Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel faced intense questions from Republicans at his confirmation hearing recently, including questions about his foreign policy decisions towards key Middle East countries such as Iraq and Israel. The ex-Nebraska Republican senator was forced under question to answer to statements he has made in the past, such as comments he made about the “Jewish lobby.” He was questioned aggressively by Republicans fellow Vietnam War veteran Sen. John McCain and freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Cruz played back interviews in which Hagel didn’t respond to an accusation that Israel’s government were war criminals, and an interview in which he appeared to agree that the United States was “the world’s bully.”
“The caller suggests that the nation of Israel has committed war crimes, and your response to that was not to dispute that characterization,” said Cruz.
Hagel denied that he believed Israel was guilty of war crimes.
Cruz called the assertion of war crimes “particularly offensive given that the Jewish people suffered under the most horrific war crimes in the Holocaust…
I would also suggest,” he continued, “that for … a prospective secretary of Defense not to take issue with that claim is highly troubling.”
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin would have preferred that Cruz use transcripts instead of audio clips, and Hagel argued that Cruz was mischaracterizing his answers in the interviews.
John McCain also had some serious questions to ask, and was particularly interested in Hagel’s comments on the troop surge when he said it was a “dangerous foreign policy blunder.” McCain pushed for Hagel to say whether he was right or wrong in his statement.
“I’m not going to give you a yes or no — I think it’s far more complicated than that. … I’ll defer that judgment to history,” Hagel said
McCain’s biting retort: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you’re on the wrong side of it.”
Source: Fox News