Obama defends defence choice

Barack Obama has defended his controversial selection of former Republican senator Chuck Hagel as his US defence secretary.

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Chuck Hagel's own words on key foreign policy issues

There are so many uncontrollable variables at play in Syria and the Middle East. You work through the multilateral institutions that are available, the UN, the Arab League. The last thing you want is an American-led or Western-led invasion into Syria.

– Foreign Policy magazine, May 2012

On Iran

The two options – attack Iran or live with a nuclear-armed Iran – may be eventually where we are. But I believe most people in both Israel and the United States think there's a ways to go before we get to those.

– Foreign Policy magazine, May 2012

On Iraq and Afghanistan

We’ve got to get out of those wars. Let the people decide what they want. If they don’t want what we wanted for them, or if they certainly don’t want what we wanted for them as much as we want it, then we can’t control that.

– Financial Times, 29 August 2011


Who is Senator Chuck Hagel?

President Obama's choice for the next US defence secretary is a Republican politician and a decorated Vietnam veteran. Here are some facts about his life:

  • Grew up in a poor family in North Platte, Nebraska
  • Gained military experience as an infantry squad leader in the Vietnam war
  • Would be one of the few secretaries who has been wounded in war (he still has shrapnel lodged in his chest)
  • As a businessman, he made a fortune in the fledgling mobile phone industry
  • Served as Republican Senator for Nebraska twice
  • Criticised George W. Bush administration over the Iraq War

Obama defends choice of Republican for defence secretary

President Barack Obama has defended his decision to nominate a Republican former Senator, Chuck Hagel, for his next defence secretary.

Obama nominates John Brennan for top CIA job

Chief counter-terrorism advisor to President Obama Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Obama has nominated John Brennan to be the new director of the CIA, replacing David Petraeus who resigned over an extramarital affair.

Brennan is a controversial choice for Obama after questions have been raised about his views on enhanced interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects during the Bush administration.

The appointment must still be confirmed by the Senate.

Obama nominates Senator Chuck Hagel for defence secretary

Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel Credit: REUTERS/Dave Kaup

US President Obama has nominated Senator Chuck Hagel as his new defence secretary.

The former Republican senator for Nebraska will take over the top Pentagon job from Leon Panetta if his appointment is confirmed by the Senate.

President Obama said that US troops would see in Senator Hagel a "decorated combat veteran of character and strength".


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