From an op-ed:
Obama finds a kinship with former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, his nominee for secretary of defense, but few others in Washington do. Democrats are puzzled that Obama has selected a Republican; Republicans don't think Hagel is a Republican.The Trib then mentions Hagel's opposition to sanctions against Iran.
Obama wants to transition the U.S. military to a smaller, less-expensive footprint. He needs a defense secretary who has enough credibility to muster support in Congress for that transition. He also needs a defense secretary who will tell him when the zeal for proposed spending cuts puts national security at risk. Hagel is not that defense secretary.
One of the most significant challenges Obama faces is Iran's dogged ambition to develop nuclear weapons. The president has declared that Iran will not gain nuclear weapons capability. He is relying on economic sanctions to dissuade the mullahs, and those sanctions have had some impact. They have not, though, convinced Iran's leaders to stand down. The implicit threat is that if sanctions fail, Iran will face a military campaign to destroy its capacity to make and deliver nuclear weapons. The other, untenable option for Obama: stand down, permit Iran to become a nuclear threat and prove that the president's declarations were complete, useless bluster.
And where will his defense secretary be if the president reaches this unenviable decision?
I am of the belief that Obama wants Hagel as SecDef so he can say that it was a Republican, not he, who dismantled our military.
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