This is sheer fantasy -- disturbing enough in a U.S. senator but profoundly unsettling in a secretary of defense. Just two months before Hagel sprinkled these rhetorical rosebuds at the mullahs' feet, an Al Quds force had attacked our forces in Karbala, Iraq. We were not at war with Iran (or not consciously). Time magazine reported the ambush: "In the back of two of the vehicles were the four Americans. One of them was alive, though barely. Handcuffed, he had been shot in the back of the head, but he was breathing. The other soldiers were already dead. One had taken bullets in both legs and his right hand, and at some point the kidnappers had torn open his body armor and fired bullets into his chest and torso. Two others were handcuffed together, with one's right hand joined to the other's left. Two shots in the face and neck had killed one. Four bullets in the chest had killed the other."
The Al Quds terrorists had stolen all of the men's ID tags. Before dying, one of them had scrawled his name in the dust of the jeep.
Hagel is not worried about a nuclear Iran. In his 2008 book, he notes blithely, "The genie of nuclear weapons is already out of the bottle no matter what Iran does." In that same year, Hagel proposed that the State Department open an "interests section" in Tehran.
Before the Hagel nomination, we lived with the polite fiction that President Obama was determined to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. The president has reiterated this position consistently since 2007. Mr. Hagel demonstrated confusion about it during his confirmation hearing, mumbling, "We have no position on containment." For clarity, Sen. Carl Levin (another helpful Democrat) corrected Hagel. "We do have a position on containment, and that is, we do not favor containment."
As recently as last September President Obama said, "Make no mistake: A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. ... The United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
But who can take that boilerplate seriously now? The president has nominated a man for defense secretary who warms the heart of the terror regime in Tehran, a man who despises U.S. power, a man who opposed not just military action but even sanctions against Iran. That the president refuses to withdraw this nomination makes nonsense of his repeated pledges to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. If ever a nomination were filibuster worthy, this is it.