Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, testifying at his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Defense, asserted that all options should be on the table for preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. But in the past, he argued that this would be an irresponsible option.
“I am fully committed to the President’s goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and – as I’ve said in the past – all options must be on the table to achieve that goal,” Hagel said in his opening statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
But back in 2006, Hagel stated that, “a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.” He explained that, “I believe a political settlement will be the answer. Not a military settlement. All these issues will require a political settlement.”
In his own opening statement, Sen. James Inhofe, the committee’s ranking Republican member, said that Hagel’s reversals on a number of national security issues in the run up to his confirmation hearings were rooted in political expedience.
UPDATE: Under questioning from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Hagel tried to argue that what he really meant in 2006 was that a military strike wasn’t a “preferable” option.