Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel was nominated by President Obama to be the next Secretary of Defense. His confirmation hearing lasted almost nine hours and during that time the Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee decided to throw Hagel under the bus to score points on national security and Israel. Since they won’t block his confirmation this is the only way the GOP can thump their chest and act all indignant outside the usual reasons.
Here’s an example:
According to Sen. Ted “Calgary” Cruz (R-TX), defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel isn’t just a raging anti-Semite, he’s a raging anti-Semite who accused Israel of committing war crimes. Even worse, says Cruz: Hagel did it on Al Jazeera of all places. Yikes.
Cruz leveled his allegation on Thursday afternoon during Hagel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Cruz set up his attack by asking permission to play a video clip of Hagel on Al Jazeera in 2009. The topic of the interview from which Cruz pulled the clip was nuclear disarmament, a fact which Cruz conveniently neglected to mention. And the clip itself consisted almost entirely of a question from a viewer who had called in. Of the 78 seconds Cruz played, just 14 were of Hagel.
Republican ranking member James Inhofe is up. He asks if you are confirmed will you “confine the dollars in the defense budget for defense purposes?”
“Of course I will,” Hagel says.
Inhofe then reads out four questions from a Washington Post blog by Jennifer Rubin, titled “our dimwitted state department”, without allowing Hagel time to answer to any.
Inhofe quotes a series of statements “from Iran”, all strongly critical of the US’s role in the world.
He then pivots – given those statements about the horrible role of America in the eyes of Iran, “why does the Iranian foreign ministry support your nomination as secretary of defense?”
Hagel chuckles and says he has enough trouble with American politics, let alone getting involved in a different country’s.
John McCain says there are “fundamental disagreements” over Hagel’s appointment, not minor quibbles. There are disagreements regarding the “quality of your professional judgement”, he says.
McCain quotes Hagel’s opposition to the surge in Iraq: “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam”.
Do you stand by these comments, McCain says.
He presses Hagel to respond whether he was “right or wrong”. “That’s a direct question, I expect a direct answer,” he says.
McCain continues to push for his right or wrong answer.
“I’m not going to give you a yes or no I think it’s far more complicated than that. I’ll defer that judgement to history,”
Hagel’s comments were not just about the surge, but about the entire war in the Iraq. He says the decision on the surge was a poor decision.
McCain says “history has already made a decision on the surge, and you are on the wrong side of it”. McCain says Hagel’s decision “not to answer” the “right or wrong” question will impact his vote.
And those exchanges were with fellow Republicans.
First of all if Hagel is confirmed he will have to execute the defense policy set by the President. That’s how it works. The Secretary of Defense has a say in the process but once the President makes a decision then that is what is done.
Also once again McCain is wrong, the surge didn’t work in the end and still didn’t change what the outcome in Iraq was, we still left and they still have security issues in the country.
Basically the nomination hearing was a time for the GOP to make statements and create theater they can use in upcoming elections.
I wish they would spend that energy actually doing their jobs and work with the Democrats for the good of the country instead of their own press releases.