Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) came out swinging Thursday morning, challenging his former colleague Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.) during the latter’s confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of defense.
McCain pushed Hagel to stand by his opposition to the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, which Hagel at the time called “the most dangerous foreign-policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.”
Hagel explained that he stood by his remarks “because I made them,” but decline to say whether his decision to oppose the surge was the right call, opting to “defer to the judgment of history.”
“I’m not going to give you a yes or no,” he told McCain. “I think it’s far more complicated than that.”
McCain, who said Hagel’s response would be a primary factor in his decision to support or oppose Hagel’s nomination, was not impressed. “I think history has already made a judgment on the surge, and you, sir, are on the wrong side of it,” McCain said.