as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was decried as a "realist" who was too friendly with Arab countries.

"Realist ideology pays no attention to moral differences between states," Jon Chait wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post entitled "Obama's Intelligence Blunder." Chait, a senior editor at the neocon New Republic, added: "As far as realists are concerned, there's no way to think about the way governments act except as the pursuit of self-interest."

But Freeman's real crime was again a lack of sufficient ardor toward Israel and his recognition that an Israel Lobby actually exists in Washington.

- Advertisement -

"Realists tend not to abide the American alliance with Israel, which rests on shared values with a fellow imperfect democracy rather than on a cold analysis of America's interests," Chait wrote...

"Taken to extremes, realism's blindness to morality can lead it wildly astray. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, both staunch realists, wrote 'The Israel Lobby,' a hyperbolic attack on Zionist political influence. ...

"Freeman praised 'The Israel Lobby' while indulging in its characteristic paranoia. 'No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article,' he told a Saudi news service in 2006, 'given the political penalties that the lobby imposes on those who criticize it.'"

The right-wing Washington Times published its own smear job against Freeman, written by former Reagan administration Pentagon official Frank Gaffney, another neocon.

"The announcement ... that the Obama administration would turn over the job of preparing National Intelligence Estimates to a man whom Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Hamas surely consider an agent of influence calls to mind an old axiom about Charles 'Chas' Freeman's new line of work -- "Garbage in, garbage out,'" Gaffney wrote.

Faced with this furious reaction to the appointment of Freeman, the novice President Barack Obama quickly retreated. Freeman was forced to step down, and the neocons celebrated their reassertion of political clout even in Obama's Washington. They also could still count as key allies much of Bush's old national security team retained by Obama, from Gen. David Petraeus to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Next Page  1  |  2

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Google Content Matches:
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter

What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?

Ron Paul's Appalling World View

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

The Disappearance of Keith Olbermann

A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

The neocons know that irrational ideological consi... by Michael Collins on Thursday, Dec 20, 2012 at 6:42:01 PM
I have followed Robert's work for 30 years and tha... by Bill Mack on Thursday, Dec 20, 2012 at 8:43:57 PM
Chuck Hagel is a neo-con himself. A former radio t... by Bill Mack on Thursday, Dec 20, 2012 at 8:33:49 PM
Hagel is no victim and he was instrumental with ES... by Michael Collins on Friday, Dec 21, 2012 at 10:17:52 AM
........and common sense. There was a time (I'm in... by Tom James on Friday, Dec 21, 2012 at 9:26:15 PM