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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:05 PM

Why Obama picked Hagel - By Bob Woodward

By Bob Woodward, Published: January 27

Bob Woodward is an associate editor of The Post. His latest book is “The Price of Politics.” Evelyn M. Duffy contributed to this column.

In the first months of the Obama presidency in 2009, Chuck Hagel, who had just finished two terms as a U.S. senator, went to the White House to visit with the friend he had made during the four years they overlapped in the Senate.

So, President Obama asked, what do you think about foreign policy and defense issues?

According to an account that Hagel later gave, and is reported here for the first time, he told Obama: “We are at a time where there is a new world order. We don’t control it. You must question everything, every assumption, everything they” — the military and diplomats — “tell you. Any assumption 10 years old is out of date. You need to question our role. You need to question the military. You need to question what are we using the military for.

“Afghanistan will be defining for your presidency in the first term,” Hagel also said, according to his own account, “perhaps even for a second term.” The key was not to get “bogged down.”

Obama did not say much but listened. At the time, Hagel considered Obama a “loner,” inclined to keep a distance and his own counsel. But Hagel’s comments help explain why Obama nominated his former Senate colleague to be his next secretary of defense. The two share similar views and philosophies as the Obama administration attempts to define the role of the United States in the transition to a post-superpower world.

This worldview is part hawk and part dove. It amounts, in part, to a challenge to the wars of President George W. Bush. It holds that the Afghanistan war has been mismanaged and the Iraq war unnecessary. War is an option, but very much a last resort.

-snip-

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bob-woodward-why-obama-picked-hagel-for-defense-secretary/2013/01/27/b87eb8ce-68ae-11e2-af53-7b2b2a7510a8_print.html

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:07 PM

1. Only in DC is this sort of thinking possible:

It amounts, in part, to a challenge to the wars of President George W. Bush (although Hagel voted for the wars of Bush). It holds that the Afghanistan war has been mismanaged (Hagel sent us there) and the Iraq war unnecessary (and the next Sec of Defense voting FOR unnecessary war somehow means he's against it) . War is an option, but very much a last resort (or the thing to do when GW Bush tells you they got WMD over there).
Hagel voted for the Iraq Invasion. He had a chance as a Senator to challenge it, but instead he backed it, voted for it, funded it and how that makes him a challenge to the things he supported in the Senate is a tad confounding and in need of detailed explanation. He voted for it, but he really knew it was unnecessary and so his support of the war was a challenge to the war because he knew by fighting it he'd be proved right that it was pointless? He's anti Iraq War because he voted for it? In spite of voting for it?

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:41 PM

10. +1 n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:39 PM

11. No. He did vote for it, based on the information given at the time. He was also one of the first

detractors. He got a lot of pushback and opposition from everyone for being a republican who wasn't backing the play. yes he's fu@**g human, he made a mistake. He believed like everyone else in something that was clearly wrong. Then he did what he could to fix it. Your constant attacks and refusal to review all the commentary he made says alot more about you than it does about him.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:12 PM

2. Why is Woodward still considered a relevant voice?\nt

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Response to Mass (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:33 PM

4. Why wouldn't he be?

Let me guess; he was mean to the president, so now he's a bad guy?

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Response to dorkulon (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:40 PM

5. He is just an opportunist, repeating the leading DC thought.


in his first book about Bush, Bush was a leader.

in his second book about Bush, Bush was not a leader.

in his Obama book, Obama is not a leader.

And all that based on quotes and few analysis of what was actually done.

When was the last time he has made a positive contribution, Watergate excepted?

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Response to Mass (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:31 PM

7. He did put out the story that Roger Ailes of Fox had offered to back and fund

Petraeus for President. That might be small potatoes, but still informative. Other than that, I don't trust how often he sides with the right wing viewpoint.

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Response to dorkulon (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:04 PM

6. He's just another beltway insider repeating the same crap they all repeat

 

Apparently Woodward was an ethical journalist back before most of us were born, but these days he brings nothing new to the table and is just another blind bullshitter with no perspective on life in America outside of the wealthy DC area codes.

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Response to dorkulon (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:28 PM

9. Actually it's because he's a neo-con enabling hack

Read his book, Bush at War. Woodward simply could not have painted a more glowing and sympathetic portrait of the president. He's just a clown that goes whichever way the wind is blowing.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:30 PM

3. I think Obama picked a good choice. It's nice to see someone who was in actual

 

combat and knows damn well war is always the last option if possible.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:55 PM

8. This from the link was very telling about the MIC and Obama:

The words of Hagel said something that many have known, and burdened Obama in an environment he did not create, but must carefully work to dissolve its power.

As patrice detailed in replies here recently, the Reagan assault gun ban was a boon to gun manufacturers. It made a connection with me. The NRA opposition to military style gun control is based on their profits in selling these arms abroad. There they create the background for atrocities that become so destructive that armies are called in to quell the killing - with more killing while peace making.

A circle that needs to be broken, and will cause those making the money to incite more hatred against Obama and any effort at government control:

“...The president has not had commander-in-chief control of the Pentagon since Bush senior was president,” Hagel said privately in 2011.

From Woodward:

When I interviewed President Obama in the summer of 2010 for my book “Obama’s Wars,” his deeply rooted aversion to war was evident. As I reported in the book, I handed Obama a copy of a quotation from Rick Atkinson’s World War II history, “The Day of Battle,” and asked him to read it. Obama stood and read:

“And then there was the saddest lesson, to be learned again and again . . . that war is corrupting, that it corrodes the soul and tarnishes the spirit, that even the excellent and the superior can be defiled, and that no heart would remain unstained.”


And Woodward quotes Obama from the book Woodward wrote earlier:

“The instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another — that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier’s courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause, to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious” — Churchill had called it that — “and we must never trumpet it as such. So part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths — that war is sometimes necessary and war at some level is an expression of human folly.”

That is probably the best definition of the Obama doctrine on war. Applying such a doctrine in today’s dangerous and unpredictable world will be daunting — but on these issues Obama seems to have found a soul mate.


He's talking about Hagel there. I wish him a speedy confirmation. And while Ryan runs his mouth on sequestration and someone gave an example that in that event, many good programs sans Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA, which protect the most number of people will be cut.

The biggest cut and start of a turnaround from our decades of war making, will the jobs lost due to the MIC cuts. In WA state alone, 41K jobs will be lost. This is more important in line of the GOP opposition to helping to create public sector jobs for returning vets and others, which Obama wanted for rebuildikng infrastructure, so it has had to be worked around to give them private sector jobs with subsidies.

This is not an inconsequential shift in the money outlaid to contractors and other businesses depedent on the MIC. Many of those involved voted for Romney out of their concern for their own pockets. I don't call them evil - or warmongers.

They just need a job that takes care of them and their families. Many are not in the prime of life, either as some vets are - despite their severe problems from being in combat. They voted for the status quo.

Obama has his hands full with his belief he must represent ALL the hundreds of millions in the USA, not just the ones we know and talk to these days. This is an interesting article. Thanks, DonViejo.

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