This was a devastating part of the Hagel nomination hearing in the Senate Armed Forces Committee Thursday. Senator Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) grilled Hagel on his ugly comments about Israel, in particular his reference to the "Jewish lobby" and Senators who are pressured to do "dumb things" to appease that lobby:
Two previous works of Hagel were mentioned multiple times in questioning. One was a paper put forth by GLOBAL ZERO - U.S. NUCLEAR
POLICY COMMISSION REPORT where Hagel had to back off his position of nuclear disarmament. The other was from The Center for Strategic and International Studies in which Hagel speaks about Iran and criticized the Bush administration's approach to that country. He advocated, in 2007, that we must hold unconditional talks.
In the last year, the President has authorized the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, Ryan Crocker, to hold narrow and limitedagenda bilateral talks with Iranian officials regarding Iraq and I have supported this effort. Three rounds of talks have been held, with another round scheduled soon.And, yes, Senator Hagel has a book to hawk. These guys read it so you don't have to do it.
However, now is the time for the United States to actively pursue an offer of direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with Iran. We cannot afford to refuse to consider this strategic choice any longer. We should make clear that everything is on the table – our issues and Iran’s….similar to the opportunity that we squandered in 2003 for comprehensive talks with Iran. This should include offering Iran a credible way back in from the fringes of the international community, security guarantees if it is willing to give up nuclear weapons ambitions, as well as other incentives. This will require the day-to-day efforts and presence of a very senior administration official, higher ranking than the American Ambassador to Iraq.
We'll conclude with "The 80 Worst Seconds of the Chuck Hagel Hearing" from the GOP Rapid Response team: