Friday, December 05, 2014

Obama Picks Carter Ash As His New Choice For SecDef

US President Barack Obama (L) and Vice President Joseph Biden (R) with Ashton Carter after nominating him for Secretary of Defense in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on December 5, 2014 (Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

President Obama has chosen former deputy defense secretary Carter Ash as his pick to replace the ousted Chuck Hagel as his fourth Secretary of Defense.

Unlike his predecessors Hagel, Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, Ash has never served in the military. He's an academic and bureaucrat, a former Harvard professor who has worked in and out of Washington for almost forty years. His top job was serving as as deputy defense secretary under Leon Panetta from October 2011 to December 2013.

Ash was bypassed for the top job at defense by Obama twice before and only got picked for it this time because all of the other candidates the White House approached initially declined because, among other things, this president's dysfunctional relationship with the Pentagon and the U.S. military in general common knowledge, as is his serial micromanaging. Carter Ash was simply the last one standing.

One reason he might have been turned down before was a number of public statements, papers and reports that reflect a moderately hard line view on Iran and its rogue nuclear weapons program, as well as some favorable statements he made after a 2013 trip to Israel,his first.

Among other things, in a 2004 article for Foreign Affairs, he called for the complete and verifiable elimination of Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs and accused a “distracted” Bush administration of having “left the initiative for curbing Iran’s evident nuclear ambitions to two groups that failed to support the Iraq invasion: the Europeans and the UN.”

Well and good, but rest assured that whatever Carter Ash's previous position might be, if he becomes SecDef he will toe the Obama line of appeasement on Iran and disapproval of Israel and has undoubtedly given assurances of that to the president. If he hadn't, he wouldn't have been nominated.

If anyone needs any further assurance of this, you need only know that his mentor and teacher in matters of defense policy was William Perry, Bill Clinton’s SecDef during the 1990s.

He will likely be confirmed. I don't expect much in the way of change in defense policy as long as Barack Obama is president.

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