Home  »  Military  »  ‘Hearing A Disaster': Hagel Blows It On Iran In Confirmation Hearing, Looks Like He’s Going Down In Flames

Jan 31, 2013 Comments Off Pat Dollard

Excerpted from Buzzfeed: Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel repeatedly struggled with questions about perhaps the single most important policy decision he will play a role in, the U.S. relationship with Iran, during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday morning.

Hagel said at one point that he supports “containment” — typically meant to mean accepting a nuclear-armed Iran — and calling Iran’s government “elected and legitimate.”

In a response to a question about preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, Hagel referred to “containment” — a Cold War-style tactic that is contrary to President Obama’s stated favored policy of prevention. Hagel was then passed a note, looked at it, and took back his “containment” statement, saying that the administration was against that. It was a slip, as Hagel had said previously in the hearing that his position was “the same as president’s, one of prevention and not of containment,” but one that made Hagel seem slightly confused.

Hagel also referred to Iran’s government — dominated by unelected clerics and whose elected arm also operates under the shadow of a deeply contested election widely viewed as neither free or fair — in unusually positive terms:

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Excerpted from Washington Free Beacon:
Distraught by his poor performance in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, liberals viciously turned on secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel on social media.

hagel’s making biden look rhetorically sure-footed

— Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) January 31, 2013

this hearing is beginning to remind me of the 1st Obama-Romney debate

— Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) January 31, 2013

This Hagel hearing is a disaster.

— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) January 31, 2013

Certainly seems like it on twitter RT @buzzfeedandrew This Hagel hearing is a disaster.

— AdamSerwer (@AdamSerwer) January 31, 2013

I think Hagel is engaged now in Jewsplaining.

— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) January 31, 2013

Hagel has written chapters on Iraq and on the Middle East. So we’re cool.

— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) January 31, 2013

Did Hagel just call Iran’s government “elected and legitimate”?

— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) January 31, 2013

Hagel is floundering through one policy answer after another. IRGC terrorism, Iraq surge, nukes.

— attackerman (@attackerman) January 31, 2013

“I support the president’s strong position on containment. I think that’s right.” Um, you meant prevention, right #Hagel?

— attackerman (@attackerman) January 31, 2013

#Hagel just stumbled over whether Iran govt is “legitimate” or “elected.” Fodder for oppo

— Ron Kampeas (@kampeas) January 31, 2013

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