Okay, so what's behind the battle over the Hagel nomination? With all the talk we have heard and all that has been written in recent years about uncompromising partisanship, the Republicans have fought to, in effect, make sure Democrat John Kerry would be the choice for secretary of state and now balk at the choice of a fellow Republican and former U.S. senator from Nebraska to head up the Department of Defense. In fact, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has called this ostensibly bipartisan choice by the president an "in your face" insult to the Grand Old Party. Are Republicans really that easily insulted?
The anti-Hagel hysteria carries a message different from the one getting all the attention: If Hagel is “out of the mainstream” of foreign-policy thinking, the range of permissible thinking is more narrow than many have suspected. True, Hagel has been critical of some of the overseas military policies pursued by Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, but to suggest he is a radical critic of U.S. militarism and hegemony is absurd.
The United States continues the constant pounding of the tribal region of North Waziristan in Pakistan. On January 10, AFP reports that six “militants” allegedly working for al-Qaeda were killed in a drone strike.
Despite some noisy grilling by Senate Republicans, President Obama's nominee for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, due to his connections with insider organizations like the Atlantic Council and the Council on Foreign Relations, is virtually guaranteed the position.
Another day in Pakistan brings another day of skies torn by screaming Hellfire missiles launched from U.S. drones. Early Sunday morning, a barrage of missiles obliterated villages in the tribal region of South Waziristan. Reports indicate that 10 “militants” were killed and five others were injured in the attack.
On Wednesday, January 2, 2013, President Barack Obama did what constitutionalists and civil libertarians knew he would do: He signed into law the renewal of his power to apprehend and detain Americans indefinitely on no more authority than his own suspicion of their complicity with enemies in the “War on Terror.”