Friday, December 18, 2015

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: White House Tried To 'Destroy Me'

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, August 21, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Dan De Luce, Foreign Policy: Hagel: The White House Tried to ‘Destroy’ Me

In an exclusive interview, Chuck Hagel said the Obama administration micromanaged the Pentagon, stabbed him in the back on the way out -- and still has no strategy for fixing Syria.

Jet-lagged from a long overseas trip, 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, and the U.S. military was poised for war. Obama had publicly warned Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad that his regime would face consequences if it crossed a “red line” by employing chemical weapons against its own people. Assad did it anyway, and 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.

WNU Editor: As a former U.S. Senate Republican .... how did he think he was going to be treated by a Democrat White House and administration who were in disagreement with his views?


RRH said...

He should have thanked Obama for stopping his name from being attached to an illegal attack based on a false flag committed by so-called moderates primed by Turkey. I'm sure, however, that wouldn't disturb him in the least.

The U.S. can't just run around the world cruise missiling--- no matter how "noble", " exceptional", and "indispensable" "we" think they are--- bombing and invading at will;red lines be damned. That's anarchy. Not to mention a violation of international law.

Alex said...

From a foreign policy standpoint, it is worse to draw the red line and let it slide than to go fire off the cruise missiles. As much as Bush's Iraq was/is a nasty quagmire, it demonstrated American resolve to use the big stick it still carries around.

And as Afghanistan and Vietnam were largely strategic failures, they still demonstrated that America's enemies will pay dearly and for not less than a decade of war.

Anyway, I agree that the US shouldn't start destroying Alderaans left and right, but Obama was extremely wreckless and foolish to go draw the red line in the first place.

RRH said...


We agree more than we disagree and in this case yes, Obama should have kept his mouth shut (totally out of character for him____ nothing kills a duck but his bill, as my Grandfather used to say).

When it comes to foreign policy, however, who "we" define as "enemies" has more to do with who is running the show than actual threats to "us". Threats don't materialize out of nowhere just because "they hate us". I don't see the United States as some self aware monolithic entity with ready made enemies; I see class interests. The people who run the U.S. act and re act based on their interests and their interests do not generally coincide with those of the majority of the American people, flag waving Murikans and Sergeant Slaughter aside.

Canada is no different. The gang on top has been allowed to pull so much s##+ that now most just think it's normal to run around with General Leslie's (look him up-- I know you will) "greatest Empire of all time" raising hell in the name of R2P (yeah you know me), little girls going to school (while schools are closed and class sizes balloon in Canada), or some other transparent dodge covering the Great Profit Making.

My resolve as a working Canadian is to question and challenge the interests and motivations of these (Canadian, American ,Euro bourgeois) people masquerading as "foreign policy". After all Aizino, I/we are paying the shot.

Don Bacon said...

RRH is correct, and Hagel isn't stunned he's stunted. He was completely unqualified to be in that post. Syria doing that attack was a cock-and-bull story that was never proven, and in fact even the CIA -- even the CIA -- wouldn't go along with it.
The sarin attack in Ghouta was pulled off after some UN inspectors arrived in Syria so of course Syria didn't do it, Turkey & friends did it. Turkey is up there with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as the worst allies the US has ever had. But hey, it's quite profitable.

Unknown said...


I am glad to see that I am being responded to even though I just got here 7:27 Eastern time.

Well, at least no one called me late for dinner.

Here is my take for WNU's benefit (I hope).

Chuck Hagel tried to be one of those reach across the aisle Republicans. He wanted to show the Beltway, the people, and especially the chattering class that he was moderate and could compromise with Democrats. After all he would not be called an conservative, an arch conservative, etc. by someone at the peacock, ABC, NBC or the Clinton News Network.

The media has many establishment Republicans whipped.

Unknown said...

Pakistan is one of the worst allies the U.S. has had.

There was the infamous airlift of Pakistani trainers and advisers and others form NE Afghanistan after 9/11. But Pakistan was not grateful. They continued to run agents in Afghanistan against us (see the book Operation Darkheart).

RRH said...

Ha Ha Ha!
Alex sounded just like you!

Better late tgan never!!!!

Unknown said...

Not quite the same.

RRH said...

Hmmm hmmm. I knew you'd say that.

Maybe he's a little less likely to let fly with the 'ol death ray but he's got your Big Stick doctrine down.

Ok ok. He didn't seem to be quite as strong a fan of His O'ness as you.

Unknown said...

If you are otherwise polite and civil but have a big stick and are willing to use it, chances are you will not have to.

I don't necessarily think that going into Iraq was a bad thing. I think that maybe we should have gone after the ETA and others too. The ETA certainly was scared after 9/11. They declared a unilateral cease fire.

The WMDs went to Syria. Russia trucked and flew them there. Watching the news casts of UN inspectors being denied entrance to various places made the surprise inspection worthless.

Yeah, I like Bush. He wasn't going to pull the carpet out from underneath us.

RRH said...

You mean Bandar Bush. Right?

Awww $##^! Now I've gone and done it....


you need to recognize who you're talking to these days. See, tings d'air, dey a chanzez.

At the same temps les Americans peuple were getting the 'ol no merci, dans la toilet allez vous from was-Libya, Canada's Especial forcees (and I don't mean especial like our Primier Monsieur Trudeau) just unloaded a whole mess of derier whoopain' with our grande stick on those nasty Saudisis en Iraq./Oui, da Kurds help too/

Don't expect we were plus polite about it either. I'll bet there was a whole lotta "Tabernac!"'n and "Chaudice!"'n goin on before the beer fridge was cut loose.

We-sah gotta grande army.


All you 'as beens better be gettin' on off dee bums when we come marche'n dans la rue if you know what's bon for you.

An dat ain't no canard. Dat d'air is duh o'nest to Dieu trood. Right d'air on da piktour box avec la CBC!

War News Updates Editor said...

Nothing kills a duck but his bill ... that is a good one RRH.

Now as to your sad English version of Qubeecois French .... please stop .... I live here .... and I have to deal with it everyday. :)

RRH said...

ha ha ha ha!!!! nothing like franglais, eh?

War News Updates Editor said...

Franglais .... NON!!!!

Alex said...

I take that as a high compliment