The Barack Obama Administration seems to go through Secretaries of Defense every two years or so. Current Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, is the fourth under the current Occupier of the Oval Office’s tenure, and with a recent lengthy interview in Foreign Policy Magazine with Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Carter is the only one to not tell tales of micromanagement from the White House and Obama’s Inner Prom Court, uh, circle.
The Foreign Policy article meanders a bit all over the map of issues that Hagel had to deal with while Secretary of Defense, but some quotes on the big things really stick out.
On not the lack of follow up from the Obama Regime in response to Assad’s flaunting the red line drawn in the sand in Syria, and using chemical weapons on his people anyway:
…Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had just sat down with his wife for a quiet dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant in northern Virginia when his phone rang. It was the White House on the line. President Barack Obama wanted to speak with him.
It was Aug. 30, 2013, …Hagel had spent the day approving final plans for a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against Damascus. U.S. naval destroyers were in the Mediterranean, awaiting orders to fire.
Instead, Obama told a stunned Hagel to stand down. Assad’s Aug. 21 chemical attack in a Damascus suburb had killed hundreds of civilians, but the president said the United States wasn’t going to take any military action against the Syrian government. The president had decided to ignore his own red line — a decision, Hagel believes, that dealt a severe blow to the credibility of both Obama and the United States.
“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.”
Given the way world politics went sideways in the last year, and that Obama has been some bad combination of emasculated and cuckholded, Hagel is probably correct in that. Hagel did his job and was ready to shoot to defend policy as he understood it. He was given a direct order to stand down by the reigning wet noodle.
Another topic that is still hanging over the Obama Administration is the prison/detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Back in 2008, the O-man and his prom court made the promise that they would transfer all the detainees – the most dangerous of the dangerous terrorists on the planet that NO ONE wants to take responsibility for guarding – and bow to “human rights” pressures by closing the facility. Hagel was all for it while he was in the Senate, but when it was his signature going on the release papers?
The White House, trying to fulfill Obama’s promise to close the facility that has been condemned by human rights groups as a legal black hole, pressed Hagel to approve transferring inmates to other countries.
But Hagel often refused or delayed signing off on dozens of transfers when he judged the security risk too high, often based on advice inside the Defense Department.
The White House grew deeply frustrated with Hagel over the delays.
“It got pretty bad, pretty brutal,” Hagel said. “I’d get the hell beat out of me all the time on this at the White House. “
Well, at least someone in the Executive Branch was trying to be a responsible adult when it came to releasing terrorists back into the wild.
Then there was the other other complaint that we’ve heard plenty of from Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, Hagel’s immediate predecessors: micromanagement. The prom court just can’t help themselves.
The White House’s penchant for meddling was a frequent problem, Hagel said. Dempsey complained that White House staffers were calling generals “and asking fifth-level questions that the White House should not be involved in,” he said.
Hagel’s predecessors, Gates and Panetta, as well as Michèle Flournoy, the former No. 3 official at the Pentagon, have all criticized the White House’s centralized decision-making and interference with the workings of the Defense Department.
Hagel said the politically motivated micromanagement, combined with a mushrooming bureaucracy at the National Security Council, raises a real risk for the executive branch — potentially undercutting the proper functioning of the Pentagon and other cabinet offices.
“There is a danger in all of this,” he said. “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.”
In addition to the big three issues that have plagued all four of Obama’s Secretaries of Defense, the Foreign Policy piece covers the contentious Senate hearings for his confirmation, access to Obama which was NEVER exclusive and always had too many cooks in the kitchen, and the pissing contest National Security Advisor Susan Rice insisted on. It seems that she has the penchant for hours long meetings that go nowhere when Hagel is more of the fifteen minutes on your feet and one topic, two minute conversation sort. Hagel was also supportive of giving non-lethal aid to Ukraine and was overruled. But what really sticks in his craw was that after he tendered his resignation, the prom court in the Obama White house still went after him.
…Hagel remains pained at how his term as Pentagon chief was tarnished by what he views as backstabbing by some in the White House.
“I don’t know what the purpose was. To this day, I’m still mystified by that. But I move forward. I’m proud of my service,” he said.
Still, he added: “I would have preferred that my days as defense secretary not end that way.”
Chuck Hagel was not at all what most conservatives would want in a Secretary of Defense, and he made his fair share of mistakes, but, like the others, he did put the safety and security of the country first and foremost. For that, he was all but stabbed in the back by the Obama Regime. Look to see more of this kind of revelation when the Obamas and their sychophants FINALLY vacate Washington…if that ever happens.
For more insight on this, read Ed Morrissey’s piece over at HotAir.