Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel assumed command of the Pentagon this week. Hagel was sworn in after an extended and contentious encounter with neocon, petulant Republican senators, each in his or her own way, determined to damage both the nominee and President Obama.
Not since Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy hunted non-existent communists in Dwight Eisenhower's executive branch, has the country seen such a vitriolic legislative performance.
Paul Craig Roberts wrote for Global Research, "lawmakers owned by the Israel Lobby" shamed America by their attacks on Hagel.
"The most embarrassing behavior of all came from the craven Lindsay Graham, who, while in the act of demonstrating his complete subservience by crawling on his belly before the Israel Lobby, dared Hagel to name one single person in the US Congress who is afraid of the Israel Lobby.
"If I had been Hagel, I would have written off the nomination and answered: 'You, Senator Graham, and your 40 craven colleagues.'"
This would have indeed, "written off his nomination." Hagel, however, refused to take the bait Graham offered.
The morning after the Senate approved his confirmation, Hagel went to his Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, where he was greeted (picture above) by USMC Lt. General Thomas Waldhauser, who will serve as Hagel's Senior Private Military Assistant.
Jonathan Tobin put his neoconservative spin on Hagel's confirmation process, writing in Commentary...
"The pressure put upon Hagel during the lead-up to his confirmation hearing as well as the difficulty he found himself in when questioned by the Senate Armed Services Committee wasn't merely the usual grind nominees are subjected to.
"The process reaffirmed a basic truth about the strength of the pro-Israel consensus that was placed in doubt by the president's choice: support for the alliance with the Jewish state isn't merely mainstream politics, it is the baseline against which all nominees for high office are measured."
On his War in Context site, Paul Woodward described Tobin's conclusions as evidence that the US alliance with Israel "is the sine quo non of American politics."
Which is to say, the alliance is "something absolutely indispensable." For Commentary , Tobin describes what this involves in his above-the-radar language rarely used in public in US political discourse:
"For anyone to be considered for high political office in the United States of America, they must first demonstrate their alliance with Israel."
Woodward explains the power of the alliance:
"Alliance with Israel isn't merely mainstream American politics -- and the key word here is 'mainstream,' which the dictionary defines as 'a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence.'