NAT - THE QUESTION I WOULD ASK SEN. HAGEL IS WHY TEH FOREIGN MINSTER OF IRAN IS IN FAVOR OF YOUR NOMINATION I WOULD BE HAPPY TO RESPOND FURTHER FOR THE RECORD Jessica Desvarieux:THAT WAS THE START OF THE EIGHT HOUR PLUS CONFIRMATION HEARING FOR FORMER NEBRASKA SENATOR CHUCK HAGEL. THE REPUBLICAN SENATOR WAS NOMINATED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA TO BE THE COUNTRY'S NEXT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. HAGEL HAS COME UNDER FIRE FROM HIS FELLOW REPUBLICANS. AND IN THIS JANUARY 31ST SESSION SENATE HEARING, REPUBLICANS QUESTIONED HAGEL ABOUT ISSUES RANGING FROM IRAN POLICY TO CEASING NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION. THERE WAS ONE PARTICULARLY CONTENTIOUS BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN HAGEL AND REPUBLICAN ARIZONA SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THE TROOP SURGE IN IRAQ WAS THE RIGHT DECISION. THE REAL NEWS SPOKE WITH INTER-PRESS SERVICE WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF JIM LOBE TO GET HIS TAKE ON THE HEARING. Jim Lobe, Washington Bureau Chief - IPS: Hagel came to see early on int eh invasion of Iraq that this was a catastrophic mistake.... It did reduce the violence but it didnt' national SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM ALSO QUESTIONED HAGEL ABOUT HIS COMMENTS WHERE HE REFERRED TO JEWISH LOBBY HAVING STRONG INFLUENCE ON CAPITOL HILL. HAGEL SAID IN 2008 âThe Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. Iâm not an Israeli senator. Iâm a United States senator. This pressure makes us do dumb things at times."Lindsay Graham: Name one person who is intimidated by the Israeli lobbyHagel: Yes, I do. I've already said that Lobe: I think Lindsay Graham is a perfect example of the pressure of the Israel lobby. He is often a sponsor of whatever Netanyahu believes what US policy - if not identical to Israel.. therefore it's un-American that something Prime Minister Netanyanhu wants us to do. That sentiment prevails in the US Congress. That's why you hav e99 - to nothin votes or 100- votes that adopt that are contray to Obama administrations influence. They give money to the Republican party, also to the Democratic party - campaign money will be rewarded to the most powerful institution. IRAN CAME UP SEVERAL TIMES DURING THE HEARING. HAGEL WAS IN STRONG SUPPORT OF CONTINUING SANCTIONS AND MADE CLEAR THAT A MILITARY OPTION WOULD BE THE LAST OPTION. BUT JIM LOBE SAYS THAT DURING AN INTERVIEW WITH HAGEL HE ASKED HIM IF THERE WERE TO BE AN AN ATTACK ON IRAN WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD YOU WILL HAVE TO PUT TROOPS ON TEH GROUND. He said that it was a good question The other point that he was making at there's too much loose talk of war when it comes to Iran - if you're going to talk - all option on are on the table - you can YOu wil have the obligation to really think through the consequences. Jessica Desvarieux, Capitol Hill Correspondent: DURING SENATOR HAGEL'S CONFIRMATION HEARING, THE BACK AND FORTH FOCUSED ON THE MIDDLE EAST MOSTLY. BUT FOR ALL THAT WAS SAID, THERE WAS MUCH THAT WAS LEFT UNSAID, SPECIFICALLY LOOKING AT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DEFENSE STRATEGY IN ASIA KNOWN AS THE ASIA PIVOT.Lobe: I think the Aisa region you thought - this hearing is abotu his psitions in Middle East - they want to talk ... I just don't think that it's something that has concerned him as much THROUGHOUT THE HEARING, DEMOCRATS EXPRESSED GRATITUDE TO SENATOR HAGEL FOR HIS SERVICE IN VIETNAM. HE WOUDL BE THE FIRST COMBAT VETERAN TO OCCUPY THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE IF HE WINS CONFIRMATION. WITH 55 SENATE DEMOCRATS ALL APPEARING TO BE IN CONSENSUS WITH THE NOMINATION, HAGEL SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH SUPPORT TO WIN APPROVAL. REPUBLICANS COULD FILIBUSTER HIS NOMINATION - A MOVE THAT WOULD BE HISTORICALLY UNPRECEDENTED FOR A CABINET NOMINEE.THE SENATE IS EXPECTED TO VOTE ON HAGEL'S NOMINATION NEXT WEEK.
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