President Obama's New Nominations

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

President Obama makes a statement alongside Vice President Biden. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty)

Michael Hirsh, chief correspondent for National Journal, talks about the president's nominations of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be his new secretary of defense and John Brennan to head the CIA.


Michael Hirsh

Comments [47]

Noach in Brooklyn

Forty-six comments and only ONE even mentions Brennan?

From everything I've heard about Brennan, he seems like quite a contrast to the somewhat refreshing choice of Hagel.

Seems to me that all who care about civil liberties and human rights should be vociferously protesting and opposing Obama's choice of Brennan.

Jan. 09 2013 07:14 AM
Noach in Brooklyn from Outside the AIPAC echo chamber

As a NON-Zionist Orthodox Jew, I find the attacks on Mr. Hagel from the AIPAC crowd ("the usual suspects") not only without merit but downright ugly and offensive.

Such attacks are based on the premise that any departure whatsoever from the intransigent, rejectionist, _reflexive_ positions and party-line of the prevailing Israel [1] lobby somehow equates to "hostility toward Israel" or even "antiSemitism". When one considers how many _Jews_ (of all types, from the most devout to the most secular/irreligious) and even _Israelis_ (many, if not _most_, of whom consider themselves Zionist) would be implicated by such a premise, it seems rather preposterous.

Senator Charles Hagel was actually one of my write-ins when voting in 2010, primarily because of his outspoken dissent on the Iraq war.[2] In defying his own party, Mr. Hagel demonstrated courage and independence[3]. And his opposition to a policy that has long since been thoroughly discredited and only becomes more so with time, can only vindicate him.

I find Mr. Hagel's _detractors_ and _attackers_ to have far more to answer for than Mr. Hagel.

[1]Or, more correctly, _Zionist State_ of Israel.

This may seem like petty pedantry but the distinction between, on the one hand, _the Jewish people_ (the _true_ meaning of the word "Israel") and the religion/philosphy of _Judaism_, and, on the other, the _Zionist_, _secular_ state that calls itself "Israel", is by no means trivial. And it is a distinction deliberately blurred by Zionists.

[2] The other was Hagel's conservatism on certain key cultural issues, as it aligns considerably with my own traditionalism.

[3] There are actually a number of _conservatives_ as well as Republicans who oppose these endless wars of aggression and empire. Andrew Bacevich (who has been a guest on this very show) is another example. And there are any number of others I could cite-- all of which refute what pro-war propagandists would have you believe: that taking an antiwar position is somehow "anti-American" or inherently _leftist_.

Jan. 09 2013 06:46 AM
Salvatore Principato from Greenwich Village

Hello journalist and historians!!!

you can't negotiate with Hamas?

didn't Israel negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas a few years back?

wasn't Hamas democratically elected in Parliamentary elections?

didn't the U.S. negotiate with the then Soviet Union
though we never recognize that entity as legitimate

i must have been dreaming these things....

Jan. 08 2013 01:44 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Sheldon of Brooklyn, April of Manhattan, and the rest, any of you who are honestly against brutal, racist occupations, please pack up and leave Native American land of North America.

No double standards please from Euros or Africans.

Jan. 08 2013 12:20 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Better a neo-con than a neo-commie.

Jan. 08 2013 11:58 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Nominating Hagel is as unseemly as if President Bill Clinton nominated Strom Thurmond for the same position. Do you think the Black Congressional Caucus would have been comfortable with that?

John McCain would be a better fit. McCain defends America unlike the pale-conservative Moron Paul wing of the Republican party or the Socialist wing of the Democrat Party.

Jan. 08 2013 11:57 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Ed Koch on Chuck Hagel Nomination: Obama’s Reneging on His Conveyed Support for Israel Has Come Earlier Than I Thought

“Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when he would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel,” said Koch, adding, “it comes a little earlier than I thought it would.”



Jan. 08 2013 11:30 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To April from Manhattan

Israel is the most liberal country in the Middle East by far, and if that Israeli said what he said, he was driven to it by very good reasons. Unless you live in Israel and watch Arab language TV in Arabic you cannot believe what is being said on Arab TV every day, for over 60 years. A constant stream of "Hitler was right" and "Inshallah we'll drive all the descendants of the apes and pigs in to the sea" and open calls to holy genocide against the Jews every day. If Mexicans or "indians" or anyone was broadcasting every day that the Whites must be slaughtered and driven back to England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany, and that it is the sacred duty of Native "Indians" to do so, and raise their children to believe that with every fiber of their being, then you would understand why that Israeli said what he said. There is no peace to be had between Israel and the Arabs. It's only a question of time when the big Armageddon comes. Not if, but when.

Jan. 08 2013 11:22 AM
April from Manhattan

I wonder if these comments about Neo Nazi palestinians and anyone who doesn't support Israel 1,000% would be left up if they referred to Jews. I hung out with young Israelis in The Experiment in International Living, (Loving) in N.C. during the '60s. A young man told me "Arabs are animals. We should kill them all." He probably proceeded to kill as many as he could. It's hard to justify taking someone's else's house while thinking of them as people. Ethan Bronner in The New York Times wrote of being with a family in Gaza who were celebrating the break of their Ramadan fast. Who should come in without knocking but the IDF. They searched the house, found no weapons or bombs, and left. The man of the house, justifiably angry, threw a stone at them. He was shot.

Now imagine that happening in Israel, a Palestinian invading an Israeli's house. He'd immediately be labelled a "terrorist". And killed. In fact, it happened. Why Palestinians will never accept demilitarization. Brian also neglected to mention that most of Israel's intelligence and previous leaders are opposed to Netanyanhu's polices on Iran and on settlements. Has Brian interviewed Ethan Bronner? Has he covered Israeli peace activists who confront and try to keep Arab Muslim and Christian Israelis from being thrown out of their houses? Even when they have deeds? An article in the Times lauded the first integrated school in Israel. As a white southener who protested for integration, I was appalled to learn Israeli schools were segregated. Wrote a letter to the Times which was ignored. Wrot e a comment which was deleted. Ha'aretz says "Israel Does Not Want Peace. Period." Can you imagine that in an American paper. I'm told by people on the foreign desk at the Times that AIPAC tries to influence its coverage. What does Israel do for U.S.? I support it, barely, now, because of the holocaust and persecution of Jews worldwide, have seen swastikas and "Juden Rein in Vienna during the seventies, Swastikas in France. And in Canada a friend a swastika saw a swastika on someone's fence and sidewalk. Spent a lot of time tracking down the head of the the only synagogue in Newfoundland and Labrador. Wanted to organize all churches in St John's to support them. He finally emailed from Israel, saying he wanted me to do nothing. This self isolation, as in the sexual abuse hidden in a Brooklyn Ultra Orthodox community, is bad for Jews. They live in America. It's safe to be open. In Israel they're persecutors. Perhaps when Israel falls, as intelligence and former leaders warn, we can give them Utah. They'd get along fine with Mormons. Right wing, puritanical religious from Russia and Vermont, respectively.

Jan. 08 2013 11:14 AM
John A

Interesting reading in the comments section - to see people thread the needle of the various ways to support (and not support!) Israel. But the antislamic slurs are also noted, oh well.
John Brennan really squeaked by this time. Weren't the extrajudicial killings of the CIA in the 70's order-of-magnitude 1,2 dozen and now its 2,3 thousand. Makes me feel the rule of law in this country - when abroad - is nill.

Jan. 08 2013 11:05 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Laila

Can't speak about the whole Muslim world, but it is certainly true in the Palestinian areas. They are raised to have on wish and goal from the day of their birth: to achieve martyrdom by killing Jews and dying in the process.
Maybe Muslims in Indonesia, Malaysia and other parts of the world don't hold that view, but it is a fact in the Palestinian community in Israel and the territories. They are more blunt and crazier than Hitler ever was.

Jan. 08 2013 11:03 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Can a Jew be an antisemite?YOU BET! Ever since Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelite slave traders by his brothers, Jews have been the worst enemies of other Jews. There is no worse antisemite than a Jewish antisemite.They are the most virulent and hateful of all, by far!

Jan. 08 2013 10:59 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To hjs

No apes and humans have a common ancestor, just as Jews and Arabs claim Abraham as a common ancestor. One calling the other the descendent of apes AND pigs is interesting, as both claim descent from Abraham.

Jan. 08 2013 10:56 AM

jg: yes, that derivation of the term antisemite is true. But, does an Arab refer to self as an "antisemite?" Just wondering who can actually be an antisemite... Can a Jewish person be antisemite if she agrees with Hagel?

Jan. 08 2013 10:55 AM

I am appalled that when a caller makes a despicable racist statement that Moslem children are "imbued with hate for Jews while still in diapers", Mr. Lehrer remains silent and just thanks the caller. Mr. Lehrer, who doesn't usually shy away from correcting someone making outrageous and hateful statements, by his silence conveys that there's nothing wrong with this, nor does his guest express any concern about this caller's point of view. I find it shameful that in America one can still say the most ludicrous and untrue things about Moslems and Arabs, because people like Mr. Lehrer in his very powerful position tacitly condone such statements by their silence.

Jan. 08 2013 10:55 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sheldon

My POV is as a dual national, a citizen of both the US AND Israel, and proud of both. The US is my country and Israel is my homeland, and my interest is to see both in harmony and good relations. Not always easy. But people who get married sometimes have to balance their loyalty to their wife and to their mother, and sometimes relations between wives and mother-in-laws get strained and it as an effort to try to keep them as harmonious as feasible.

Jan. 08 2013 10:51 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG - Are your views from the point of view of a US citizen and its interests, or as a...."supporter of Israel" and its government?

Your acid test on US Politicians seem to be rather myopic.

Jan. 08 2013 10:47 AM

Elaine from Baltimore
we ARE descendants of apes?! whats your point? people say dumb things?

Jan. 08 2013 10:46 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sheldon

I'd call you an honest person. Especially if you actually moved back to Texas.

Jan. 08 2013 10:45 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The term "antisemitismus" was invented by a German pamphleteer in the 1870s to refer to JEWS. Maybe that's because there were no Muslims in Germany at that time. So the official definition of "antisemitism" is anti-Jewish bias and prejudice. You can look it up in the dictionary.

Jan. 08 2013 10:43 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

"We'll see what happens when we get the first Muslim mayor in the not to distant future. I hope I'll either be dead or living in Israel again when that happens."

JG, if I had said "We'll see what happens when we get the first JEWISH mayor in the not to distant future. I hope I'll either be dead or living in Texas again when that happens."

What would you call me?

Jan. 08 2013 10:42 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


To me Hillary is an enemy, not a friend.I remember when she called for a Palestinian state back in 1998, the first first lady to ever do so, and was criticised for it at the time. I am happy to see her go. The liberal "it takes a village to raise a child" idiot has done the US no good overseas. I'm long past my earlier "liberal jew" days of my misspent youth, so I doubt we'll see eye to eye on many issues.

Jan. 08 2013 10:39 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Bloomberg is one of those Jew Yorkers who have helped make New York City a livable place again, something it wasn't in the '60s, '70s and '80s. Not to say I agree with him on everything, but he has made this city great again. We'll see what happens when we get the first Muslim mayor in the not to distant future. I hope I'll either be dead or living in Israel again when that happens.

Jan. 08 2013 10:35 AM

Semite: "A member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs."

Interesting that an 'anti'-semite has been conflated to only refer to Jews.

Jan. 08 2013 10:35 AM
April from Manhattan

it's interesting to see who you let on air, Brian. There's more than one Israel lobby in DC. You've had the head of J St on your show. They're for Hagel, as is the NY Times, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books. If you read Reader Pick comments on Time Op Eds they're all for Hagel, some saying - gasp - Israel isn't part of America - and shouldn't be as close as it is, and for getting tough with Israel to save it. American Jews voted for Obama in huge numbers, not buying that he's anti Israel. A while ago, the NYRB published "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment". One liner: "They expected young Jews to check their liberalism at the door of Zionism; they did the opposite." I personally feel we should cut aid until they stop the new settlements that makes a two state solution impossible. Brian didn't even mention the settlements. He kept asking people to say Hagel's an old white anti semitic anti gay guy. Ten years ago the whole country was different on gay marriage, including New York. An amazingly rapid change.

Jan. 08 2013 10:35 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@ Amy - remember Hillary Clinton's career was supposed to have been over when she hugged Arafat's wife.

@JG, careful of people who pretend to be your friend.

Jan. 08 2013 10:34 AM
NE from NYC

antisemitism is very nuanced.
However, A Jew can glean into a person's mind/heart from moments of "misspeaking." For a seasoned Washington Pol. to call AIPAC a Jew Lobby says a lot about where he stands.
There is nothing wrong with admitting you're not fond of Jews.
I knew a guy fresh from Nebraska who had just moved to NYC.
He had known 2 Jews in NE his whole life. He was utterly unprepared to live in "Jew-York" and had opinions about it.

Jan. 08 2013 10:27 AM

There is also the political point in which the choice of Hagel will be seen as a bi-partisan choice. The neocon, tea party psychopaths can's live with the notion that Obama has reached across the isle.

Jan. 08 2013 10:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Graham is a good Christian, like the ones who save my mother in WWII, which is why he stands with Israel against the IslamoNazis who call themselves "Palestinians." Much better than the liberal "Jews" who seek Israel's surrender so that they can fit in and be "good Americans."

Jan. 08 2013 10:26 AM
Elaine from Baltimore

Re: comment on Morsi: Please read recent Haaretz article: In 2010, Mohamed Morsi, now Egypt's president, called Israelis “descendants of apes and pigs” and said peace talks with Zionists were a waste of time.

please comment

Jan. 08 2013 10:24 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG - you don't think that the likes of Graham cares about Israel because the GOP are "good Christians" do you?

Jan. 08 2013 10:22 AM
Amy from Manhattan

As Yitzhak Rabin said, you make peace w/your enemies, not your friends. And how can you make peace w/them without negotiating w/them? Remember when the PLO was looked at the same way Hamas is now? Will it have to take 30 years before Israel & Hamas can get to the same point?

Jan. 08 2013 10:21 AM

this is an awesome propaganda segment...they all are war mongers.

Jan. 08 2013 10:20 AM

jgarbuz from Queens = perpetually irrelevant.

Jan. 08 2013 10:20 AM

Are there members of AIPAC that are NOT Jewish??

How is it that being critical of Israel's odious treatment of Palestine is considered "anti-semitic"??

Jan. 08 2013 10:19 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I bet if this were 1940 while the British were being blitzed by the Nazi Luftwaffe, Hagel would have probably called for an "even handed" policy between Hitler and Churchill. He probably would have opposed US aid to Britain and probably supported US arms sales to Nazi Germany.

Jan. 08 2013 10:18 AM

How is this fact checking?!? This is your guest's own opion about what he thinks Hagel would do and about what is an "absurd" factor to consider.

Jan. 08 2013 10:18 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

AIPAC is so powerful, it has convinced the world it doesn't exist.

Jan. 08 2013 10:17 AM
Robert from NYC

Eliot Abrams? Really? That fool neo-con? And yes Brian, he and many like him throw out anti-semite which diminishes the meaning of the word and the what an anti-semite is.

Jan. 08 2013 10:17 AM

Y. Lieberman from Riverdale ~

Excellent observation.

Jan. 08 2013 10:16 AM
@Sheldon from Brooklyn from Riverdale

THANK YOU! It's as if people thought Israel was our 51st state.

Jan. 08 2013 10:15 AM
Christine from Westchester

So far I haven't heard anything about this guy that doesn't make him sound like one of the best choices Obama has made. Good move on his part: He's a Republican so won't it look foolish for the GOP to not support this nom?

Jan. 08 2013 10:14 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Hey dboy

I was wondering how long I'd have to wait for you to chime in! AIPAC checkbooks, eh?

Jan. 08 2013 10:14 AM
Y. Lieberman from Riverdale

Chuck Hagel is the calm voice of reason, which is why he infuriates Republicans. Republicans don't want to hear the hard truths: that war is costly, that the benefits are uncertain, that blindly supporting Israel gets us into unwinnable Middle-East quagmires. Republicans only want to hear something you can put on a bumper sticker.

Jan. 08 2013 10:13 AM
Bpbby G from East Village

Hagel repudiated the neocons. Now they are going after him (re: Elliot Abrams). As far as I'm concerned Hagel is right.

Jan. 08 2013 10:13 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Hmm, is Chuck Hagel being nominated for defense minister of Israel or the United States?

Jan. 08 2013 10:12 AM

Critics of Hagel in the Senate are concerned about their AIPAC paychecks. The louder the criticism the bigger the checks.

Jan. 08 2013 10:11 AM

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