Of all the things you want in a Secretary of Defense, high on the list is competence. A Secretary of Defense who believes that terrorists cannot be defeated on the battlefield is a failure before he even takes office. But Hagel’s views, in this rant attacking Israel’s campaign in Lebanon actually mirror the views of Obama Inc.
Back in 2006, on the floor of the Senate, Hagel demanded that “the sickening slaughter on both sides must end” and warned that our relationship with Israel “cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships.”
“Military action alone will not destroy Hezbollah or Hamas,” Hagel warned. “The pursuit of tactical military victories at the expense of the core strategic objective of Arab-Israeli peace is a hollow victory. The war against Hezbollah and Hamas will not be won on the battlefield.”
Hagel urged America to listen closely to our partners in Saudi Arabia, “countries that understand the Middle East far better than we do.” And parroting Saudi rhetoric, like a good Saudi lobbyist, Hagel claimed that “the core of all challenges in the Middle East remains the underlying Arab-Israeli conflict.”
This claim was and is nonsense, all the more obviously so after the Sunni-Shiite conflicts and the Arab Spring, but it’s a talking point that immediately allows you to recognize a Saudi stooge or one of their useful idiots.
Hagel then began pushing the Beirut Declaration. “Today, we need a new Beirut Declaration-type initiative. We squandered the last one. The concept and intent of the 2002 Beirut Declaration is as relevant today as it was in 2002.
“The United States should engage our Middle East and international partners to revive the Beirut Declaration, or some version of that declaration, proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and adopted unanimously by the Arab League in March of 2002. In this historic initiative, the Arab world recognized Israel’s right to exist and sought to establish a path toward a two-state solution and broader Arab-Israeli peace.”
What did the actual Beirut Declaration state? It spent several paragraphs celebrating the Palestinian Arab terrorism that they fund, it endorsed Hezbollah, and then it offered to sign a peace agreement with Israel and establish relations with the Jewish State, if Israel withdrew from all 1967 territories and accepted the refugees, which would mean the destruction of Israel.
Then Hagel urged the US to begin negotiating with Syria and Iran, whining, “Even superpowers have to talk to bad guys.”
“Ultimately, the United States will need to engage Iran and Syria with an agenda open to all areas of agreement and disagreement. For this dialog to have any meaning or possible lasting relevance, it should encompass the full agenda of issues.”
In 2005, a year earlier, Hagel was even more explicit saying that Gaza could not “remain a prison to its own citizens” and encouraging a “grand bargain with Iran’s people.” Three years earlier, Hagel had called for “a regional security plan for the Persian Gulf by working with the United Nations, the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, and Iraq.”
This is still Hagel’s vision and it is why Obama chose him.