Hagel On Nuclear Weapons:
U.S. And Russia Must Go First
Before dealing with the nuclear arsenals of rogue nations, the U.S. and Russia must first lead the effort by phasing out their own nuclear weapons, argued Chuck Hagel in largely unreported remarks during a 2009 Al Jazeera interview.
Al Jazeera host Riz Khan asked Hagel to address the disarmament of “rogue” states – referring to Iran and North Korea. Hagel replied: “Let’s begin with the two nuclear powers that now are responsible for 96 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world. Russia and the United States have a particular obligation. We must join in some unison here to lead the rest of the world.”
Hagel spent the interview arguing for a nuclear-free world, with the U.S and Russia to take the first steps. “That’s the point behind having American leadership as well as Russian leadership out front on eliminating nuclear weapons,” he said.
Hagel continued: “How can we preach to other countries that you can’t have nuclear weapons but we can and our allies can? There is no credibility, there’s no logic to that argument. And we have been losing on that argument.”
Hagel argued that once nuclear weapons are eliminated “we can then, all leaders of all mankind, can start to concentrate more deliberately on the needs of the men and women and the children of their countries.”
“Eradicating poverty, and hunger and a sense of despair that so overtakes societies,” he added.
Hagel’s thesis was reiterated in a 2012 report that he co-authored entitled “Global Zero: U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission.” The report called for an 80 percent reduction in U.S. nuclear-weapons to about 900 weapons, 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 On Terrorism:
A Tactic In Response To Despair
Terrorism is not a belief but instead a response to despair and lack of hope, argued Chuck Hagel in unreported remarks during a 2007 Senate hearing.
“But when people have no hope, when there’s despair, little else matters,” said Hagel. He continued: “And this is not about terrorists don’t like freedom. Tell that to the Palestinian people who have been chained down for many, many years. Terrorism is not a strategy, it’s a tactic. Terrorism is not a plan. It’s not a belief like democracy or monarchy. It’s a tactic.”
Hagel made these remarks at a Jan. 24, 2007, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on Iraq.
Hagel’s views on terrorism are not foreign to the Obama administration. John Brennan, President Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser, once defined the term jihad as to “purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal.” Brennan is now Obama’s pick to head the CIA.
Also in largely unreported remarks, Obama himself claimed the 9/11 attacks were carried out because of a lack of “empathy” for the suffering of others, contending Al Qaeda’s terrorist ideology “grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.”
Are We Ignoring The Real Gun Threat?
The national debate is focusing on civilian gun control while perhaps the biggest armed threat within the U.S. is being overlooked.
According to the FBI, criminal street gangs – mostly comprised of illegal aliens – are acquiring high-powered, military-style weapons to potentially engage in lethal encounters with law enforcement members and citizens alike.
Criminal street gangs are responsible for the majority of violent crimes within the U.S. and are the primary distributors of most illicit drugs, according to a 2009 report by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, or NDIC.
The NDIC was a task force established in 1993 to coordinate law enforcement actions to stop drug trafficking and to curb the growing threat of violent gangs in the U.S. The agency was closed by the Obama administration in June 2011.
Prior to the shutdown of the NDIC, the agency released statistics on street gangs that some found unusual. In 2010, the agency’s National Drug Threat Assessment stated that drugs were being sold on behalf of the cartels in “more than 2,500 cities.” Then, in the 2011 official assessment, that number was reduced to “a thousand U.S. cities” – meaning that in one year, criminal drug gangs were cleaned out of 1,500 cities resulting in a 60-percent reduction.