Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Hagel in 2008 Video: US Shouldn’t Even Think About Bombing Iran (VIDEO)

February 10, 2013 7:18 pm 9 comments

Hagel comments on Iran and Israel. Photo: Screenshot.

In a newly surfaced video recorded in 2008, Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel, during a promotion event for his book, advocates engaging with Iran and Syria, expresses fear that Israel will use a “theater nuclear weapon” and cause things to “unravel in the world,” and says the US “shouldn’t even be thinking about options of bombing Iran.” In the video, an audience member asks “if Israel is attacked by Iran or an Iranian proxy like Hezbollah in a way that existentially threatens Israel, almost to the extent that Israel was attacked in ’73 and it was existentially threatened, would you support an American airstrike using U.S. forces, B2s, whatever on Iran?”  Hagel responds with a three minute lecture. A full transcription is below, with relevant highlights, courtesy of the Weekly Standard.

“I’ll answer your question as honestly as I can. That’s a hypothetical question that somehow frames up the simplicity of the hypothetical question. The complications in the Middle East, and I’m certainly not an expert there, I have a chapter on the Middle East, I do know [laughter], I know a little something about the Middle East. I spent a lot of time there. And I spent a lot of time in Israel with the prime ministers and others. You who are well informed on this issue know the complexities starting with go back to the Bible, go back to ancient times, thousands of years. I mean that, if you really want to start trying to understand the Middle East, Paul, or David Aaron Miller, who you may know, has a new book out on this, The Not So Promised Land,. And if you want to read something that is very, very enlightening, this guy he’s getting tremendous reviews on it. He’s Jewish. He worked in the State Department , worked for Baker, worked for Albright, I think he’s worked for four secretaries of state, different Democrats, Republicans. But it’s a great, great book.”

“But your question, I mean the complication of what’s going on there, Hamas is already attacking Israel. Iran supports Hamas. Iran supports Hezbollah. What I would much rather see is this administration, or hopefully the next administration, engage Iran, engage Syria. When I hear the talk about – well you can’t talk with Iran, you can’t talk with Syria and we’re, we should stay where we are and support Israel, and so on, well you miss the point.”“Our policy has been so successful I believe, hasn’t it [laughter], that the Middle East is far better off today than it has ever been, isn’t it? [Laughter.] I mean all those countries, Lebanon is in great shape, Gaza is in great shape, Israel is in great shape, Iran, Iraq, things have never looked better, because we won’t talk to anybody. We are not going to have peace, stability, security or even any hints of it in the Middle East until Iran and Syria and all the players are part of it.

“Now that doesn’t apologize for or doesn’t close our eyes to what Iran has been doing, what Iran does do, but unless they are engaged in some way , then I don’t see this getting any better, and then where this could go, where this could eventually go. 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. 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. I mean we got our hands full right now. And we’re in such a hell of a mess.”

The video of Hagel’s comments can be viewed below:


  • After listening to Mr. Hagel during the vetting period as well as reading several articles of interviews regarding his views regarding the Middle East, I do not have any doubt at all that Mr. Hagel is both anti-Semitic and anti-Zionistic. I think that the United States has already done whatever it could diplomatically to put Iran on notice that a nuclear armed Iran is not acceptable. The last alternative, as it should be, is disarming Iran’s nuclear capacity. This should be the consummate goal of the United States and Israel in the near future. Mr. Hagel’s assessment is both unrealistic and deeply untheoretical: it is downright bigoted and the probable modus operandi he would strive to bring to fruition were he voted the Secretary of defense of the United States.

  • Hi!

    Just Watched video and this Hagel guy is a omedian. The threat of Iran destroying Israel is something not to laugh about. I say “Kill or be Killed” Iran and for that matter all of The Middle East don’t like the idea of a Zionist State at all.

    If Israel is whipped off the map that is something I dread.

    I say The US and its allies bomb all of Irans Nuclear Facilities NOW!!! before its too late.

    Iran cannot be trusted! :(

  • Hagel thinks that we should engage Iran and Syria. Now, four years later, Syria is disintegrating and Iran is very close to going nuclear despite its continuing disingenuousness with the UN Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In short, engaging Iran in discussions have accomplished nothing, just as they have accomplished nothing with its unstable enabler and ally North Korea.

    In the mid 70’s, I was involved in a “Peace” organization which sought to bring together Jews from the US and Israel, Christians from the US and Lebanon and Moslems from Lebanon. Despite many efforts, we were unable to find any Moslems who were interested in engaging in a dialogue on Peace. In almost 40 years, absolutely nothing has changed.

    I would like to add that I responded to Ed Koch a”h’s column on Hagel and wrote him that I had read one of Hagel’s books and was not certain of his attitudes towards Israel.

    Perhaps in one of his very last e mails, prior to going into the hospital, he responded that he had no doubt that Hagel was not Israel’s friend.

  • What magic does Hagel have which will change the course of events in the Middle East when he talks with them? (He seems to have no idea of the shuk/sook negotiating mentality in the Middle East, because he is playing his cards prematurely and sending messages of weakness to the bad guys.) Such dialogue was Obama’s approach at the beginning of his administration, implying that he would use his childhood familiarity with the Islamic world. He told Mubarak to invite the Muslim Brotherhood to his Cairo speech where he reached out to the Muslim world and equated the Palestinian situation with the Holocaust. Four years later, radical Islamists are being empowered throughout the Middle East and the US is not doing much to stop them, while Israel is being set up. Hagel is a good fit for this model, which needs to be stopped.

  • Clint Eastwood’s empty chair was more coherent.

  • BS”D
    We need to find a way to stop this senseless arm raise. Using military force has never solved anything. It will encourage the ‘other,’ whoever that nation may be, to increase their weapons. That is why this insane raise to acquire nuclear arms. If Jewish people, Christians who claim to follow Jesus of Nazareth way, and Muslim et al. would commit themselves to seek peace, to invest in non-violent ways to solve conflicts and in the education and health of their nations, what a different world this would be. When we look at this beautiful world the Almighty has created and see our place in the universe, how arrogant of any nation to claim the right to build weapons of mass destruction.
    May the Creator have mercy.
    May the blessings from the Heavens be upon all Israel and every nation. Amen.
    Shalom uvrakha
    For the sake of Zion, Peace, and Justice,
    Pastor Frantz

    • Pastor Franz, The days in which the sheep will dwell with the wolves belong to “Aharit hayamim,” not sure of the translation, but it is the time beyond time. What we have now is an awakening Muslim world that finds itself lagging behind everybody else and blames the Western world for it. And until there will be a new leader in the Muslim world of the caliber of Saddat or King Hussein of Jordan who thought that there has been enough war against Israel and would accept the Jewish State as a given, war will continue. The Palestinians unfortunately are only showing a facade of peace but find daily new excuses for not talking peace. They went to the UN to declare a State that they could have already in 1948 if they really cared for one alongside Israel. They could have had State in 2000, and they could also have had one in negotiations with Prime Minister Olmert.
      Peace is very nice, but it takes two to tango. I can assure you that when the Palestinians woudl be genuinely interested in peace they will find a counterpart in Israel.
      Shalom u’vracha.

  • If this response to the question is an example of how Mr. Hagel thinks then if he becomes Sec.Def. we may have trouble surviving him.

    His jumbled “thinking” about the Middle East is embarrassing for a nominee for that high office. What was the President thinking? Maybe he wasn’t!

  • As we all know, this man is incoherent. But lets take one single point of Hagel which happens to be relevant. It is in response to whether Israel were now in a similar situation of going down under attack from multiple fronts- those defensive boundaries he and his master would impose on Israel, under threat of boycotts and sanctions:
    “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.”
    The conclusion using normal logic, should in fact be the opposite: “If we could destroy their facilities with a concentrated and sustained aerial attack on Iran`s nuclear facilities and that would prevent Israel from having to go nuclear, then we should do it”.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →