U.S. President Barack Obama smiles at his nominee for Secretary of Defense, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (R), at the White House in Washington January 7, 2013. (Photo : Reuters)
The Senate Armed Services Committee are questioning Chuck Hagel today as he seeks to be appointed as secretary of defense.
Hagel, formerly a Republican senator from Nebraska, has already faced some tough questions from fellow Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
According to CNN, five subjects Hagel will likely be questioned on throughout today are Afghanistan, gays and women in the military, elimination of nuclear weapons, cutting the Pentagon's budget, and the situation in the Middle East, which includes his stance on Israel, Iran, and Iraq.
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"This has been the biggest source of criticism for Hagel since Obama picked him to replace Leon Panetta in December and the rawest nerve for the Republicans with whom Hagel broke over the war in Iraq," noted CNN's Matt Smith.
"Hagel supported the U.S. invasion in 2003. But by 2007, he had come to believe it was a 'blunder' and joined Democrats who tried to force the Bush administration to withdraw American troops," Smith later noted.
McCain has questioned Hagel earlier today over the Iraq War if Hagel believed the surge was "most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam," to be precise.
"Well, I would defer to the judgment of history to sort that out," Hagel said.
"This committee deserves your judgment as to whether you were right or wrong about the surge. I want to know if you were right or wrong. That's a direct question. I expect a direct answer," replied McCain.
Hagel said his statement was not about the surge but about the entire Iraq War.
"Our war in Iraq I think was the most fundamentally bad, dangerous decision since Vietnam," Hagel said.
Senators are still questioning the secretary of defense nominee.