Calling Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton "recklessly irresponsible" for spurning suggestions that the U.S. engage in direct negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, maverick GOP Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel said the two candidates for their party's presidential nominations are acting like "cowboys."
Hagel, who himself has called for such negotiations, blasted the two candidates for refusing to follow the suggestion of Clinton rival for the Democratic party nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, who has advanced the idea of having such negotiations.
Arguing that when foreign leaders "hear leading presidential candidates talk like cowboys with the lowest common denominator being 'I can be tougher than you, I'll go to war before you or we aren't going to talk to anybody,' that's recklessly irresponsible," Hagel told Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt."
According to Bloomberg TV, in July Hillary called Obama, 46, "irresponsible" and "frankly naïve" for in supporting such talks, while in a Nov. 2 interview, Giuliani called Illinois Senator Obama, "naïve" for suggesting that Iran could be persuaded to stop its nuclear program through negotiations. He has also said he would never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
Rejecting the idea that having talks with Iran would be a sign of weakness, Hagel said, "Great nations engage. What are we afraid of? You shouldn't lead with the military option.''
Hagel also targeted Vice President Dick Cheney for the tone of his recent speeches on Iran, which the Nebraska Senator claims sounded similar to what he said about Iraq in 2002. "Some in this administration are serious about that possibility" of military action in Iran, Hagel charged
"We're over here sounding war calls,'' Hagel said. "That's a very dangerous thing because it leads you into a cul-de-sac of war if you're not careful.''
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