Cruz leveled his allegation on Thursday afternoon during Hagel's confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Cruz set up his attack by asking permission to play a video clip of Hagel on Al Jazeera in 2009. The topic of the interview from which Cruz pulled the clip was nuclear disarmament, a fact which Cruz conveniently neglected to mention. And the clip itself consisted almost entirely of a question from a viewer who had called in. Of the 78 seconds Cruz played, just 14 were of Hagel.
The clip began with a caller from London delivering a rambling dissertation about how he liked the idea of a world without nuclear weapons, but believed it couldn't happen without leadership. "I believe the current leadership around the world, there is a moral failure going on," said the caller. "For example, if you look at Palestine, there is a war crime, and they are not dealing with it. But in Sudan, there is a war crime, and they are dealing with it."
When the caller turned his attention to genocide in Sri Lanka, the anchor interrupted, hoping to avoid a full-fledged filibuster. "What is your question, then, with regards to the issue we're talking about, the reduction of nuclear weapons?" At that point, faced with getting booted from the air or wrapping up his monologue, the caller asked the most innocuous question ever: "Yes, my question is that there's a total moral failure, and unless you bring these leaders to a moral standard, nothing can be done, that's my question. What do you think about this?"
Continue reading below the fold to find out what Hagel said that led Cruz to accuse him of having trashed Israel.
So what did Hagel say that led Cruz to accuse him of having trashed Israel? This: "Well, I think you're exactly right, in that I said in my opening statement that that leadership is critical because we know that in life nothing is ever accomplished without leadership."
Oooh. What a terrible thing to say. And even though Cruz's clip didn't include it, it turns out that there was even more:
I think it's interesting that the two leaders we're talking about specifically, of Russia and the United States, Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev are both in their 40s, and it represents a new generation of thinking. Now, again, that's a long leap between that thinking and commitment to getting it done, and, again, we're well aware of the difficulties. But we must start somewhere, and that kind of moral leadership as the caller says is absolutely critical. Now, the reality is that we're going to continue to have, unfortunately, conflict in the world.So, long story short, Hagel responded to a non-question question by saying that yes, it will take leadership to eliminate nuclear weapons, and that while conflicts will continue to occur, he believes every G-20 leader would accept the moral obligation of eliminating nuclear weapons.
But we can't as leaders of the world stand back and say 'well, there's nothing we can do about that.' We do owe the next generation of mankind far more than that., And I do believe that if we can commit ourselves, and enough leaders will join this effort, and I believe that the G-20 here, as they discuss these issues, I don't know of one of those leaders that would not commit to some at least moral obligation and responsibility to try and rid the earth of nuclear weapons.
Or, as Ted Cruz put it, Chuck Hagel accused Israel of war crimes.