The Hagel Trap
by Daniel McAdams
can make people do strange things. Obama's election was like a neutron
bomb to the majority of the antiwar Left, with too many of the former
eloquent critics of "W" suddenly twisting themselves into
inhuman intellectual contortions to explain why drones in Yemen/Pakistan,
targeted killing of American citizens, and arming al-Qaeda in Libya
and Syria were both humanitarian and patriotic.
The rest of
those opposed to empire were left desperate and grasping. Many initially
sung hosannas to Obama claiming he was an antiwar alternative we
could get behind. That didn't turn out too well. To their credit
some of those soon realized their mistake, but the intellectually
dangerous impulse to seek salvation in a personality lingered
the temptation of a short-cut to the promised land.
us to former Senator Chuck Hagel, who far too many in the remnant
of the antiwar, anti-empire movement have taken to praising as if
with his nomination expected tomorrow the war party would
It is a trap.
Hagel is the
perfect choice for Obama if he wants to actually expand militarism:
Hagels peace/anti-empire backers will be silenced when Hagel
does as he is told (as he must) and continues, possibly expands,
the disastrous policies of this administration. Do they really believe
that the employee will force his drone-a-holic employer to suspend
what has become the centerpiece of his foreign policy? What are
Hagel's backers going to do when he does as he must, as a man who
serves at the pleasure of a president who believes he has the Constitutional
authority to draw up a "kill list" of Americans? Will
they start denouncing the very person they demanded get the job
in the first place? How foolish would that look? How ineffective.
what you ask for. And don't forget that among the others asking
are those like the Podesta
Group, who are currently making
a killing on all the killing they supported in Serbia under
their former boss, former president Clinton.
And if Obama
decides to invade Iran (or anywhere else) there are two things a
Defense Secretary Hagel can do: 1) be a good soldier and carry out
to the best of his abilities the command of his commander in chief
(call it the the Colin Powell UN option); or 2) resign in protest,
which simply does not happen in these days. What then? Haven't we
been here before?
I think it
is a losing proposition to put faith in a Hagel nomination when
the real problem is our foreign policy which is neither set
by Hagel nor controlled by him. He is a good man in many ways to
be sure. And that the Lindsey Grahams of the world despise him make
it all the more tempting to sign those petitions. But in the end
it will prove the timeless axiom of the all-time
champion of politics, who said "the best way to control
the opposition is to lead it ourselves."
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