Twitter has been all, well, atwitter today about remarks Chuck Hagel made during a Q&A session after a 2007 speech at Rutgers, in which a contemporaneous account said he had insulted the U.S. State Department as being “an adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office.” There seems to be no recording of that. But it is almost as enlightening that during his formal speech itself, according to his prepared remarks, Hagel said two other highly dubious things.First, he said one reason the United States “blundered into Iraq” was “questionable intentions.” Oh, really? So it wasn’t just flawed intelligence, but the actual intentions of the Bush administration (and all of the Congress which approved, including Hagel himself)? This is obnoxious.
The second worrisome statement was this: “We must be clear that the United States does not seek regime change in Iran.”
Why should that have been clear? We SHOULD seek regime change in Iran.
Separately, in 2008 Hagel was advocating the idea that the United States should pressure Israel into negotiations with Syria’s dictator Assad.
This guy is, well, strange.
Here’s what I wrote in a private email earlier today, from memory, so I welcome any corrections if I have mis-stated something:
Look, I’m against permanently killing judicial nomination with filibusters, because I think it violates the spirit and perhaps the letter of the Constitution; it holds a third branch hostage to a dispute between the other two branches. But those concerns do not apply when it’s one branch fighting another, and if the Dems have set the standard they set for the Bolton filibuster, then there is NO reason not to apply that same standard here. In fact, the “problems” related to Bolton were far less important than the litany of problems with Hagel.
— repeated use of the term “Jewish lobby.”
— refusal to designate terrorist organizations as, well, “terrorist”
— refusal to support sanctions against Iran
— saying that so-called Jewish lobby “intimidates” senators into doing “dumb things”
–refusing to join all 99 other senators in signing letter against Russian anti-Semitism
— Multiple other weird relationships and statements weak on bad Arab or Islamic states and/or anti-Israel
— not just wrong, not just dead wrong, but demagogically dead wrong on the Surge
— utter incompetence and lack of knowledge about the Defense Department, the sequester, and a host of other related issues
— Pathetic confirmation hearing
— Far too willing to GUT defense
— PLUS, as per Bolton, a reputation for being a real meanie to his staff. (Yeah, that shouldn’t be a disqualifier. But it’s basically what disqualified Bolton — without ALL of these other things.)
This man shouldn’t be within sniffing distance of the men’s room near the SecDef’s office. Mitch McConnell and other Senate GOP leaders should be shouting this from the rooftops, publicly pressuring reasonable Dems to join them, and whipping the GOP caucus to block this nomination forever, by whatever means necessary.