I hate to say “I told you so,” but what else did anyone expect from a guy who endorsed Rick Perry for president? Were we expecting anything other than a neocon propagandist? I sure wasn’t. National Review put the guy on its cover. When was the last time that was a good sign?
Here’s Justin Raimondo’s summary of the Senator Cruz exchange with Chuck Hagel.
There was a lot of competition as to which Republican senator gave the craziest performance, but I think the prize has to go with the one who came with exhibits,three of them – two of them clips from an Al Jazeera, which Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) helpfully described as a “foreign network, engaged in propaganda.” That this was said by someone whose talking points were written by propagandists for anotherforeign power – namely, Israel – is the kind of irony a wingnut like Cruz is utterly deaf to.
In any case, Cruz presented a severely edited clip of Hagel’s anodyne answer to a question from an Al Jazeera viewer about “moral leadership,” which was of no significance – but, according to the esteemed Senator, it was evidence that Hagel believed Israel had committed “war crimes.” Go here to look at the entire answer to the question, and the context – which was US-Russian relations, specifically the prospects for nuclear disarmament – rather than the radically abbreviated version played by Cruz. The Al Jazeera announcer intervened in the midst of the questioner’s long disquisition, asking “what is your question about the subject we are discussing, which is nuclear weapons.” The questioner then went on to ask about the “lack of moral leadership,” and it is clear from the context that Hagel was saying, yes, we need more moral leadership on the issue of nuclear leadership: he said nothing about Israeli war crimes. And while this may be unfortunate, Cruz’s attempt to twist Hagel’s words is contemptible, to say the least.
Citing the same interview, Cruz took the next question from a viewer out of context, averring that Hagel agreed with a caller who said that the “perception and reality” of the US as the “world’s bully” stood in the way of an agreement between the US and Russia on further dismantling of nuclear arsenals. Yet he said nothing about the US being a bully, let alone the world’s bully, and simply went on to utter a harmless bromide about the need to “reach out” and “engage.”
Clearly Hagel walked back some of his past positions, in my view unnecessarily – after all, he wasn’t going to convince Sen. Cruz in any event, and it’s important to get the truth on the record. For example, Hagel backed down when Cruz went after his description of Israel’s last attack on Lebanon as a “slaughter,” and tried to spin it as a condemnation of Israel. Yet if you look at the entire speech – as Dave Weigel has – it was no such thing. There’s nothing subtle about Cruz’s cherry-picking: it’s crude, and brazen. Not that he cares. A blustering bullying opportunist, whose physical resemblance to Joe McCarthy is an act of justice on Nature’s part, the Republican Senator from Texas cares only about getting that sound-bite on Fox News. In the second round of questioning, Cruz reprised his McCarthyesque performance by declaring that he had “a list of anti-Israel comments” purportedly made by Hagel.
I have in my hands a list! To the irony-proof Cruz, this was a zinger. To the rest of us it was more proof – if that were needed – of the man’s thuggishness.