McCain Pushes Hagel: 'You Were on the Wrong Side of History'

President Obama defense nominee Chuck Hagel faces questions about his position on Iraq.
5:42 | 01/31/13

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Transcript for McCain Pushes Hagel: 'You Were on the Wrong Side of History'
Eight even as late as this August 20 ninth 2011. In -- -- -- -- 2011. -- in an interview with. The Financial Times you said I disagreed with the President Obama. His decision to surge in Iraq -- I did with President Bush on the surge in Iraq. -- -- you stand by that those those comments. Senator -- Senator I stand by -- -- ultimatum. And but we right. We are correct in your assessment. Well I would defer to the judgment of history to I sort that out but our committee deserves your judgment as to whether you are right or wrong about the search. I'll explain why I've made those comments -- wanted all of Adler right or wrong that's a direct question I expected direct answer this surge. Assisted. In the objective but that if we review the record in the W please answer the question will you correct or incorrect when -- said. That the search would be. The most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam we are correct or incorrect -- -- -- no. My reference to this or -- might change -- hagel. The question is -- we -- right or wrong. That's a pretty straightforward question well I would I would like to answer what -- you right or wrong and and you are free to elaborate. Well I am not going -- give you doing a yes or no. Answer well a lot of -- show that today refused to answer that question now please go ahead. Well if you would like -- to explain. Why why -- actually would like an answer. Yes or -- well I'm not gonna give you -- yes no I think it's far more complicated matters have already said my answer is I'll defer that judgment in history. As to. The comment I made about the most dangerous foreign policy decision since Vietnam. Was about. Not just a -- but the overall. War of choice going into Iraq. That. Particular decision that was made -- the search. Bit more to the point. Our war in Iraq. I think was the most fundamental. -- bad dangerous decision since Vietnam. Aside from the cost. That occurred in this country to a blood and treasure. Aside what that. Did to take our focus off of Afghanistan. Which in -- What was the original and real focus of a national threat to this country. A Rockwell was not. I always tried to. Frame all of the different issues. Before I made a decision. On anything just as you said senator we can have differences of opinion. -- that's that's essentially where I took the positions of. Fundamental difference of opinion senator hagel. And senator Graham and -- -- that senator Lieberman when -- 59 votes in the United States senate spend our time trying to prevent that sixtieth thank god for senator Lieberman. I think history is already made the judgment about the search -- And you're on the wrong side of it. In your refusal to answer whether you're right or wrong about it it's gonna have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for your confirmation or not I hope you'll reconsider. The fact that you refuse to answer a fundamental question about an issue that took the lives of thousands of young Americans. I had one fundamental question. That I asked myself. And every vote I took every decision I made. So was the policy worthy. Of the men and women that we were sending in the battle. And surely to their deaths. And in many cases unfortunately tens of thousands of cases that we're living with these poor families -- living -- Wounded. The results to consequences. I know it's easy here. He. Is anywhere if you don't have a connection to some of this two to see these things a little differently. It doesn't mean I'm any better senator doesn't mean am -- any smarter doesn't mean I'm any. More appreciative of the service our country. That's not it. I sought from the bottom I see what I saw what happens I saw the consequences and the suffering -- the or -- so I did question. A search. It wasn't an aberration to me. Ever. I always ask the question is this going to be worth. The sacrificed is there will be sacrifice. In the search case in Iraq. We lost almost 12100 dead Americans. During that search. And thousands of wounded. Now was it required was it necessary Senator McCain has his own opinion on that. Shared by others. I'm not sure I'm not that certain that it was required. Doubt that mean I'm right doesn't mean I didn't make wrong votes. But that's what guides me when you asked me to question about my time in Vietnam -- was -- wounded well I was a very insignificant part of this. We were just doing our job. Under as every military person knows that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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