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View Diary: Chuck Hagel to be nominated for secretary of defense (381 comments)

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  •  But there is no real indication... (5+ / 0-)

    ... that the White House will try to make serious, structural defense budget cuts.

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    by MJB on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:22:35 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Hagel is that indication (28+ / 0-)

      Hagel has been quite clear about the need for a shift away from the current funding system:

      "The Defense Department, I think in many ways has been bloated,” Hagel told the Financial Times last year. “So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down. I don’t think that our military has really looked at themselves strategically, critically, in a long, long time.”

      Hagel also has taken a tough stance against job creation at the Pentagon.

      “Our Defense Department budget, it is not a jobs program,” he stated last year. “It’s not an economic development program for my state or any district.”

    •  Which is precisely how to make serious, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OffTheHill, Aquarius40, divineorder

      structural defense budget cuts, by coming up with a plan before announcing it. If they telegraphed it beforehand, the military establishment would line up immediately to make it DOA and impossible to do. The only way to effectively beat them is by thinking like them, militarily. They're pretty good at that I hear.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:28:33 PM PST

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      •  perhaps, the current situation makes that hard (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, kovie, poco, Quicklund

        I think Obama wants this fight in a year or two, but right now we just have to finish fighting the fights of the past four years.

        If nothing else, a 2014 SOTU that focuses on how to shift our military budget and structure to the new reality, and a challenge to supposedly spending concerned Republicans to put their money where their mouths are.

        •  So, your plan is to appease Republicans (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder

          so that they will Follow Obama's lead.

          I think we tried that already. Doesn't work.

          Besides, they seem to hate Hagel to begin with.

          •  Your last sentence... (5+ / 0-)

            ...contradicts your first.  If they hate him, it's obviously not an attempt to appease anyone.

            "Nonsense!" said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.

            by RIposte on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:42:47 PM PST

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          •  So your argument is to misstate your opponent's? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pluto, Quicklund

            No, the plan is to deal with the current cliffcrisisceilingdefaultrophe that I expect will take most or all of the legislative oxygen in 2013. However that works out, I have my policy preferences, but they are incidental to the overall point.

            Then, in 2014, you set the foundation for a restructuring and significant defunding of the DoD. Spoken about in the context of a new world where we need to cut spending. And when the GOP shows they are unwilling, it is yet another quiver in the "these assholes aren't serious about their jobs" quiver that Obama then hammers them with in the midterms (not that it does much good due to redistricting).

          •  No, rather, by creating and promoting a consensus (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OffTheHill, Pluto, poco, Quicklund

            that accepts that the military has to be restructured (read: scaled down) to meet the national security needs of the early 21st century (and if that results in significant cost savings, great, but obviously that wasn't the reason cough cough). This takes time, and the right strategy and people. I assume that Obama views Hagel, a military-friendly conservative Repub, as part of that.

            It's a strategy of gradual ideological encirclement.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:51:46 PM PST

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            •  well put (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pluto, kovie, poco

              People seem not to realize the massive undertaking that a structural transformation of the defense budget will be. Nowhere are there more incumbents more capable of protecting their interests than at Defense.

              •  In the decline of a superpower (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poco

                ...that's not a pretty picture. And clearly we're talking about "defense" and not "military."



                Denial is a drug.

                by Pluto on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:08:12 PM PST

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              •  It's probably the most powerful lobby (0+ / 0-)

                except perhaps Wall St., and probably even more powerful since it's in every state and district via bases, contractors and service members, and owns most of congress. Plus, as much as Americans love capitalism, they love the military even more. And the military brass are extremely political and savvy. These are some serious political forces to go up against and Obama knows it.

                Thank god Petraeus is no longer a viable nominee. Gotta wonder if he wasn't outed precisely for this reason. Is Obama more Chicago than we realize?

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:11:20 PM PST

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        •  Yes, it does (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OffTheHill, Quicklund, poco

          This can't be done overnight. See my comment below. He has to create an ideological consensus around restructuring and scaling down the military to meet future needs before he can actually do this.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:53:32 PM PST

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        •  Obama can't wait too much longer (0+ / 0-)

          If he puts off going after the defense budget for much longer, then a speech on restructuring the military budget won't have any more long-term effect than Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex" speech.  

          I.e., if it comes at the very end of a two-term presidency, then it's just words.

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          by MJB on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:01:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is going to take several administrations (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poco

            The ground needs to be set for such a scaleback before it can happen. It took us 30 years to become hyper-militarized and it's going to take at least 10 to reverse that. Plus, there's economic impact to consider. Many of these defense firms will have to be converted to civilian projects and that takes time.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:14:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  "Indication" time: the State of the Union address. (12+ / 0-)

      Remember, the sequester is on the table, both Party's tables. Congress cannot expect to cut just on the domestic side. In fact, the military is due for some cuts and tough management.

      I think Defense is the perfect place for a Republican. And Hagel's a good choice. Let the GOP Long Knives have a go at savaging one of their own. The potenial head of the free world's military might had better be able to take it. And, Hagel can say some things during the confirmation process to his ex-fellow Senators that no Democrat would have credibility saying.

      As for Hagel's "bigotry," converts are the best kind. Working for this Commander in Chief, who himself could be viewed as somewhat of a convert on these important issues, Mr. Secretary would even more credibility explaining the new world to his Joint Chiefs and generals, admirals, etc.

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:49:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  +10 great comment n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund
      •  You make some good points, TRP, you have me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco, FistJab

        thinking it might not be a bad choice afterall, I hope.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:06:49 PM PST

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      •  Agree with TRP's comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TRPChicago

        (... although more Dem SecDefs better in long term)

        Benefits of Hagel's appointment have always been clear on Iran, AIPAC, spending restraint and restructuring.

        On anti-Gay and gender-related attitudes, the obvious fact that Hagel "gets" these culturally inherited instinctive attitudes, should make the military more receptive to his orders to deepen the repudiation of these attitudes.

        Because of Hagel's Republican profile and the previous praise of him by Republicans, each new criticism by a  Republican does much more to make the critic appear extremist than to damage Hagel or Obama.

        Having hearings on the Hagel appointment during negotiations related to the upcoming military sequestration deadline appears to be a very useful way to demonstrate to many audiences the conflation of such extremism with Republican fear-mongering on military spending cuts.

    •  Except that he's already cutting Defense. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund

      And proposed much bigger cuts as part of the debt limit extension deal.

      •  The irony here, of course,... (5+ / 0-)

        is that Democratic Sec Def Panetta is bleating all over Capitol Hill about how the military is going right down the crapper if they're forced to cut back on their procurements of horses and bayonets.

        "Nonsense!" said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.

        by RIposte on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:08:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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