Senate Hears Hagel's New Position On Tough Issues
The Senate is set to come down hard on Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for defense secretary, over comments he has made in the past concerning Iran, nuclear weapons, and gay rights.
The Thursday hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee sought to examine whether the former Nebraskan senator will, indeed, take over for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Obama's second-term cabinet.
Vietnam veteran Hagel addressed the senate about his previous statements and his new stances going forward. In the past Hagel said he supported "unconditional and comprehensive talks" with Iran. However on Thursday, the nominee said he now believes the best policy toward Iran is "one of prevention, and not containment." Hagel's position on nuclear weapons has also radically shifted. A member of a group which seeks to eradicate all nuclear weapons, Hagel said in the hearing he is "committed to maintaining a modern, strong, safe, ready, and effective nuclear arsenal." Finally, the former senator who opposed Obama's repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" told the committee, "I am fully committed to implementing the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and doing everything possible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all our service members."
Many Democrats have said they will support Obama's defense secretary choice. However several members of the Republican's own party vowed before the hearing that they would oppose Hagel's nomination, believing as Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said many of their views are "too philosophically opposed." Republican Sen. John McCain came down espcially hard on Hagel about the nominees attitude toward the surge of American troops into Iraq in 2007. Watch the video below.
Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of Hagel's nomination here.