Veterans of the Drip will remember that we flagged up a brilliant piece by the New York Times' David Brooks explaining why Chuck Hagel was chosen for the Pentagon. Brooks argument was simple and persuasive. The huge costs of Obamacare will put intolerable pressure on America's budget. Defence spending will need to be cut. Therefore Obama needed a Republican war veteran as political cover.
In a brilliant column for today's Washington Post, Bob Woodward - you know, he of the old Watergate stuff - gives an alternative account of why Obama chose Hagel. Woodward is just about the most impeccably sourced journalist since, well, since the beginning of time. So he's worth taking seriously. This is the essence of the argument: "The two [Obama and Hagel] share similar views and philosophies as the Obama administration attempts to define the role of the United States in the transition to a post-superpower world. This worldview is part hawk and part dove. It amounts, in part, to a challenge to the wars of President George W. Bush. It holds that the Afghanistan war has been mismanaged and the Iraq war unnecessary. War is an option, but very much a last resort."