It was pretty entertaining to see Chuck Hagel get his ass handed to him at his confirmation hearings yesterday. He showed a lack or preparation, a deficit of intellect and made a flailing, failing attempt to change every substantive policy statement he had made in his adult life. He showed he was fundamentally unsuited to be Secretary of Defense, due to a glaring lack of professional competence and holding foolish foreign policy positions. Sadly in this city, that may not be enough from stopping his confirmation.
Graham’s cross-examination was particularly devastating. For all the world, Hagel looked like the guilty suspect who is nailed in the final minutes of Matlock or Perry Mason. He started off badly, and then things got worse, when Graham began by asking him if the nation was at war, and the nominee responded, “I’m sorry, what?” The South Carolina senator hammered Hagel on his previous criticism of the “Jewish lobby’s” influence in Washington—which Hagel had partially taken back—asking the former senator if he could “name one person intimidated” by the Israeli lobby. Hagel couldn’t. “I didn’t have in mind a single person,” he said. Graham followed up by asking Hagel if he could name “something that was dumb” that the Israeli lobby had forced U.S. legislators to do, and Hagel said he couldn’t say what that was either. Graham, dripping contempt, then declared that Hagel’s combined votes over the years—against harsher unilateral sanctions on Iran, against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group, among others—“send the worst possible signal to our enemies and friends at the worst possible time in world history.”
Perhaps one of the worst moments in a fairly bad day for Hagel came when even one of his apparent supporters, committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., was forced to restate his position for him after Hagel twice misspoke about a critical issue: whether the Obama administration would accept mere “containment” of Iran’s nuclear program, rather than prevention of it. Hagel, handed a piece of paper, said, “I misspoke and said I supported the president's position on containment. If I said that, I meant to say we don't have a position on containment," Hagel said. That’s when Levin interjected: "We do have a position on containment, and that is we do not favor containment."
Hagel actually believes in containment and so does Obama, but at least Obama knows better than to publicly admit it. Containment means simply living with the fact that Iran would have nukes and trying to stop them from using them. It is a fundamentally asinine response to a regime that does not operate on the same logical playing field we do. Containment was part of our strategy with the Soviet Union and Mutually Assured Destruction worked because we knew that deep down the Soviets weren't interested in Armageddon, just power. The 12th Imam loving Iranian nuttahs believe that a great disaster must befall mankind to trigger the return of their guy and doesn't a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv sound like a perfect way to do that?
Hagel is not a bright man, he has no experience running large organizations of any kind and he is wrong on pretty much every important issue we have faced and face now. Let's hope the Senate advises against consenting to making this political tool Sec Def. Here is an RNC edit of the most pitiful 80 seconds of Hagel