Friday, January 11, 2013

Memo to Neo-Cons: It's Defense, Not War Secretary

By: Walt Zlotow

Nothing gets a war loving neocon's ire up than the possibility of a Defense Secretary committed to defense of the US instead of perpetual war. That is why the neocons, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (Rep. SC) and media titans such as the Washington Post editorial board and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, are apoplectic over President Obama's nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary. Let's not forget the Likud wing of the Israel First Lobby, which is already trotting out the ludicrous "anti-Semite" charges due allegedly to Hagel's long ago remark that the Israel Lobby exercises too much control over US foreign policy, which it most certainly does. It's deplorable that there is more debate amongst Israelis in Israel over their foreign policy than is allowed here in the good 'ol USA. That must change.

President Obama, like the vast majority of Americans, is sick of the foolish and senseless wars that the neocons marched us into when they controlled the Bush II administration. That is precisely why Obama picked Hagel, a twice wounded Vietnam vet, who turned against the Iraq and Afghan wars when he realized how foolish and senseless they were. President Obama always opposed the Iraq war and fulfilled his campaign promise to end it. He opposes continuing our equally failed Afghan war and set a December 31, 2014, to say "Adios" to corrupt Afghan President Karzai. The neocons have already launched their propaganda campaign to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. With gobs of money and power at stake, they care not a whit how much canon fodder must suffer and die to stay at war.

Even more important, Hagel is Obama's pick to keep the neocons from forcing Obama to pick another catastrophic fight, this time against Iran.

Let's also not forget that in Hagel, the maimed vets, the wounded vets, the psychologically scarred vets, the homeless vets, the jobless vets, will have a champion. His battlefield experience and work in the Veteran's Administration under President Reagan, have made him a hero they would select in a heartbeat to represent their interests.

America's long love affair with senseless war is presaged in the former title of the job Hagel seeks - Secretary of War - which lasted from the Articles of Confederation in 1781, till July 26, 1947, when it was wisely changed to Secretary of Defense. Maybe our weariness with a second world war slaughtering 50 million and impacting most of the 2 billion survivors caused that symbolic change. Maybe its time for another change. How fitting it would be if President Obama could stand at the presidential podium after his confirmation and introduce us to "Chuck Hagel, America's first Secretary of Peace".

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