Ash Carter and North Korea: Does He Still Support a First Strike?
6:03 PM, Mar 26, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Ash Carter, Barack Obama's nominee for Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, was on the Hill today answering questions about his qualifications to serve as the Pentagon's top weapons buyer. Carter has no real experience in this field, as John McCain kindly pointed out for the committee. But that doesn't necessarily mean he isn't up to the task. What is clear is that Carter has recently taken at least one controversial position that is quite relevant given reports that North Korea is preparing for a major test next month of a Taepodong missile capable of hitting the United States.
In 2006, amid similar reports, Carter co-bylined a piece in the Washington Post with former Secretary of Defense William Perry calling on the Bush administration to "immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched." The authors asked:
Carter and Perry were very specific about what needed to be done, how the United States might proceed, and what the consequences might be -- a full-scale war on the Korean peninsula. Still, they urged a strike:
Today the United States faces precisely the same threat, and Carter is on the verge of joining the Obama administration as a senior defense official. Does he still support a strike against North Korea? How do his views on this issue shape his views of the military's procurement needs, particularly with regard to missile defense and the F-22?
While the rest of the media obsesses over Obama's latest campaign event and its implications for marijuana legalization, some reporter might want to ask Ash Carter whether a quick confirmation would leave him lobbying the Obama administration for a first-strike against North Korea's missile program.