Hagel blasts Obama and why it matters
Chuck Hagel didn't turn out to be as bad a Defense Secretary for Israel as many of us in the pro-Israel community
feared he would be. Hagel resigned last year, and has now become the third Obama Defense Secretary (joining Robert Gates
and Leon Panetta
) to blast the Obama administration
for micro-managing (among other things). Here's why it matters
[Hagel] said he remains puzzled why White House officials tried to
“destroy” him personally in his last days in office, adding that he
was convinced the United States had no viable strategy in Syria and was
particularly frustrated with National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who
he said would hold meetings and focus on “nit-picky” details.
eventually got to the point where I told Susan Rice that I wasn’t going
to spend more than two hours in these meetings,” Hagel told Foreign
Policy. “Some of them would go four hours.”
Hagel said the administration struggled with how to handle Syria — hardly a surprise, given the way Obama said in August 2012
that it would be a “red line” for the United States if Syria moved or
used its chemical weapons stockpiles, but did not intervene militarily
the following year when Syria did so. Hagel said that hurt Obama’s
credibility, even if declared stockpiles eventually were removed through
an agreement reached with Damascus.
“Whether it was the right decision or not, history will determine that,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred.”
Hagel, for his part, told Foreign Policy that he got “the hell beat
out of him” figuratively at the White House for delaying in signing
transfer orders to release detainees from the military prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he had concerns about the individuals
involved. He also said he felt micro-managed — something that Gates,
Panetta and other defense officials have all expressed.
“There is a danger in all of this,” Hagel told Foreign Policy, referring
to White House micromanagement and the administration’s expanding
national security staff. “This is about governance; this isn’t about
political optics. It’s about making the country run and function, and
trying to stay ahead of the dangers and the threats you see coming.”
Or as Glenn Reynolds puts it.
Because it underscores how feckless, incompetent, and uninterested in
protecting the United States Obama, and his whole operation, have been.
I'm not sure incompetent is a fair description. But uninterested certainly is.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta, Robert Gates