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The Boston Globe


In Chuck Hagel and John Kerry, a wariness of war

Both Cabinet picks draw on Vietnam experiences

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s nomination on Monday of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, coupled with his pick of Senator John F. Kerry for secretary of state, would put two Vietnam veterans known for their cautious approach to the use of military force at the helm of American defense and foreign policy.

Hagel has come under fire from fellow Republicans for comments about the undue influence of the “Jewish lobby” and what they see as his lukewarm support for Israel and reluctance to support tougher actions against Iran. The stances, along with his 1998 criticism of an openly gay diplomat, have also alarmed some Democrats.

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