More wit and wisdom from Barack Obama’s super-awesome choice of Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, who unloaded some more of his Really Deep Thoughts on Israel at a Rutgers University speech in 2010, prompting a stern email from law student Kenneth Wagner to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee:
“I am sitting in a lecture by Chuck Hagel at Rutgers,” Wagner wrote in the email. “He basically said that Israel has violated every UN resolution since 1967, that Israel has violated its agreements with the quartet, that it was risking becoming an apartheid state if it didn’t allow the Palestinians to form a state. He said that the settlements were getting close to the point where a contiguous Palestinian state would be impossible.”
“He said that he [thought] that Netanyahu was a radical and that even [former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi] Livni, who was hard nosed thought he was too radical and so wouldn’t join in a coalition [government] with him. … He said that Hamas has to be brought in to any peace negotiation,” Wagner wrote.
That’s from the Washington Free Beacon by way of the estimable Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft, who thinks it may spell “good night” for Chuck. It should finish Hagel off, but there’s not really any sign that his anti-Israel sentiments or general ineptitude are factors in his confirmation. The only reason it was held up is that Senate Republicans want to pry more answers about Benghazi from the Obama Administration.
Some of those Republicans, notably John McCain, have been pretty relaxed about portraying their opposition to Hagel as insincere, and declaring that he’ll almost certainly end up as Secretary of Defense. “His comments about Israel were atrocious, but he will be confirmed,” Senator McCain told David Gregory of NBC News on “Meet the Press” last Sunday. McCain briefly mentioned Hagel’s shoddy confirmation testimony and “frankly not only out of the mainstream, but far to the Left” positions on “various issues,” but he didn’t really heat up until Benghazi was discussed, concluding in what amounted to a shouting match with Gregory. McCain then spoke at length about the Administration “cover up” of “information concerning the deaths of four brave Americans,” but the discussion never returned to anything directly related to Chuck Hagel.
The quest for information on Benghazi is a worthy one, and McCain is right to express frustration that the media (in the person of David Gregory) doesn’t seem to care about what happened, or how many balls were dropped by which Administration big shots. But he’s very clearly telegraphing the Republican punch, and their willingness to pull it. They’re not going to accomplish much beyond delaying a Hagel confirmation that McCain cheerfully admits is inevitable… and they’re willing to admit, in public, that they only engineered that delay to use the Hagel nomination as leverage to push an unrelated issue. Say what you will about Hagel’s many flaws, but he didn’t have anything to do with Benghazi; indeed, the Republicans’ point is that blame rests ultimately with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her boss, Barack Obama.
There really isn’t much serious public talk among Senate Republicans about scuttling Hagel because of his antipathy toward Israel, or for that matter the antipathy he has occasionally expressed towards the United States, as in the infamous radio interview where he casually endorsed a caller’s contention that America was the world’s greatest bully. And Senate Democrats do not care about anything Hagel has ever said or done, any more than they care about Benghazi.