The Conversation

Hagel: Hagel

Media flipping out over Ted Cruz questioning of Hagel

Jan 31, 2013 12:28 PM PT

The mainstream media hivemind has decided that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) quoted Chuck Hagel's words out of context in confronting him with past statements about the U.S. and Israel. Dave Weigel of Slate even went so far as to accuse Cruz of accusing Hagel of antisemitism--an entirely unsupportable accusation he attempted to defend (poorly, in my view) by claiming Cruz had referenced the Holocaust. Cruz's questions were harsh, and it's possible to argue for a different interpretation of Hagel's words, but Cruz's own reads were likely correct--especially on the Lebanon war, where Hagel made false equivalences between Israel and Hezbollah.

The truth is that the left and the media are embarrassed for, and by, Hagel. Making up a non-controversy about Cruz sets Hagel up as some kind of victim. Look for the development of that meme in the hours ahead.

Hagel On The Hotseat

Jan 31, 2013 11:16 AM PT

 Former Senator Chuck Hagel is getting roughed up by Republicans at his ongoing confirmation hearing, today..

Sen. John McCain R-Ariz. blasted him this morning for his strong opposition to the surge that brought stability into the region, and wanted to know if he would now admit he was wrong. 

"Were you correct of incorrect that the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam. Were you correct or incorrect - yes or no?"

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Graham destroys Hagel--and Israel-haters--over 'Jewish lobby'

Jan 31, 2013 10:58 AM PT

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is an experienced military lawyer, but asked Hagel two very simple questions about the "Jewish lobby" "Israel lobby": can you name one Senator that has been "intimidated" (as Hagel had claimed) by them? Can you name one "dumb thing" (another Hagel claim) the Senate has done because of them? Hagel had to admit that he could not. The Israel-haters--who proudly claim Hagel's newfound support for Israel is a lie--have had their idiocy called out in front of the entire nation. 

Incidentally, the so-called "lobby" has been embarrassingly timid on the Hagel nomination. AIPAC's silence has been taken by some Democrats to mean tacit support for Hagel--wrongly, but predictably. In the unlikely event that Hagel is defeated (which would require several Democrats to come to their senses), the Israel-haters will no doubt blame the "lobby" anyway. 

Hagel pretends the problem is "one vote" or "one statement"

Jan 31, 2013 7:32 AM PT

Former Sen Chuck Hagel (R-NE) is testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, hoping to be confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense. He has attempted to address his critics, insisting that he should not be judged by "one vote" or "one statement." But of course, that is question-begging--it's not one vote that causes concern. It's a pattern of votes against sanctions on Iran and a pattern of anti-Israel statements, among other issues. As questioning begins, that's where the members of the committee ought to seek answers.

Overall, his opening statement was very weak--a far cry from what was promised by former Sen. John Warner, who introduced him and promised that Hagel's statement would address every single outstanding question.

Politico finally asks: Is Chuck Hagel qualified for the job?

Jan 31, 2013 4:33 AM PT

No, really, it took them this long to pose the most obvious question, which the Weekly Standard answered almost a month ago. At least Politico seems to get the answer:

“America is at a delicate moment of transition in defense policy and spending,” said Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America. “Sen. Hagel has not proposed serious alternatives during these, or other, defense policy fights; nor has he made any significant contribution — either in office or out — to the even more fundamental questions about the future of U.S. defense posture, the shape and function of the defense establishment, or chronic and complicated spending problems at the Pentagon.”

Hegseth went on to call Hagel’s service in Vietnam and later work on veterans issues “unquestioned.”

“Both of these facts would make him a great secretary of Veterans Affairs, but not necessarily secretary of defense,” he said. “Sen. Hagel is the wrong man at the wrong time to lead the Department of Defense.”

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