At the time he said: "When you're in a war, you're in a war to win." He called Slobodan Milosevic "a butcher loose in the backyard of NATO." He viewed Kosovo as a "goal-line stand."
He said if America doesn't respond, "we will be tested every day for the next who knows how many years." He favored sending US forces to Kosovo. He said "never".take any military option off the table."
He voted for the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts. He endorsed an "urgent need" for missile defense. He called the 1972 US/Soviet Russia Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) "obsolete."
He said "We can't hold America's national security interests hostage to any threats from some other nation."
After Bush withdrew from ABM in December 2001, he said "What the president did was responsible. I support it. I think it was the right thing to do."
He accused North Korea of being "on the verge of fielding a ballistic missile capable not only of striking my home state of Nebraska, but anywhere in the United States."
He supported the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for "the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States."
The Afghanistan war followed. It rages. It shows no signs of ending. It's America's longest war. It was lost years ago.
Hagel supported the 2003 Iraq war. When it was too late to matter, his tone got more dovish.
He favors lawless warrantless surveillance. He opposes habeas and due process rights for Guantanamo detainees.
On January 7, the Washington Post headlined "On Israel, Iran, and spending, Chuck Hagel looks a lot like Robert Gates," saying:
His opponents claim he'll dramatically change defense spending and America's position on Israel and Iran. Reality suggests otherwise.
"The bottom line is that" Hagel and Gates "are remarkably similar and appear to share a number of policy preferences." They include drawing down in Iraq and arguing against Libyan intervention.
Both men differ somewhat on Iran. Gates is more hardline. Hagel tried having it both ways. On the one hand, he claimed sanctions are counterproductive. At the same time, he said they're "working."
In his first post-nomination interview , he said critics "completely distorted" his record.
"I have said many times that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism," he stressed. "I have also questioned some very cavalier attitudes taken about very complicated issues in the Middle East."