'Senators from Israel'?
You just knew this would happen. Time Magazine publishes a piece by Brandon Friedman that counts (counts!) references to Israel and Afghanistan
in last Thursday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense (Hat Tip: Memeorandum
In fact, Lee—by himself—made reference to Israel and its security a total of 16 times.
Why is this important? It’s important because Lee never mentioned Afghanistan and the 66,000 U.S. troops at war there.
And Lee was not alone.
Freshman Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas also grilled Hagel
about Israel. He mentioned the Jewish state 10 times—without ever once
referring to Afghanistan or the U.S. troops in combat there.
When it was their turn to question Hagel, GOP senators Roy Blunt of
Missouri and Roger Wicker of Mississippi each referred to Israel in a
half dozen instances. Neither mentioned Afghanistan.
In nearly eight hours of interrogation and testimony, Israel and its
interests were referred to by the Senate Armed Services Committee a
total of 106 times. On the other hand, there were a mere 24 references
made to Afghanistan and the Americans fighting there—most by Democratic
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the committee.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan—where the U.S. frequently targets militants with drone-launched Hellfire missiles—barely merited mention at all.
It’s difficult to interpret this message any other way: the Senate
Armed Services Committee—particularly its Republican membership—is more
concerned with the apparent American defense secretary’s relationship
with Israel than with the future of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the fate
of U.S. troops engaged in both locations.
Labels: Chuck Hagel, Ted Cruz, US-Israel relationship