When Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, faced the Senate Armed Services Committee, he endured a number of tough questions from a several senators, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Cruz focuses on Al Jazeera interview in which Hagel attacked Israel and the United States
On his turn at questioning, Cruz concentrated on an interview Hagel gave with Al Jazeera in 2009. Powerline, in its summary of the questioning, reported that Cruz's line of questioning focused on two instances in which Hagel seemed to agree that Israel was guilty of war crimes, referring to a 2006 campaign against Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and that the United States was "the world's bully." Hagel was not able to provide a satisfactory answer, though the Chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, suggested that they were taken out of context. Cruz agreed to provide the complete transcript of the interview and post it on his Senate webpage.
Cruz attacked for his questioning
Salon magazine took up the theme of Cruz taking the Al Jazeera interview out of context, suggesting that Hagel had acknowledged the role Hezbollah's rocket bombardment played in the 2006 conflict. The article also suggested that Cruz had become an "attack dog" from a deep red state, Texas, whose citizens approve of the senator's behavior. Salon did acknowledge that Hagel seemed to be poorly prepared to answer tough questioning by Cruz, and other senators such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
Cruz has been attacked for opposing war heroes Hagel and Kerry
Cruz has been previously attacked for opposing the nominations of Hagel for Secretary of Defense and John Kerry for Secretary of Defense on the theory that both former senators are war heroes and are thus above reproach. This theme was taken up by HBO talker Bill Maher, who lashed out at Cruz, according to Politico, in his own inimitable style.
Cruz a no vote for Hagel
In an article published in Politico, Cruz has announced that he will not vote to confirm Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Cruz suggested that Hagel has undergone a classic "nomination-day conversion" in which he has disavowed previous positions he has taken on a number of issues. These include his opposition to crack down on state sponsors of terrorism, his advocacy of negotiations without sanctions with Iran and terrorist groups, and his hostility toward the state of Israel. Cruz suggests that Hagel is telling senators who must vote to confirm him what they want to hear and not what he really believes.
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.