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« Does Obama let the transatlantic bond fade too casually? | Main | Tough week »
8:27AM

A heal-the-force national security team

Obama selecting Chuck Hagel as SECDEF and John Kerry as SECSTATE could not send a stronger signal: two Viet war vets with intimate knowledge of the hollowed-out force phenomenon of the later 1970s.

Look for both to do their best, now that Iraq is done for the US and Afghanistan is slated for closure next year, to avoid sending US forces anywhere if possible.

This will be portrayed as an "abandonment" of the world, but it's chickens coming home to roost.  Bush burned out the force, so Obama is tasked with "healing" it.  "Heal the force" is a Pentagon term of art.  It carries great meaning and is emotionally charged when it comes to the subject of actual servicemen and women and their families.  It is a different definition of patriotism, and, quite frankly, it fits the times.  America is on the verge of significant renewal (if the politicians could only get out of the way), and it needs to husband key resources.

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Reader Comments (2)

It doesn't bother you that Kerry was against the surge in Iraq, which Hagel called a war for oil? Maybe these guys are "healers" , but I'd hate to have them there if push came to shove.

I agree America could be on the verge of renewal, but the guy you supported is the politician who won't get out of the way.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Tom,

Did you see the David Brooks piece on this same subject? His contention is that Hagel was picked more to simply preside over the inevitable budget cuts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/opinion/brooks-why-hagel-was-picked.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

My question for you: can we simultaneously “heal the force,” while cutting defense spending responsibly, AND maintain a sense of leadership in the world? I’m not looking for us to go into Syria anytime soon, and I’m thrilled that it looks like the Afghanistan, mess is coming to a close, but if I’ve correctly followed your books and blogs over the years, it’s that the America has underwritten security to the world and this era of no great power war/globalization is the pay off. Is that at risk?

Thanks

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames

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