Hapless Hagel

Poor performance shows why ex-senator shouldn't be defense secretary

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His nomination was already in trouble even before his hearing.

But Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel made things even worse at his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday – with several Gerald Ford “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe” moments.

President Ford famously made that ridiculous claim in a 1976 presidential debate. He never lived it down.

Likewise, Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, may rue some of the things he said Thursday – and may also regret some of his political stances taken long ago.

Worst among Hagel’s gaffes at the hearing: his absurd assertion that the tyrannical theocracy in Iran – the fruit of the violent 1979 Iranian revolution in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, and sham elections ever since – is “an elected, legitimate government.”

Yes, and there was no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.

Other governments around the world may have, out of self-interest and a lack of scruples, recognized the regime in Tehran – but that doesn’t make it either duly elected or legitimate.

It’s unsophisticated, to put it diplomatically, to suggest otherwise.

Hagel also goofed by insisting, with regard to Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, “I support the president’s strong position on containment.”

Someone had to slip Hagel a note informing him of his mistake; the administration’s official policy toward Iranian nuclear weapons is prevention, not containment. But even in correcting himself, Hagel blundered again – saying that, “I meant to say we don’t have a position on containment.” Democratic Sen. Carl Levin helped him out, stepping in to explain that, “We do have a position on containment, and that is we do not favor containment. I just wanted to clarify the clarify.”

Hagel also was confronted by past broadcast interviews he gave, “one of which showed him not challenging a caller who accused Israel of war crimes, another in which he appeared to agree with the assertion that America is ‘the world’s bully’,” as one news report put it.

Even liberals tweeted that Hagel was “making (B)iden look rhetorically sure-footed,” and that “This Hagel hearing is a disaster.”

Hagel also has shown past disregard for Israel, opposed sanctions on Iran and opposed the troop surge that proved to be the winning difference in Iraq – wrongly predicting it would be a “dangerous foreign policy blunder.”

Pressed on his opposition to the successful surge, Hagel repeatedly refused to say at the hearing if he was right or wrong.

“I’ll defer that judgment to history,” he told Sen. John McCain.

“I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir,” McCain said, “and you’re on the wrong side of it.”

So he’s been on the wrong side of history in one of the most important foreign policy choices this country has had to make in several decades; he can’t competently explain current policy toward the Iranian nuclear program; and he seems to think the jingoistic regime in Iran, which a few years ago killed its own people to remain in power, is a legitimate elected government.

We know President Obama wanted a trophy RINO – Republican In Name Only – for his Cabinet. But this nomination should never have been made, and neither should confirmation be forthcoming.

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longleafpine
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longleafpine 02/04/13 - 04:34 am
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2
Senate should vote NO

I sincerely hope the Senate does not confirm this man. He would definitely assist in destroying our military. He has no common sense and no idea what is going on.

Techfan
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Techfan 02/04/13 - 07:07 am
4
11
Would someone please slip

Would someone please slip McCain a note telling him he lost the election in 2008 so he's not the one who picks the Cabinet positions. Did the surge work? Could 30,000 troops do what the 150,000 that were already in country not do? Are all of the troops home and is Iraq rebuilt and a stand alone functioning democracy? There's your answer. McCain wanting a simple yes or no answer to a complicated question, all he really seems to want is to bolster his ego. McCain has become an old and bitter shell of his former self. He should have called it quits after the debacle in 2008. For a more acccurate view of "the surge".
http://www.academia.edu/198750/Re-evaluating_the_US_troop_surge_in_Iraq

chascushman
6653
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chascushman 02/04/13 - 08:11 am
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“Did the surge work?”
Unpublished

Techfan, if surge didn’t work in Iraq why did the community organizer in the WH do the same thing in Afghanistan?

Bizkit
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Bizkit 02/04/13 - 08:45 am
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After Joe Biden "Borked" Bork

After Joe Biden "Borked" Bork for purely ideology, no Dem has any credibility complaining about consent of appointments. Hagel appeared to be very confused-maybe the early signs of dementia or Alzheimer's. The Dem questioners spent most of their time clarifying Hagel's position for him. Cheez!!!!!!You almost get the feeling the Prez wants a confused senile individual for the office.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/04/13 - 08:46 am
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He's done

Stick a fork in him.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/04/13 - 08:47 am
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Hagel has one thing going for

Hagel has one thing going for him. He supported Obama for president. He's doofless and doesn't even have a bump on his head for an excuse.

nofanofobama
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nofanofobama 02/04/13 - 08:58 am
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2
sorry we ALREADY got enough

sorry we ALREADY got enough incompetence in the state dept with KERRY and in the white house with OBUMLER..

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 09:00 am
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6
2010

Techfan posted:

Would someone please slip McCain a note telling him he lost the election in 2008. . . .

Yeah, but unfortunately he won a Senate seat in 2010. The nation is worse off for it.

nofanofobama
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nofanofobama 02/04/13 - 09:12 am
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TECHFAN..we all know he lost

TECHFAN..we all know he lost in 2008.
. in fact obumler reminded mccain in a meeting of senators in 2009 that he obumler won and that mccain had to be silent about his ideas..anyhow its the senate that approve the prez appointments...its called oversight and wether you like mccain or not ...he has the constitutional duty to approve or disapprove the appointments..and i dont even like mccain ....hes too ready to sell us conservative out..so he will still probably vote for hagel..

Bizkit
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Bizkit 02/04/13 - 09:19 am
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Hagel will be approved and

Hagel will be approved and fit in quite nicely with his other incompetent appointees. Because see they are puppets-it's all about the Obama-not only Congress and SCOTUS but his own cabinent needs to get out of his way. Get the freakin' hint where all this going.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 09:36 am
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Lackey

Bizkit is correct. Whether the new defense secretary is Chuck Hagel or Norman Schwartzkopf makes no difference. The defense secretary works for the president and must do what the president says. Still, I think Republicans would do well to reject Hagel such that Obama must appoint a Democrat. Or maybe the other RINO Colin Powell could be nominated.

Little Lamb
45366
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Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 09:38 am
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1
Woman

The libs have been grumbling that Obama has pushed all the high-level women out of his inner circles. Obama could score points all around by appointing Michelle Bachman as defense secretary.

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 02/04/13 - 09:58 am
3
5
If we cared about our values enough

to display them overseas with any consistency, we never would have put our Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, where a Sunni monarchy rules over a Shi'ite majority with blatant disregard for the rights of their people. Why do we owe it to these decidedly undemocratic Gulf Cooperation Council member states to protect them from an inflated Iranian threat, when these same rulers have made it obvious that their cause is Sunni supremacy? And until Israel seriously considers becoming a secular state that respects the rights of all its inhabitants, we don't need to be supporting the current regime there, either.

Darby
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Darby 02/04/13 - 10:35 am
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2
"You almost get the feeling the Prez.....

wants a confused senile individual for the office."

You mean someone even more confused the Obama himself? I don't give Obama credit because he's not smart enough to have come up with the idea himself, but IMHO Hagel is intended to be a Trojan Horse.

Obama's choreographers felt that being a pseudo Republican, (albeit liberal Democrat in his views) he could slip past Republicans and go about dismantling the American military without delay.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 02/04/13 - 10:36 am
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Hagel looked like he was

Hagel looked like he was auditioning for a part in "Clueless". We do not need this man to be Sec Def. It was obvious to anyone who watched.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/04/13 - 10:37 am
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1
"Norman Schwartzkopf"?

"Norman Schwartzkopf"?

Darby
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Darby 02/04/13 - 10:39 am
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Like Obama, Hagel...

is a TOOL of Reid and Pelosi.

deestafford
26595
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deestafford 02/04/13 - 10:40 am
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How about Hagle's comment,

"As Defense Secretary I won't be making policy" ? Talking about stupidity, not ignorance. The latter is temporay and the former is permanent.

Darby
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Darby 02/04/13 - 10:44 am
5
2
"The defense secretary works for the president

and must do what the president says."

LL - That's true, as far as it goes, but it makes it easier all around if the prez or whoever is pulling strings for the prez can concentrate on "other" more pressing matters, knowing you've got a willing lackey doing your bidding enthusiastically without the need for prodding.

Darby
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Darby 02/04/13 - 10:48 am
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"Norman Schwartzkopf"?

Bless his great heart, is in soldier heaven now. Hope he's getting more respect there than he ever did on earth. I'm still steamed over how he ran the entire show during Desert Storm only to have that jerk Colin Powell take all the credit.

But that's politics... A game Powell continues to play better than so many others...

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 02/04/13 - 10:50 am
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Techfan......you care to tell
Unpublished

Techfan......you care to tell us who YOU think picks cabinet positions? Enlighten us with you civic knowledge.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 11:48 am
3
0
All

Jon Lester posted:

And until Israel seriously considers becoming a secular state that respects the rights of all its inhabitants, we don't need to be supporting the current regime there, either.

There is not one single state in the entire world that respects the rights of all its inhabitants.

Little Lamb
45366
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Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 11:54 am
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1
Debt

prov227 posted:

. . . the . . . war in Iraq . . . put our grandchildren in huge debt. . . .

Don't get me wrong. I opposed Bush's ill-timed misadventure in Iraq, too. But, why is it liberals complain about war debt while continuing to demand more and more spending on more and more social programs, not to mention more and more crony capitalism such as Solyndra?

nofanofobama
6809
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nofanofobama 02/04/13 - 12:00 pm
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1
jl state iran basically poses

jl state iran basically poses no serious threats, tell our dead and wounded soldiers in iraq and afgansastan that line about explosives supplied from iran. . tell all the countries that have al quada bombings that...tell the syrian rebels that..tell the iranians to cut off funding for the terrorist group hezbalah and others. isreal treat its minorities far better than its arab neighbors...ask the women there, ask the christians there and the other minorities..where do you get this garbage

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 02/04/13 - 12:00 pm
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And why do they say the Iraq
Unpublished

And why do they say the Iraq war, which Congress approved is unconstitutional, but not the Libya war which Congress did NOT approve?

Little Lamb
45366
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Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 12:44 pm
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Inconsistency

You cannot expect consistency in thought from a liberal, Angela. You can expect consistency in reaction and in public statements, but not in logical thought.

harley_52
23005
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harley_52 02/04/13 - 12:53 pm
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1
"As Defense Secretary I won't be making policy"

I think he was just being honest. I think President Obama has told him (and other Cabinet Officers) that he (Obama) makes the policy decision and they simply implement his decisions. He views himself as all knowing, all wise, and infallible.

Hagel just let the cat out of the bag.

harley_52
23005
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harley_52 02/04/13 - 12:59 pm
5
0
" You can expect consistency....

.... in reaction and in public statements, but not in logical thought."

This is one of the most amusing aspects of watching democrat politics. They pick a word, or phrase, to highlight their position on something and then you hear it over and over again from all liberals commenting on the particular issue. Sometimes they stick with it forever (like "freedom to choose" for murdering babies) or sometimes it just goes away after a while.

The funniest one I remember was when GWB was pondering who to choose for his running mate in the 2000 election. They said he needed someone with "gravitas," because GWB didn't have any. It's not exactly your dinnertable type word, but every democrat talking head used "gravitas" over, and over again until he picked Cheney whom they all agreed had some.

ultrarnr
908
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ultrarnr 02/04/13 - 02:01 pm
0
0
Amazing Similarities
Unpublished

The similarities between John McCain, the Ac editorial staff and the posters here are amazing.All of them are distraught that Obama was elected and then reelected. Their revulsion with anything related to Obama is clearly evident and results in unthinking opposition to anything that Obama does. The reality is that theirs is a minority worldview rejected in the last election and will continue to be more marginalized and the demographics of our country continue to evolve. Hagel will be confirmed and history will be the judge.

longleafpine
3689
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longleafpine 02/04/13 - 02:39 pm
2
0
Hey Darby

Stormin' Norman would have made a far superior Sec Def than "no clue" Hagel. We lost a great patriot and soldier with his passing.

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