Hagel in 2008: U.S. ‘Shouldn’t Even Be Thinking’ of Bombing Iran

SecDef nominee insisted he is committed to 'all options' at confirmation hearing


Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel once argued the United States “shouldn’t even be thinking about options of bombing Iran,” despite his insistence that “all options” must be on the table during his January confirmation hearing.

The comments, made by Hagel at a 2008 appearance and first reported by the Weekly Standard Sunday, feature Hagel arguing for engagement with Iran (as he has in the past) and discussing the threat of Israel using a nuclear weapon.

“Someone was asking me the other day about a nuclear exchange in the world, where that would come from. I said well I’ll give you a scenario that’s very real,” Hagel says in the video. “If Israel gets backed up enough into a corner and Israel uses a tactical theater nuclear weapon, you want to talk about seeing some things unravel in the world.”

“The United States shouldn’t even be thinking about options of bombing Iran or anybody else,” he continues. “I mean we got our hands full right now. And we’re in such a hell of a mess.”

At his confirmation hearing, however, Hagel insisted he is “fully committed to the president’s goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have been on record on that issue — as I’ve said in the past many times, all options must be on the table to achieve that goal.”