Hagel, a far-right Republican hostile to abortion rights, gay rights and civil rights, and who has come under fire for his views on Israel, the Middle East and the Islamist regime in Tehran, has strangely become a progressive cause celeb among the Guardian-style left.
At the heart of the case against Senator Hagel’s nomination, according to Kinzer, is the Nebraska Senator’s opposition to the powerful pro-war movement.
“What do Nebraska and Iran have in common? Not much – but enough to cause big trouble for former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, whose possible nomination to be secretary of defense is being challenged by the powerful bomb-Iran-yesterday lobby.”
Also troubling Kinzer are the “militarists” controlled by the pro-Israel lobby.
“Militarists in Washington, taking their cue from pro-Israel lobbyists, are trying to derail the appointment because Hagel doubts the wisdom of starting another war in the Middle East.”
Kinzer helpfully contextualizes the political debate in Washington by evoking a political debate in the US which took place 95 years ago.
“Nebraska Senator George Norris, who voted against both United States entry into first world war and American membership in the League of Nations…told Americans that the push toward global engagement was the project of “munition manufacturers, stockbrokers, and bond dealers“; and he warned that it “brings no prosperity to the great mass of common and patriotic citizens.”
Hagel is in the great American tradition of the prairie populist. He has sought to speak a word or two of truth to power. Power is not amused. That is why his nomination is in trouble before it has even been announced.”
An isolationist who warns of the hidden hand of militarists, unpatriotic Zionists, the military industrial complex, and monied classes?
The fact that such hysterical, sophomoric agitprop – which manages to evoke the nativist fear-mongering of Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford – has found its way onto the pages of ‘Comment is Free’ would only come as a surprise to those who still entertain the fanciful notion that the Guardian is a liberal institution.