Two articles in the past 24 hours prompted this post. First was one on the confirmation hearings for Chuck Hagel; the second was a report that 22 suicides per day occur in our veterans. Other people’s kids sent to war. Old men’s wars.
Vietnam War veteran Chuck Hagel sat in the hot seat, grilled on whether he was ‘man enough’ to head the Pentagon. Had he ‘grown a pair’ was the question. Did he really have the guts for defending our nation? Those were the questions delivered by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, many of whom have never served a day in their lives. Hagel noted this problem back in 2003 just before George W. Bush’s War on Iraq when he said, ‘… some of his fellow Republicans, in their zest for war, lacked the perspective of veterans like him, who have “sat in jungles or foxholes and watched their friends get their heads blown off.”’
Too bad that he didn’t repeat that remark earlier this week. The committee was replete with chicken hawks. Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham*, for example, never sat in foxholes, but were critical of the man who twice earned a Purple Heart, the veteran who sat before them. Other committee members never served either: David [Adulterer] Vitter, Roy Blunt, Mike Lee and Jeff Sessions.
Zest for war, especially war with Iran. ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran’ John McCain was especially obnoxious to his former ‘friend.’ Back in 2000, when McCain eyed the Oval Office, said that he’d like Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Times change, apparently, and seemingly quite often for the beleaguered senator from Arizona. It makes one wonder if he still mad that ‘that one’ beat him in 2008? The fact that ‘that one’ won a 2nd term clearly irritated the festering wound. The fact that McCain has often displayed wide swings in mood and ‘beliefs’ ought to say something about the effects of war.
The GOP senators on the committee seemed to be quite angry. Why? What was the source of their anger? As an unlicensed psychologist, I’ll take a stab. First, he’s a RINO in their eyes because he opposed GW Bush’s war and is working for a Democratic president. Second, they’ve lost two national elections in a row and their political brand is highly tainted of late. Third, Hagel sees no reason to enter a war with Iran. And finally, perhaps the real reason for the anger, is Israel. Hagel was chided for referring to the ‘Jewish lobby’ rather than the ‘Israeli’ lobby.
The fact that the word, Israel, was used 166 times during the hearing might lead one to suspect that Hagel was a candidate for the Israeli Defense Ministry. Does it seem that the GOP is a branch of the Israeli government? To the Republican Party, nothing is more important than the defense of Israel. In fact, Hagel needed the blessing of New York’s Chuck Schumer before any serious talks began.
While Israel was referred to 166 times, Iran got 144 references. Any link here? What does the GOP plan regarding these two nations? Clearly something is up. To paraphrase a line from children’s poetry about dinosaurs: “the neocons are not all dead, I saw one yesterday raise his ugly head!” The warmongers. The ones who sold GW Bush on the wisdom of invading Iraq. And the best cheerleader of all and ‘bomb Iran’ advocate, McCain, was grilling Hagel on the benefits of preemptive war. Imagine that!
Imagine further if McCain had won or Romney. I shudder and thank the voters of Ohio for rejecting that nightmare scenario.
Twenty-two veterans per day take their own lives. Pitiful, yet merely collateral damage for the chicken hawks!
* Lindsay Graham served in the United States Air Force (1982-88) as a lawyer, and then in the South Carolina Air National Guard and as an Air Force reservist. During the Gulf War, he was recalled to active duty, serving as a Judge Advocate at McIntire Air National Guard Station in Eastover, South Carolina, where he helped brief pilots on the law of armed conflict, prepared legal documents for deploying troops, and provided legal services for family members of the South Carolina Air National Guard.