Nagila means rejoice in Hebrew but the neo-cons and Vulcans are not rejoicing over Chuck Hagel’s being nominated as Secretary of Defense. They dislike the former Nebraska Senator because he dislikes war and isn’t a slavish worshipper of Bibi Netanyahu and his war-mongering right wing Israeli government. As far as I’m concerned those are excellent reasons to support the Hagel nomination: if Kristol and Bolton hate it, I like it.
On a more serious note, I like the nomination because the former enlisted man appears ready to go to the Pentagon and start cutting the budget, which is imperative after the explosion in military spending during the Bush years. Our Republican friends hate wasteful guvmint and bureaucracy unless it wears camouflage, which makes Hagel a heretic in their eyes. As a bonus, Senator Walnuts and his ventriloquist dummy, Little Lindsey, oppose the nomination, which, yet again, floats my boat.
It’s a sad commentary that placing our national security interests above that of the current Likud dominated Israeli government is controversial in some circles. Bibi makes Menachem Begin and even Ariel Sharon look like fucking hippies, after all. The days of Ben Gurion, Meir, Peres, and Rabin are long gone, so while I support Israel’s right to exist, I don’t support its settlement policy or rush to war with Iran. Netanyahu is like a dog that shits on the rug, the neo-cons applaud his defecatory audacity while I think his nose should be rubbed in it. I’m not sure that Obama would go that far but he might lightly whap Bibi’s nose with a rolled up newspaper or something…
An unlikely supporter of the Hagel selection is one of Obama’s fiercest critics on the left, the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald who does an excellent job of putting Hagel’s 1998 comments about James Hormel in context:
So yes: like virtually every prominent politician in both parties,
Chuck Hagel had primitive and ugly views on gay issues back in 1998. But
shouldn’t the question be: does he still hold these views or, like huge
numbers of Americans, have his viewed evolved since then? Hagel has
apologized for what he said, an apology which Hormel accepted, graciously noting:
“I can’t remember a time when a potential presidential nominee
apologized for anything . . . .Since 1998, fourteen years have passed,
and public attitudes have shifted–perhaps Senator Hagel has progressed
with the times, too.” Moreover, Hagel last week also vowed that he is “fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.”
The openly gay foreign policy insider, Steve Clemons, has known Hagel for years, and two weeks ago wrote in the Atlantic
that “Chuck Hagel is pro-gay, pro-LGBT, pro-ending ‘don’t ask, don’t
tell.’” Beyond his policy views, Clemons recounted personal incident
after personal incident that completely negates the accusation that
Hagel now harbors bigotry toward gay people.
I’m not sure that the Hagel nomination has me ready to dance in the streets to Hava Nagila, but I don’t mind when the President picks a fight with Senate Republicans; especially one he can win.