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    Ted Cruz’s not “bogus attack” on Hagel

    Ted Cruz’s not “bogus attack” on Hagel

    Chuck Hagel was an embarrassment yesterday at this confirmation hearing.  John Podhoretz has it right:

    Well, as a result of this confirmation hearing — the most disastrous of its kind since another veteran senator, John Tower, blew himself up in his pursuit of the same post back in 1989 — Hagel has probably lost many, many votes to confirm him as secretary of defense.

    Though he was being asked about things he had said over the course of the past 15 years, it was what Hagel said yesterday — and how he said what he said — that had his defenders reeling in shock and even his critics aghast at how poorly he handled himself.

    Hagel said many, many things yesterday — incoherent things, confused things, wrong things, untrue things, and things that seemed to contradict other things he had said previously. Some were about Israel, some about Iran, some about American policy.

    One of the many things Hagel fumbled was his earlier comment about Israel’s “sickening slaughter” during the 1986 Lebanon War.  As Podhoretz notes, at best Hagel was drawing a moral equivalence between Israel and Hezbollah:

    He was also sorry to have said Israel keeps the Palestinians “caged in like wild animals.” Oh, and he didn’t mean to have drawn a moral equivalence between Israel and Hezbollah by referring to “the sickening slaughter on both sides” during a war inaugurated entirely by Hezbollah’s rockets.

    Ted Cruz hammered Hagel on the “sickening slaughter comment,” which Dave Weigel rushed to label a “bogus attack” because, as Podhoretz noted, Hagel accused both Israel and Hezbollah of “sickening slaughter”:

    Hagel wasn’t accusing Israel of carrying out a slaughter, or war crimes. He described the conflict that way—a sickening slaughter was occuring—blaming both sides, and quickly following up by criticizing Iran and invoking the “special relationship.” Cruz’s truncation of the quote completely changed the meaning.

    Cruz’s line of inquiry was not “bogus.” Israel went far out of its way to avoid civilian casualties and probably cost itself a military victory because of that, while Hezbollah fired rockets into civilian area for the purpose of hurting civilians.  That’s not a “bogus” distinction, it’s the core of Hagel’s misaligned view of the Middle East.

    The “bogus” defense of Hagel ignited by Weigel caught on like wildfire.  Mission accomplished.

    I’ll tell you what a truly “bogus attack” looks like — Weigel writing in a post last Friday about possible changes to how electoral votes are counted in a handful of states (emphasis added): “William Jacobson, last seen falsely accusing Elizabeth Warren of abusing her law license, makes the argument in its simplest form.”

    To the contrary, see the Law License Controversy page at  That’s one of the reasons we have collected the research about Warren all in one place, so people have the resources to respond to bogus attacks.

    Hagel should not be confirmed.  His defenders know it, they’re just too deep in at this point, so they are attacking people who point out the obvious deficiencies in Hagel’s record and understanding of issues.  That’s bogus.


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    Just a quick jump back to yesterday —

    Read this,and then re-consider any opinions on protecting the NY Times from the ChiComs:

    Henry Hawkins | February 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Hagel’s the perfect choice – too ignorant of the position to do anything but what the WH tells him to do, anti-Israel, anti-semitic, PA and general jihad sympathizer, a Bush blamer, and to top it off, he chooses to wear the GOP label. Like Joe Biden, he’d be a 24/7 gaffe machine, drawing media attention away from whatever the WH ias screwing up at the moment. Hagel would be a tailor made Obama sock puppet at the head of the Defense Dept, and a sock puppet that obedient would immediately join the list of potential Democrat Party VP candidates come 2016.

    If you’re Obama, what’s not to like?

    LukeHandCool | February 1, 2013 at 11:33 am

    It’s really frightening when a man nominated to be America’s Secretary of Defense sounds like the obnoxious anarchist hipster in my office when he’s talking about America and Israel.

    Off topic:

    Yesterday on Fox’s “The Five,” Dana Perino showed one of Branco’s cartoons and raved about him!

    Congratulations, Branco!!!!

    jeannebodine | February 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I saw this tweet from Brit Hume during the hearing:

    @brithume: Cruz is bullying Hagel. He needs to let him finish his answers. Unimpressive round of questioning

    It was retweeted by BuzzFeed and the left with comments like, “Even Brit Hume thinks Ted Cruz is a bully”, “When you’ve lost Brit Hume”, yada, yada, yada.

    My blood pressure went through the roof. What is the matter with these people? Granted that Secretary of Defense doesn’t have a tremendous amount of power in this administration. But it does have some control, authority and significance relative to the government’s most critical duty to its citizens: our security. And in spite of the ever-growing threats to our nation, to Israel and our other allies, we still have Beltway-dwellers on our side (and ONLY on our side) insisting that we (and ONLY we) play by rules that were thrown out in the 1950s) as they provide “evidence” to the other side that we’re the problem.

      Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to jeannebodine. | February 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Senator Cruz did interrupt Hagel, only to hold him to the question when he want wandering off the subject. That’s not bullying, it’s nipping a filibuster in the bud. You can see that Cruz has gained valuable experience as a prosecutor, and since his time is limited, the interruption was necessary.

      retire05 in reply to jeannebodine. | February 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      jeanne, you noticed that Hume didn’t mention how John McCain also interrupted Hagel. You see, Hume, like all inside beltway insiders, perfers a RINO to an actual conservative Republican. And no mention how Lindsay Graham b!tch-slapped Hagel with his question about which Senators were influenced by the Israel “lobby.”

      Henry Hawkins in reply to jeannebodine. | February 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Jeanne, for the same reason we don’t spank a three month old for loading its diaper, we don’t blame anyone in the media for loading theirs. It’s what they do and unreasonable to expect them to control it.

    […] Blame GOP and AGW Game marches on: Chuck Hagel sounds like a cowardly blithering idiot yesterday so it must be the fault of guess who? That mean ole GOP, who ‘attacked Hagel’ and forced him to be stupid and stammering. Unfortunately for Hagel, he’s a white male and thus not entitled to any special protection, except of course he’s Obama’s guy and Obama is the MSM’s guy. […]

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