By nominating former senator Hagel to be Secretary of State, Obama has taken one of the most courageous steps of his presidency–he has opened wide the door to the carefully avoided issue of making a judgment about the morality, legality, and propriety of the Neo-Con invasion and occupation of Iraq…and the whole Republican premise that wars on terror and politically active Islam are legitimate strategy for U.S. foreign policy. Republicans, of course, see the challenge and are using “loyalty” to Israel (not to their own country) as their excuse for opposing him. Given the disastrous nature of the U.S. response to politically active Islam, you can hardly expect them to debate the issue head-on.
Among the several reasons why extreme Republicans do not want a moderate Republican as Secretary of Defense is the issue of whether or not placing Israel–and particularly the militant Netanyahu faction–ahead of U.S. national interests may constitute disloyalty to the U.S. Hagel has the reputation of having been, as he put it, “Senator from the U.S., not from Israel.” Indeed.
Should U.S. politicians to be loyal to the U.S.or to Israel? Choice is unavoidable. Anyone who claims that two countries on opposite sides of the earth and in dramatically distinct situations share identical interests is being dishonest. Even two brothers do not share “identical” interests: they may compete for the same job…or lady.
When a man cannot be named secretary of defense OF THE U.S. without placing the national interest of another state FIRST…well, you see the trap in which this line of thinking places knee-jerk U.S. supporters of a particular and particularly warlike Israeli faction. And it is not just extremist Republicans who will be caught in a logical trap of their own making when Hagel comes before the Senate for confirmation. Many U.S. politicians will find themselves incriminated if the issue of choosing between loyalty to Israel and loyalty to the U.S. starts to be discussed openly in the U.S. Divided loyalty is no loyalty at all.