Obama has nominated a veteran – not a chickenhawk – to serve as Secretary of Defense. The Washington Post reports that Chuck Hagel:
… was deputy director of the Veterans Administration during the Reagan administration and later served as president of the United Service Organizations.
U.S. News and World Report notes:
The Vietnam War veteran and the recipient of the purple heart, Hagel would be the first enlisted soldier in the military to rise to the ranks of defense secretary.
Indeed, while all of the neocon warmongers are chickenhawks who dodged service to their country, many veterans and active-duty service men are opposed to the endless wars, which only weaken our national security and increase terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
No wonder Hagel is more moderate than those who want to start conflagrations all over the world.
U.S. News and World Report continues:
While Hagel is a Republican, his views on foreign policy alarm some of his GOP colleagues. During his time in the Senate, Hagel was verbose in his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he voted against sanctioning Iran on multiple occasions and has suggested Israel should negotiate with Hamas directly. Republicans and Democrats alike worry he’s not a strong enough friend to Israel …
The Washington Post reports:
Last year, Hagel endorsed a report by the advocacy group Global Zero that called for an 80 percent reduction in the U.S. nuclear-weapons arsenal. Such a cut could save $100 billion over 10 years, the group estimated.
On the other hand, Obama’s nominee for CIA director – John Brennan – endorsed torture, assassination of unidentified strangers without due process, and spying on all Americans. As Glenn Greenwald writes:
Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush’s programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program.
Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser…. In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama’s drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year. He also spouted complete though highly influential falsehoods to the world in the immediate aftermath of the Osama bin Laden killing, including claiming that bin Laden “engaged in a firefight” with Navy SEALS and had “used his wife as a human shield”. Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama’s most controversial and radical policies, including “signature strikes” in Yemen – targeting people without even knowing who they are – and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency.
What do these two nominations tell us?
That the Obama administration doesn’t plan on fighting as many conventional wars with men in uniform – soldiers, sailors, pilots and marines – but does plan to crank up assassinations, drone strikes and other covert operations worldwide.