Hagel Defends His Record

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska—President Obama’s nominee to be the next Defense Secretary—addressed his critics’ concerns about his views on America’s nuclear arsenal, Iran, and Israel during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. SASC Ranking Member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) were among his toughest critics. “Though I respect Senator Hagel, his record to date demonstrates that he would be a staunch advocate for the continuation of the misguided policies of President Obama’s first term. Retreating from America’s unique global leadership role and shrinking the military will not make Americans safer,” said Inhofe in his opening remarks. He called Hagel “the wrong person to lead the Pentagon at this perilous and consequential time.” Hagel struck back, saying: “No one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me, my beliefs, or my record.” He added, “My overall world view has never changed, that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead in the international community to confront threats and challenges together, and take advantage of opportunities together, and that we must use all our tools of American power to protect our citizens and our interests.” (Hagel’s responses to advance policy questions)