Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chuck Hagel butted heads Thursday during the former senator’s confirmation hearing to be the next defense secretary. McCain pressed Hagel on his past remarks on former President George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq, quoting Hagel as saying, in 2007, that the surge would be the “most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.”
“Were you right?” McCain said. “Were you correct in your assessment?”
“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,” McCain pressed.
“I’ll explain why I made those comments,” Hagel said.
“I want to know if you were right or wrong,” McCain interjected. “That’s a direct question. I expect a direct answer.”
“The surge assisted in the objective, but if we review the record a little bit,” Hagel said.
“Will you please answer the question,” McCain said. “Were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be the ‘most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.’ Were you correct or incorrect, yes or no?”
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