The Christianist extremist, James Inhofe, is now trying to block the Hagel nomination by a war of attrition:
“Hagel may be passed out of the committee, but it’s going to be a long, long time before he hits the floor,” Inhofe says. “We’re going to need as much time as possible, and there are going to be several of us who will have holds.”
Butters has also gone nutters on the same theme, although he is the last Republican Senator who seems to think Benghazi is somehow Watergate. But one wonders exactly what is really behind this truly unprecedented hostility to a Republican former Senator war hero. Inhofe is admirably frank:
“Each day that goes by will make it more difficult for Democrats who say they are pro-Israel to hold out,” Inhofe explains. “I want everyone to be very clear about his past statements and his positions.” … Inhofe’s main concern remains Hagel’s position on Israel. “The anti-Israel history of Chuck Hagel is real,” he says. “We can’t have someone at the Pentagon who has made these kind of statements.” Hagel’s financial-disclosure issues, he adds, are not central to why he’s working to postpone the nomination. “That doesn’t bother me,” he says. “To me, that’s minor.”
To understand where he is coming from, you have to understand Christian fundamentalism. Here’s an extract from a 2002 speech when Inhofe explained why Greater Israel deserves to expand:
I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the Book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk. In Genesis 13:14–17, the Bible says:
The Lord said to Abraham, “Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. . . . Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee.” That is God talking.
The Bible says that Abraham removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar before the Lord. Hebron is in the West Bank. It is at this place where God appeared to Abram and said, “I am giving you this land — the West Bank”. This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.
When I’m told I exaggerate the influence of fundamentalism in American politics, it’s worth remembering that quote. This is not the foreign policy of a nation state; it’s the religious dictates of a religion. And it is currently preventing this country from having a secretary of defense.