A good friend, who is a genuine Conservative and has worked on Counter Terrorism issues for years as a senior U.S. Government official, was approached last September by a member of Mitt Romney’s national security team and asked for his recommendations on quality people who should staff a Romney Administration. My friend, who also is a military vet to boot, recommended Chuck Hagel as a great choice for DOD. Some of you may consider this just another reason to be thankful Romney was not elected. Not me. I think Hagel is fine.

What should alarm true Americans is the character assassination being directed at Hagel by ultra conservative Jewish groups and Neo-cons (the same clowns who led us to a useless, costly war in Iraq). Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal launches this screed:

Prejudice—like cooking, wine-tasting and other consummations—has an olfactory element. When Chuck Hagel, the former GOP senator from Nebraska who is now a front-runner to be the next secretary of Defense, carries on about how “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” the odor is especially ripe.

Ripe because a “Jewish lobby,” as far as I’m aware, doesn’t exist. No lesser authorities on the subject than John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of “The Israel Lobby,” have insisted the term Jewish lobby is “inaccurate and misleading, both because the [Israel] lobby includes non-Jews like Christian Zionists and because many Jewish Americans do not support the hard-line policies favored by its most powerful elements.”

A “Jewish Lobby” does not exist? Are you shitting me?

Apparently, Stephens does not pay attention to the annual pilgrimage of Republican and Democrat politicians to the AIPAC Conference in Washington. If AIPAC ain’t a Jewish Lobby, what is it? An insurance group?

Hagel is guilty of being truthful and blunt. Pat Laing puts his finger on the source of the faux outrage–it is a threat to Washington status quo:

Dan Senor was the “mouthpiece” for the disastrous CPA government in Baghdad. This shifty eyed neocon front man was on “Chuck” Todd’s morning MSNBC show today to do what he could to stop Senator Hagel’s progress towards the Pentagon. Todd, himself, is a thinly disguised opponent of Hagel’s nomination.

When he wasn’t rolling his eyes or smirking over the very idea of Hagel, Senor was busy telling us all that “there is a ‘consensus’ on Israel in Washington” and that Hagel is outside it.

Yes, there is such a “consensus.” It is a consensus that results from decades of intimidation, illegal finance contributions and suppression of the opinions of anyone who does not accept the primacy of Israel in US policy. Hagel is not intimidated. His appointment to be Secretary of Defense would threaten the “consensus.”

Hagel also is faulted for not wanting to start a war with Iran. He is exactly right on that front. We, the United States, cannot afford the cost of going to war with Iran. It would more than bankrupt us. It would also destroy our influence in the region and leave Israel more exposed to intimidation, not less. I never cease to be amazed at the bravado of chickenhawks like John Bolton and Bill Kristol. Those men refused to serve in the military but have no hesitation beating the war drums when it comes to sending the sons of other mothers to war.

Presidents Nixon and Johnson, who never saw combat and wore uniforms only to secure political advantage, were eager for war. Men who actually saw the horrors of combat, like George McGovern, were unfairly derided as cowards. When it comes to committing US troops to battle, I prefer we have someone like Hagel who can counsel the inexperienced Obama. There is an advantage that a man like Chuck Hagel is not trying to kiss ass to the top. He has always been a straighshooter.

The intolerance of so-called conservative Republicans for the likes of Hagel is but one more sign of how nutty and irrelevant Republicans are becoming. Republicans would be wise to let Hagel testify and defend himself in public. Those beholden to the so-called “Jewish lobby,” however, seem incapable of that kind of restraint.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.