TEL AVIV – Five days after Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oka., publicly asked why Iran supports the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, news media and most talking heads on both sides of the political aisle have not provided an explanation for Tehran’s apparent endorsement.
Inhofe asked Hagel during last week’s confirmation hearings: “The question I’d like to ask you, and you can answer for the record if you’d like, why do you think the Iranian foreign ministry so strongly supports your nomination to be the secretary of defense?”
Hagel responded: “I have a difficult enough time with American politics, senator. I have no idea, but thank you. And I’ll be glad to respond further for the record.”
However, Hagel may have a better understanding as to why the Iranian government reportedly supports his bid, with several factors possibly at play.
As a senator, Hagel opposed sanctions on Iran, instead calling for “direct, unconditional talks.” He was one of only 12 senators who refused to sign a letter asking the European Union to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
WND reported Hagel went on the Middle East satellite network Al Jazeera in 2009 to argue that before dealing with the nuclear arsenals of rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea, the U.S. and Russia must first lead the effort by phasing out their own nuclear weapons.
WND also reported Hagel serves on the board of the Ploughshares Fund, a George Soros-funded group that advocates a nuclear-free world.
The Ploughshares Fund has a long history of anti-war advocacy and is a partner of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which has urged the defunding of the Pentagon and massive decreases in U.S. defense capabilities, including slashing the American nuclear arsenal to 292 deployed weapons.
Hagel’s thesis on minimizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal was reiterated in a 2012 report he co-authored titled “Global Zero: U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission.”
The report called for an 80-percent reduction in U.S. nuclear weapons to about 900, with only half of those being deployed. It further called for the eventual phasing out of short-range nuclear weapons and the elimination of ICBMs and B-52 bombers.
The report was the initiative of the Global Zero advocacy group, which works for a nuclear-free world.
Hagel co-authored the commission report with former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering, who reportedly previously held clandestine meetings with Hamas aiming to open U.S. dialogue with the terrorist group.
Iran is arguably the largest state sponsor of terrorism. Regarding his views on jihad, WND exposed that in unreported remarks during a 2007 Senate hearing Hagel posited that terrorism does not arise from religious beliefs but instead is a response to despair and a lack of hope.
Opposes U.S. missile defense
Ploughshares, meanwhile, opposes America’s development of a missile defense system and contributes to scores of anti-war groups highly critical of U.S. foreign policy and military expansion.
Ploughshares is directed by Joseph Cirincione, who served as an adviser on nuclear issues to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Cirincione also was director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress.
Among the groups to which Ploughshares donates are the anti-Israel Americans for Peace Now, the Arms Control Association, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Policy Alternatives, the Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, the radical Citizen Action, Citizens for Environmental Justice, the Coalition for New Priorities and the radical Institute for Policy Studies.
More grantees include the New America Foundation, the Nonviolent Peaceforce, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Nuclear Freeze Foundation, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Peace Action, the Peace Studies Association, Physicians for Human Rights and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Ploughshares has also funded the Soros-financed Connect US Fund, which urges more U.N. helmets on U.S. troops, as well as the Center for American Progress, which has strong influence on White House policy.
Also on the list of Ploughshares grantees is The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has long petitioned for the U.S. to reduce its nuclear stockpiles. According to Pavel Sudoplatov, a former major-general in Soviet intelligence, the work by the magazine editors was for the benefit of the Soviet Union.
Two of the magazine’s founding sponsors, Leo Szilard and Robert Oppenheimer, were accused of passing information from the Manhattan Project to the Soviets. Both were also key initiators of the Manhattan Project.
Ploughshares funds the International Crisis Group, a small organization that boasts Soros on its board and is a key promoter of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine used to justify the NATO airstrikes in Libya last year.
Massive defense slashes
Another Ploughshares grantee is the Institute for Policy Studies.
Ploughshares is listed on the institute’s website as a partner organization.
The institute works with the Center for American Progress to release an annual “Unified Security Budget,” which reportedly has influenced White House military policy. Previous recommendations from the two groups’ yearly Unified Security Budgets have been adapted by the Obama administration.
The 2012 budget, reviewed in full by WND, called on Obama to use the U.S. Armed Forces in part to combat “global warming,” fight global poverty, remedy “injustice,” bolster the United Nations and increase “peacekeeping” forces worldwide.
The budget called for massive, second-term slashes to the military budget. The savings are to be used to invest in “sustainable energy” and in fighting worldwide climate change.
The report makes clear the stated objective of transforming the U.S. Armed Forces to stress conflict resolution and diplomacy.
The report takes issue with the use of forces on the ground in various countries to secure or influence the longer-term strategic position of other nations.
It recommends scaling back all U.S. ground forces by 20 percent and reducing the Navy’s surface fleet by 20 percent, including two carriers and carrier combat air wings. It also calls for reducing the Air Force by two combat air wings while cutting standing peacetime overseas deployments in Europe and East Asia by up to 50,000 troops at a time.
The budget’s authors strongly argue for the reduction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to no more than 292 deployed nuclear weapons and the complete elimination of the Trident II nuclear missile. It’s a process Obama already initiated in April 2010 when he signed a deal with Russia reducing stocks of weapons-grade plutonium.
The accord with Russia was signed at a nuclear summit in Washington arranged by Obama at which leaders of 47 nations committed to reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles. One week earlier, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Obama signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, committing both countries to reducing their deployed nuclear arsenals.
Obama had broadly proclaimed his disarmament intentions during a 2007 campaign speech.
“Here’s what I’ll say as president: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons,” Obama said.
By 2010, as president, he was arguing: “We need to change our nuclear policy and our posture, which is still focused on deterring the Soviet Union – a country that doesn’t exist.”
Obama’s declaration came just as Russia signed a major arms deal with Syria and began to revive its Cold War-era naval bases in the Middle East, including in the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia on the Mediterranean.
The joint CAP and IPS report, meanwhile, recommends the U.S. cease all further development of missile defenses.
The report pushes for all current missile defense programs to be cut, including Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Airborne Laser and Kinetic Energy Interceptors.
“It is unwise to fund more advanced systems for missile defense while current ones have yet to be proven effective against their targeted threats,” complains the report.
The military’s vital Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation program is to be cut by $10 billion across the board.
Next on the chopping block: the complete cancellation of the second SSN-744 Virginia Class submarine. While the Unified Security Budget describes the new model as “unnecessary to address any of the threats facing the United States today” and “a weapon looking for an enemy,” the SSN-774 is designed for covert collection of intelligence, transportation of special operations teams and launching of tactical Tomahawk missiles – flexible capabilities tailored to rapid responses required by the 21st-century’s conflicts with irregular combatants.
Similarly targeted for cancellation are the V-22 Osprey helicopter and the Navy and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Combating ‘global warming’
The 2012 Unified report sets the tone of its lofty agenda by demanding immediate reductions in the military’s already heavily slashed budget. But there is one exception requiring massive increases in funding – any spending that funds “alternative energy” or focuses Defense Department resources on combating “climate change as a security threat.”
The report authors recommend investing “the lion’s share” of the few allotted military increases in addressing the so-called “threat” of climate change.
The report wants Obama to take billions of dollars from the U.S. military and instead use them for a “green stimulus.”
These groups also envision the military as a tool to fight so-called global warming. In 2011, the IPS released a 40-page CAP-endorsed report titled “The Green Dividend,” a term the IPS defines as “a major shift of resources from the military budget to sustainable energy.”
The IPS research paper identifies the Pentagon as the “largest institutional energy user – and greenhouse gas emitter – on the planet,” arguing that if it undertook a “crash program” to convert to renewable energy sources and clean vehicles, it could make a significant impact on global emissions.
The IPS calls on the Pentagon to contribute to a green world “by simply getting out of the way, by handing over unneeded military installations to be converted into green job incubators.”
The report lauds Obama’s first-ever U.S. Global Development Policy, which was issued in September 2010 and declares that the primary purpose of development aid is to pursue broad-based economic growth as the means to fight global poverty.
The report goes on to recommend that massive funds be sent to combat global woes, including an increase of $3.5 billion to “Global Health” investment and $2.14 billion to support United Nations peacekeeping and ensure that the United States does not fall behind in U.N. payments.