Monday, November 24, 2014
"The Emperor Is Naked" - Hagel Fired As SecDef
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has been fired.His tenure was less than two years.
His departure comes after a long period of disagreement with President Obama over what Hagel saw as disastrous budget and manpower cuts by the White House that affected American military capabilities, disagreements of the president's strategies in Afghanistan and in both the nature and the methods used to fight Islamic State.
Basically, he was fired for telling the Emperor that he was naked. And as a convenient scapegoat for the Administration's failures.
According to one of my sources, what clinched it was his disagreement with the president about the need for ground forces in Iraq to fight Islamic State. His statement about 'not wanting to put boots on the ground where they are needed' contradicted the president directly and made him a target for Obama's consigliere Valerie Jarrett, who reportedly went ballistic, pushed hard for Hagel's firing, saying that 'these people in the Pentagon needs to remember who they work for.'
Hagel's parting shot was an interview he did with PBS's Charlie Rose last week in an interview Rose conducted at the Pentagon:
Rose asked Hagel to elaborate on comments that he made in a speech at the Reagan Library last weekend. In that speech, Hagel said that America’s military capability, while still the best in the world, is being threatened.
Hagel re-iterated that to Rose, but also left viewers to wonder about the direction that President Obama is taking the military.
“I am worried about it, I am concerned about it, Chairman Dempsey is, the chiefs are, every leader of this institution,” Hagel said, including Pentagon leadership but leaving both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s names out of his list of officials who are worried about the U.S. military’s declining capability. Hagel said that the Congress and the American people need to know what while the U.S. military remains the strongest, best trained and most motivated in the world, its lead is being threatened because of policies being implemented now.
Hagel went on to note that a good leader prepares their institution for future success, saying that “the main responsibility of any leader is to prepare your institution for the future. If you don’t do that, you’ve failed. I don’t care how good you are, how smart you are, any part of your job. If you don’t prepare your institution, you’ve failed.”
In the past couple of years, Hagel has warned that defense budget cuts implemented under President Obama were hurting readiness and capability. The “how smart you are” line may be a veiled shot at President Obama, who basks in a media image that he is a cerebral, professorial president.
Another mark against Hagel was that he reportedly underwent something of a change of views regarding Israel during his tenure as Secretary of Defense, especially during the Gaza War that did not jibe with the president. He came to see Israel as a more important ally than he had previously indicated, and facilitated arms shipments to Israel during the last Gaza War.
Once President Obama realized that the Pentagon was okaying arms shipments in a way that that would have been normal under any other administration but that he objected to, he stopped shipments of armaments like Hellfire missiles to Israel that the Israelis had already paid for in the middle of the Gaza War and held them up for 'State Department review.' This had never been done previously to Israel in a war situation. The Israelis did not receive the shipments until after the war was over, and Hagel reportedly caught a great deal of flak over it.
Chuck Hagel will continue to serve as Secretary of Defense until a new one is nominated and confirmed.
I did not support Chuck Hagel when he was nominated as SecDef, especially after his sub par confirmation hearing. However, sometimes people rise above their limitations when put in a position of responsibility, just as they sometimes fail to do so. Chuck Hagel had the ability to see that something was horribly wrong with the way President Obama was handling matters of defense and national security, and the courage to say so to the president.
There are some presidents who have had the ability to absorb contradictory views and use them to make their determinations, even modify their perceptions. Unfortunately, the president Chuck Hagel served is not one of them. Instead, he's one whom no one can tell anything to that contradicts his own, set in stone ideas. He perceives anyone who deviates from that in any way as disloyal, and for that sin, Chuck Hagel had to go.
Res ipsa loquiter.