Former Sen. Chuck Hagel on Thursday faced a barrage of criticism about his fitness to be the next defense secretary, including his agreement with a controversial statement that the United States is the “world’s bully.”
President Barack Obama’s nominee to be defense secretary ran into sharp opposition from Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee who questioned Hagel on an array of controversial policies.
Senators questioned Hagel about his opposition to tough U.S. policies toward Iran, his calling the successful U.S. military surge in Iraq a “blunder,” and his support for sharp unilateral cuts in U.S. nuclear forces.
Hagel also backtracked on past statements that a “Jewish lobby” was intimidating the Senate into adopting “dumb” policies.
Hagel maintained a calm demeanor but at several points in the hearing appeared unprepared for some questions during seven hours of testimony.
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