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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:59 AM

In Chuck Hagel and John Kerry, a wariness of war

An interesting http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/01/08/with-hagel-and-kerry-vietnam-lessons-loom-large/Hskd0oNjlh5hicZ5Noa3aL/story.html

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s nomination on Monday of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, coupled with his pick of Senator John F. Kerry for secretary of state, would put two Vietnam veterans known for their cautious approach to the use of military force at the helm of American defense and foreign policy.

Hagel has come under fire from fellow Republicans for comments about the undue influence of the “Jewish lobby” and what they see as his lukewarm support for Israel and reluctance to support tougher actions against Iran. The stances, along with his 1998 criticism of an openly gay diplomat, have also alarmed some Democrats.

...

Hagel “knows that war is not a distraction and that sending young Americans to fight and bleed in the dirt and mud is something we only do when absolutely necessary, “ Obama said in announcing his selection to replace Leon Panetta, along with the nomination of the White House counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, to run the Central Intelligence Agency after the resignation of David Petraeus.

...

Kerry’s Vietnam experience similarly played into Obama’s thinking when choosing a replacement for Hillary Clinton as the nation’s top diplomat.

“Having served with valor in Vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use American power wisely, especially our military power,” Obama said in nominating the 69-year-old Massachusetts senator on Dec. 21. “And he knows, from personal experience, that when we send our troops into harm’s way, we must give them the sound strategy, a clear mission, and the resources that they need to get the job done.”

The proposed elevation of Hagel and Kerry marks a victory of sorts over their fellow Vietnam veterans who also went into politics, most notably Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who lost the 2008 presidential election to Obama and has espoused a more muscular vision of American power in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even toward Iran and Syria.

...

Hagel and Kerry also opposed the Bush administration’s surge of US troops in Iraq in 2007, which McCain backed. Hagel did not support McCain’s presidential bid in 2008 and he traveled with then-candidate Obama to Iraq. Now Hagel will have his confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where McCain is the top minority member.

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Reply In Chuck Hagel and John Kerry, a wariness of war (Original post)
Mass Jan 2013 OP
karynnj Jan 2013 #1
Mass Jan 2013 #2
beachmom Jan 2013 #3
MBS Jan 2013 #5
wisteria Jan 2013 #6
Inuca Jan 2013 #10
Mass Jan 2013 #4
ginnyinWI Jan 2013 #7
beachmom Jan 2013 #8
ginnyinWI Jan 2013 #9
JI7 Jan 2013 #11

Response to Mass (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:20 AM

1. Thanks

In the last day, there seem to have been many articles that have portrayed Hagel in this light. It should help to make the left happier - though the LGBT issues will still need to be addressed.

It really seems that they should be happy with a national security team where Biden will not be the odd man out pushing a less militaristic response.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:31 AM

2. I think opposition on the left is fading out,

partly because people realize that the other options are worse, partly because DADT was repealed, so while it matters, it is less of an issue.

I have to say that Steve Clemons did a lot to change my mind on this issue, in large part because he said that Hagel was supportive of the repeal of DADT a year ago, and it was not just statements he made the week before he was up for nomination). I expect Tammy Baldwin to ask hard questions, and she should (and not only her, ...),

So, at this point, consider me as reluctantly on board for this nomination. All three nominees have a hard job restructuring for later, even if the job was already started by their predecessor. We cant spend too much time with lame-duck secretaries.

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:59 PM

3. Adding to this strain, Andrew Sullivan has a great post up

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2013/01/the-long-game.html


More and more, the second term is coming into focus. The nominations of Kerry, Hagel and Brennan in the national security tent confirms that Obama intends to make his mark more emphatically in his second term than his first (which primarily meant cleaning up the mess from Bush-Cheney). All three are skeptical of resorting to military force; Kerry is a veteran diplomat and decorated veteran; Hagel has two Purple Hearts and is ideally positioned to defend cuts in Pentagon spending. Brennan has the confidence of the CIA, even as he appears to be intent on bringing its often unaccountable actions more firmly into the nexus of law, and checks and balances. Of course, they should all be grilled by the Senate - on Iran, Greater Israel, torture, secrecy and Asia. But they seem like sterling and solid picks to me.


He goes on to discuss how Hagel is a great choice if you want the defense budget cut, something that really needs to happen. Look at the defense budget toward the end of the post -- stunning how recklessly Bush spent!

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Response to beachmom (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 06:44 PM

5. this is really good. Thanks! n/t

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Response to beachmom (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:04 PM

6. I think this is a wonderful team and I can't wait for the new team to take over. n/t

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Response to wisteria (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:32 PM

10. Ditto n/t

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:01 PM

4. This seems to be a theme

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/us/politics/for-kerry-and-hagel-doubts-about-war-born-in-vietnam.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

For 2 Nominees, Doubts About War Born in Vietnam
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: January 8, 2013

Between them, Senator John Kerry and Chuck Hagel have five Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in Vietnam, shared a harrowing combat experience in the Mekong Delta and responded in different ways to the conflict that tore their generation apart. But in nominating one as secretary of state and the other as defense secretary, President Obama hopes to bring to his administration two veterans with the same sensibility about the futilities of war.

Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is the president’s choice for the State Department, came home from commanding a Swift boat in Vietnam to throw away his military decorations in a protest at the Capitol, accuse American troops of systematic atrocities and tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska who is the nominee for the Pentagon, returned home thinking of the war as justified and did his best to put it behind him. “I wanted a life,” he later said. Mr. Hagel eventually turned against the leadership of the war — “I can’t fathom that this country would allow something like that to happen, 16,000 young men killed in one year,” he told Vietnam magazine, a history publication, in October — but not its warriors. Today he is the chairman of the Pentagon’s advisory group for commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Supporters of Mr. Kerry and Mr. Hagel say that despite their different responses, their combat experience has had the same effect, making them question the price of American involvement overseas.

...

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Response to Mass (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:25 PM

7. wouldn't it be nice if all sec/states and sec/defense were combat veterans

We need people who know what they are asking when they ask someone to go to war.

P.S. and Lindsey Graham just makes me sick!!

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Response to ginnyinWI (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 08:05 AM

8. It's all about him being primaried.

It's about the party he is in. Remember when McCain became more and more ridiculous after the '08 election? He was worried about being primaried, and his strategy of bringing "the crazy" worked. He easily won re-election to the Senate. Graham is following in McCain's footsteps.

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Response to beachmom (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 09:09 AM

9. and maybe he wanted McCain to be sec-def?

That would be his ideal, but he had to know that one wasn't going to fly--but we know how chummy the two of them are.

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Response to ginnyinWI (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:34 AM

11. not always, look at McCain, but i like it that we have some like Kerry and Hagel

who actually learn from their history. and that's one of the reasons i support the Hagel pick . i wouldn't support him for something like president or vice president or even senator. but this is a specific area and Obama is still the job so i think it will work out well.

what i notice about most of the right wing Hagel critics are they are war mongers who never served themselves.

Graham can't be taken seriously anymore . but Kerry was able to deal with him and McCain .

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