Will you please answer the question?” McCain jumped in. “Were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam? Were you correct or incorrect? Yes or no?
“Were you right or wrong? That’s a pretty straightforward question,” McCain said.
“I’m not going to give you a yes or no answer,” Hagel said. “If you would like me to explain why ...”
“No, I actually would like an answer, yes or no,” McCain said, cutting him off.
“I’ll defer that judgment to history,” Hagel repeated. But he added that his Vietnam comments referred to “the overall war of choice, going into Iraq” and he called the March 2003 invasion “the most fundamentally bad, dangerous decision since Vietnam.”
“History has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you’re on the wrong side of it,” McCain said. “And your refusal to answer whether you were right or wrong about it is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for your confirmation or not.”
“I hope you will reconsider,” McCain said.