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February 01, 2013

Despite Public Claims that Hagel Was Heckled by Evil Republicans, White House Aides Privately Admit His Performance Was "Somewhere Between Baffling and Incomprehensible"

Chuck's not a strong thinker.

Dealing with Iran is complicated, but President Obama’s policy on the question of whether a nuclear-armed Iran could be successfully “contained’’ – the way the Soviet Union was during the cold war – is simple.

His answer is no.

But in the weeks of preparation for his Senate confirmation hearing to be defense secretary on Thursday, either no one explained that to Chuck Hagel, Mr. Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense, or he forgot it. And so on his first outing, Mr. Hagel fell immediately into the trap that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and several other administration officials have complained about in recent years. He became the latest official to send what many inside the administration fear has been an inconsistent and confusing message to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, about whether the Obama administration would, if there was no other option, take military measures to prevent Iran from possessing a weapon.

“It’s somewhere between baffling and incomprehensible,” a member of Mr. Obama’s own team of advisers on Iran said on Thursday night when asked about Mr. Hagel’s stumbling performance on the question during the all-day hearing.

I'll say one thing about that -- Hagel's answer really is Obama's answer. Obama plans to allow Iran to have the bomb, and then try containment; he's lying for political reasons.

If Hagel's answer on that was incomprehensible, it's because the policy he's trying to parrot is incomprehensible. And dishonest.

The liberal New York magazine also admits Hagel stunk the joint up.

The nomination of Chuck Hagel was a giddy moment for a small cadre of intellectuals eager to shift the foreign-policy debate in general, and the Democratic Party’s foreign-policy thinking in particular, to the left. The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons, a “realist” advocating a return to Nixon-Kissinger foreign-policy-making with little regard for human rights, pounded the table for Hagel’s nomination. Peter Beinart called Hagel “the New Eisenhower” and predicted naming him “will be the greatest blow in years to the culture of timidity that dominates the Democratic foreign-policy class.” Clemons predicted the Hagel nomination would be a cakewalk: “The GOP rightly or wrongly has had its cannon blast over Susan Rice. They can’t do it twice.”

As it turned out, the Hagel nomination has been a fiasco....

Hagel repeatedly ran away from his own statements, at one point explaining that he wished he could “go back and edit that, like many of the things I’ve said, I would like to change the words and the meaning.” If he could turn back time, if he could find a way, he’d take back all the words that hurt you.

He then snarkily links Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time." This of course is liberal bloggers' method of expressing contempt so perfect you don't even bother with a solid joke. (Actually, I guess it's my method, too.)

He not only had to correct and revise statements he had made in the past. He also kept making new statements during the hearings that required real-time renunciation. He called the Iranian government “elected, legitimate,” and when asked to clarify how this could describe a government whose election process and popular legitimacy are, to say the least, shaky...

The most embarrassing moment came when Hagel defended a policy of containing nuclear Iran, before being reminded by the incredulous (friendly!) chairman Carl Levin that this was not the administration’s policy. Hagel quickly agreed.

And you want that kind of firmness of mind and steelness of resolve in your Secretary of Defense.

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posted by Ace at 03:46 PM

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