Ash Carter: Defense Pick Advises Careful Use of Military Force

Bryan Bender
The Boston Globe

Former Harvard scholar Ashton B. Carter, President Obama’s nominee to be secretary of defense, once advocated a “surgical strike” to prevent North Korea from testing a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear warhead, concluding the regime could not be deterred by other means.

But he later warned against attacking Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons complex, arguing that airstrikes would probably only delay the effort, might spark retaliation, and could “turn a generation of Iranians against rapprochement with the United States.”

Those seemingly different recommendations illustrate how the 60-year-old physicist and former senior Pentagon official might grapple with what could be the most weighty responsibility in his new role: when to recommend using military force.

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