Hapless Hagel

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

  • Follow Editorials

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.

Comments (33) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
allhans
23641
Points
allhans 02/04/13 - 03:47 pm
3
1
I try to imagine Hagel trying

I try to imagine Hagel trying to explain Obama's position to other leaders and it just won't compute.

nofanofobama
6825
Points
nofanofobama 02/04/13 - 04:32 pm
5
1
im trying to wonder how any

im trying to wonder how any one can compute obumlers foreign policy when there is no reason or rhymne to it..in fact if you look at all his polocies, domestic or foreign, none compute unless you belive he is purposely trying to destroy this country..which i do...

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 02/04/13 - 05:04 pm
0
0
democrats
Unpublished

were dropped on their heads at birth. rinos are just cowardly leftists. Anyone associated with obama, the clintons, reid and pelosi were dropped on their heads ( as mentioned before ) and should be committed to a home in their motherland, iran.

allhans
23641
Points
allhans 02/04/13 - 05:36 pm
3
1
Nofan..ditto

Nofan..ditto

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 02/04/13 - 06:07 pm
4
1
Nofan, ditto also
Unpublished

Nofan, ditto also

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 11:01 pm
0
1
Count me in . . .

. . . as a ditto, also.

Truth Matters
6824
Points
Truth Matters 02/04/13 - 11:11 pm
1
0
ACES' on Hagel

McCain was for Hagel before he was against him. McCain criticizing Hagel is like a spouse criticizing his or her mate for not being ____(fill in the blank), yet you knew that before the marriage. In this case McCain's opposition speaks more about McCain's character than Hagel's, and what it says is not very good for a war hero.

Bizkit
31329
Points
Bizkit 02/05/13 - 12:53 am
0
0
It is strange-like guppies

It is strange-like guppies eating their young. We find Republicans attacking a Dem appointed Rep to a cabinet office. Then no progressive or Dem posters here will defind the choice-but it is ironic we find Dem Senators defending a Republican. It's like Bizarro world.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 02/05/13 - 08:59 am
0
1
Hagel, might be a repub but
Unpublished

Hagel, might be a repub but he is no conservative. Hagel can’t be much worse than Hillary.

Darby
25614
Points
Darby 02/05/13 - 05:14 pm
1
0
"We lost a great patriot and soldier with his passing."

Yes, longleafpine, we did. Like Omar Bradly, he was a "soldier's general". I couldn't have more respect for him.

Back to Top

Top headlines

'Go Downtown' initiative gets mixed reviews

The "Go Downtown" initiative aims to foster a downtown environment that welcomes the college community and creates business for merchants. The event is held every third Thursday of the month ...
Search Augusta jobs