ISIS

Chuck Checks Out: Hagel Fails to Adapt to Obama's Controlling White House

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Outta here

This morning's news cycle has temporarily shifted away from fretting about what might happen in Ferguson, Missouri, to the news that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is resigning after serving less than two years. The New York Times got the news, which will apparently be announced formally in a statement this morning:

The officials described Mr. Obama's decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.

But now "the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus," one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that he initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.

But Mr. Hagel's aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government's early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.

Well, that's one way to put it, but later on in the story, reporter Helen Cooper notes Hagel's struggles to fit in with a White House full of intense Obama campaign insiders and their need to control all messaging:

A respected former senator who struck a friendship with Mr. Obama when they were both critics of the Iraq war from positions on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Hagel has nonetheless had trouble penetrating the tight team of former campaign aides and advisers who form Mr. Obama's closely knit set of loyalists. Senior administration officials have characterized him as quiet during Cabinet meetings; Mr. Hagel's defenders said that he waited until he was alone with the president before sharing his views, the better to avoid leaks.

Whatever the case, Mr. Hagel struggled to fit in with Mr. Obama's close circle and was viewed as never gaining traction in the administration after a bruising confirmation fight among his old Senate colleagues, during which he was criticized for seeming tentative in his responses to sharp questions.

Jerry Tuccille noted how Hagel's leadership played out early in 2013 in regards to fears of chemical weapon use in Syria. One day in April Hagel publicly stated there was no evidence Syria's government was using chemical weapons on its own citizens. Then he reversed position the very next day, saying that it likely that they had. The Times notes that Hagel also contradicted the White House in descriptions of ISIS. The president had compared the terrorist group to a JV basketball team, while Hagel described them as an "imminent threat to everything we have." A gap that wide does indicate, though, issues bigger than just messaging. The administration chose extremely poorly with that metaphor, but certainly Hagel is exaggerating about the actual threat ISIS represents.

One of the top choices to replace Hagel is Michéle Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense under Hagel's predecessors. She's also an administration insider. She was part of Obama's transition team, and when she stepped down from her work within the administration in 2011, said she was going to work on helping Obama get re-elected in 2012. Her name had been bounced around at the same time as Hagel's in 2012 as a possible replacement for Leon Panetta.   

Flournoy is also a co-founder and CEO of a non-profit military/national security focused think tank named the Center for New American Security. She seems to think it's possible for America to "achieve its strategic objectives in Afghanistan" as long as we stay committed with money and resources. Read her report here, and then read some of examples of where money sent to Afghanistan is actually going here.

The progressive anti-war group Institute for Policy Studies describes Flournoy's love of military intervention and spending from the left here. They note she actually has more support from neoconservatives than Republican Hagel, vocal critic of the Iraq war. Rather than proposing a different course for the administration's foreign policy, she appears to possibly be the person to entrench it for rest of Obama's term.

Now seems a good time to mention January's issue of Reason magazine focuses on what a realistic libertarian foreign policy should look like and includes interviews with both Ron Paul and Rand Paul.

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  1. Is it silly to want the secretary of defense to have served in the military? Seems like a reasonable prerequisite to me.

    1. It doesn’t strike me as being that important, although it is certainly preferable to your typical dumbass crony/dipshit senator. He’ll have plenty of military advisors.

    2. That’s reasonable, except I get the impression that there’s something of a “military politician.” I think marines like to call them LIFERS – I forget what it stands for.

      The military experience is nice because it provides context. You don’t want a politician in a military uniform who’s pushing a particular foreign policy agenda with no Congressional oversight.

      1. LIFERS:
        Lazy
        Ignorant
        Fuckers
        Expecting
        Retirement
        Soon?

    3. My fear is that it would usually end up being a career officer, which would just make things worse. Maybe some guy who did a stint before college 20-30 years ago would be OK.

      1. Yeah, I’d like someone who understands the realities of war.

    4. It’s not silly, but I think it depends on the individual.

    5. Maybe a short time as an enlisted or NCO?

      I’d take the job, but then again, nobdoy would confirm me when I threatened to chainsaw the flag ranks, set fire to every contractor I could lay hands on and swear at every politician I saw.

      1. You have my vote.

      2. You had me at ‘nobdoy’

        1. And I would refuse to use spellcheck!!!!!!

          1. Spellcheck is for pinko commies!

    6. The whole point is that the leadership of the executive branch is always civilian. Retired military would be OK, but I generally prefer to see never-ins.

    7. Is it silly to want the secretary of defense to have served in the military?

      I think its extremely important. In fact, I think it’s very important for the president to have served.

      In my four years of pre-commissioning “training” we learned about how wars are won. We scoured lessons learned from Vietnam, e.g. tactics vs strategy, never go without clear achievable objectives, NEVER EVER go unless you have an exit strategy… You later are required to have post military education throughout your career, where they get even more in-depth. Your average civilian has never even thought about military strategy.

      And here we are, making all the same mistakes we did in Vietnam, fighting the same kind of war. No objectives, we can’t even define what winning means let alone anything resembling an exit strategy. Bush was a Guard guy for a couple of years to fill a square, and Obama couldn’t spell military with a dictionary.

      If your going to use a machine, it’s important to understand what the machine is capable of.

      1. Anybody who could make it that far in politics is unlikely to be worth jackshit as a military officer.

        1. Don’t disagree. My only point is, they’ve had the training and should understand what is actually required to win a conflict.

          1. what is actually required to win a conflict.

            Unfortunately, I think that knowing how to avoid a conflict would be more useful. Most of the Sec. of “Defense” seem to be of the opinion that “There’s no such thing as defense. There’s only attack, attack, attack.”

            1. It’s up to the civilian leadership to use the right tool for the right job.

              The conventional military is the right tool for defending and taking real estate. It is NOT the right tool for eliminating a terrorist threat or for nation building. Someone trained in the art of war should know the difference.

              The military is like an attack dog on a leash. It’s gonna do the same thing every time you say, “sic em, Zeus.” You probably want to let Zeus off the leash for a guy burglarizing your house, but probably not for the neighbor kid stealing apples out of your tree.

              Unfortunately, our civilian leadership and much of the media/people have come to believe it’s the go-to tool for every scenario.

              I assure you, this is not the case.

              1. I agree. But the policy of “We’ll bomb anyone that makes the news” is idiotic even if the CiC knows exactly what tool to use.

            2. Diplomats are to be used to avoid conflict. Once a conflict is inevitable, the military should be focused on the goal of winning that conflict.

          2. they’ve had the training and should understand what is actually required to win a conflict.

            Maybe they do but the institutional limitations of the state sort of negate any actors guilty of ‘wise stewardship’. It may well be entirely possible that with enough men and resources as described in these policy position papers that the US could win the conflict, and turn Afghanistan into a suburb of Des Moines Iowa, but those policies ‘as described’ are like computer models of future climate; useless. They don’t account for a whole shit ton of relevant data, namely; that this institution called the state doesn’t behave or have interests as altruistic as their models would assert.

            1. The military is an awesome and effective tool for killing people and breaking their stuff.

              It only works in “winning hearts and minds” in the mode of “if you have an iron glove gripping their balls tightly, their hearts and minds will follow”, not a tool of gentle persuasion.

              The attempt to use the military to convert other nations to our beliefs, standards, and values is doomed to failure unless you are willing to kill LOTS of them, which we are not.

              It’s not that the military can’t kill lots of them, or even most of them, it is that we are not prepared to do that. Since we are not, there is no opportunity for the military to succeed, they do not win hearts and minds with gentle smiles.

              If we are being attacked by ISIS, I hate to be THAT guy, but I value MY kids WAY more than I value THEIR kids.

              If we are attacked, I want a powerful military to go there and reduce them to naked savages eating camel dung. And I don’t care to hear about all the innocents when they do it. If that needs done, it is to serve two purposes, to make them stop NOW, and to serve as an object lesson to others so they know better in the future.

              That said, if we are not going there to reduce them to naked savages, then the military is the wrong tool.

              1. And I don’t care to hear about all the innocents when they do it.

                Well there may be a moral problem there. I don’t believe in setting babies on fire “to spread democracy”. But to each his own.

      2. More importantly what it is *not* capable of.

        *cough* Nation Building *cough cough*

    8. This article makes it sound even sillier to think the SecDef be a good leader and manager rather than a political hack.

    9. That’s silly. The Secretary of Defense is a civilian position, it should be staffed by a civilian. Most lifers want more war, not less.

      1. Most lifers want more war, not less.

        Really? I was not so enamored of getting shot at, living in crappy conditions far from family and home.

        At 27+ years, I retired and am hoping those still in don’t have to go fight.

  2. The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ.

    So, ISIS/L started mocking Mr. Hegel’s boyish good looks?

  3. Also, if you spell your name with an accent and you were born in the US, you are probably an asshole.

      1. While her accent is douchy, it maybe provides clues on how to pronounce it. Everybody knows how to pronounce Michele.

        1. Except Michele Norris.

        2. Everybody knows how to pronounce Michele

          mee-KAY-lay

          1. I always thought it was a Canadian pronunciation–“Michael, eh?”

    1. It’s actually Mich?le not Mich?le as given in the article (which would be pronounced Me-shale as opposed to Me-shell, which is how the former is pronounced, roughly) and the rest of her names are French, so it does not seem pretentious per se. However, the grave accent (?) does not generally affect pronunciation in French anyway (nor does the circonflex accent, ?).

      1. Uh huh….

        /feigns paying attention, has flashbacks to HS French class, when this shit kind of mattered…

      2. I will continue to ignore accent marks on words.

        1. English-ist.

        2. Well, from an English perspective, the accents used in French are kind of pointless (even when they relate to pronunciation). We are accustomed to words being pronounced differently despite being spelled the same and to the same sequence of letters having different and unrelated meanings depending on context. Even the French generally drop the accents when the words are written in all caps.

          Now, writing Vietnamese without accents, on the other hand…

  4. Now seems a good time to mention January’s issue of Reason magazine focuses on what a realistic libertarian foreign policy should look like and includes interviews with both Ron Paul and Rand Paul.

    Did you write this before or after you heard Rand Paul wants to declare war on ISIS with boots on the ground?

    1. To be fair he was suggesting they should be predominately Iraqi, Kurdish and Turkish boots.

      1. Also, if we’re not willing to declare war, then we shouldn’t fucking be there?

        1. Weve declare dunrestricted submarine warfare against ISIS… Success! The Entirity of the ISIS Merchant Marine has been destroyed within seconds of the initiation of hostilities.

          1. We also took out their space program.

            1. And their reality television program – oh wait…

    2. what about Ru Paul?

    3. (2) LIMITATION ON USE OF GROUND COMBAT FORCES.-Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing the use of ground combat forces except-

      (A) as necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger posed by the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS);

      (B) for limited operations against high value targets; or

      (C) as necessary for advisory and intelligence gathering operations.

      Don’t let any actual reading interfere with your Derp quest

    4. Although I don’t really agree with Rand on his latest nuanced(cough) policy, that is not what he actually said.

  5. One of the top choices to replace Hagel is Mich?le Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense under Hagel’s predecessors. She’s also an administration insider. She was part of Obama’s transition team

    Yeah, good luck with that in the new congress.

    1. Look, messaging in is just as important as messaging out. It’s crucial that Obama never hear even the slightest intimation that he might be the problem.

      1. I suspect that Obama is being told that Hagel is the reason for the midterm losses right now, And he feels better already.

    2. Yeah, they aren’t even bothering to try to cover the blatant appointments-as-favors and stepping stones to higher responsibility anymore.

      On a more sinister note, has anyone else noticed just how many resignations have been reported among military leadership in the last 2 years or so?

      1. On a more sinister note, has anyone else noticed just how many resignations have been reported among military leadership in the last 2 years or so?

        No. Lot’s? Little?

        1. Dunno, just made it up. But I have seen a few noted in the news. Mostly related to “ethics” or “improper behavior,” which could be potentially seen as ways to purge otherwise good performers.

          1. Yep – that’s exactly my perception. There’s been a notable uptick in reporting. My understanding is it’s not just more coverage – it’s more actual terminations.

            I thought exactly what you’re suggesting.

      2. Yep, I’ve noticed that they’ve been quietly purging those who are known to not be on board with his fundamental transformation of America.

        Once the disciples of Alinsky have taken over the military, that’s pretty much it, as it’s the only part of the federal government they’ve never been able to fully control.

    3. Between this woman and his pick to replace Holder you think he’s just trying to blitz them through Congress by feminist-baiting Republicans into opposing them and having his acolytes scream “War on Women!!!!”?

      1. I think he’s a mama’s boy who gets along better with women than he does men.

        1. I think Valerie Jarett is telling him what to do and he’s just a golfing meat-puppet.

    4. Yeah, good luck with that in the new congress.

      He’s going to ram all his radical friends through THIS congress. Dirty Harry still runs things for one more month.

      1. Might not be able to. But there’s a recess coming up, a real one this time.

    5. “She’s also an administration insider. She was part of Obama’s transition team”

      Well clearly the lesson from the mid-terms that the Administration is hearing is that they need more insiders and lesstransparency

  6. I like how Obama chose *Hagel* as his scapegoat. Like *Holder* had no scandals to latch on to. It’s all about loyalty to the in-group.

  7. The Times notes that Hagel also contradicted the White House in descriptions of ISIS. The president had compared the terrorist group to a JV basketball team, while Hagel described them as an “imminent threat to everything we have.”

    Does anybody remember the Khorasan Group? That’s the band of uber terrorists that the Obama Administration invented out of whole cloth to justify bombing Syria. I want to know what Hagel’s role was in that.

    1. How do you know that we just weren’t successful at completely destroying the Khorasan Group? Successful to the point where it was like they never existed?

      1. Obama sent JCVD back in time to stop them, TimeCop style.

    2. “I want to know what Hagel’s role was in that.”

      What difference at this point does it make? /HRC

  8. fit in with a White House full of intense Obama campaign insiders and their need to control all messaging

    It was after the second election that the bureaucracy outside of the White House started to really feel the effects of the slavish cultism of Obama acolytes. That’s when the WH started to farm the real insiders out to political appointee jobs. We managed to escape most of the retardation until last year, when our new Big Boss literally described himself as an Obama “Kool Aid drinker”.

    1. I have a hard time conceiving of what exactly one is allying with when they make a statement like that.

      I mean, it literally has to be a personality thing, because it’s not entirely clear that Obama believes in anything or indeed knows anything.

      1. I mean, it literally has to be a personality thing, because it’s not entirely clear that Obama believes in anything or indeed knows anything.

        Not to mention that this wasn’t the early, heady days, but just last year. After the Obamacare web site debacles and every other bullshit thing.

        I think Dear Leader is just good at surrounding himself with people without any principles whatsoever.

        1. I actually believe there’s still a pretty big and broad base of “Obama Kool-Aid drinkers, but they’re just not as loud as they were in the Nobel Peace Prize days because, as we all know, playing defense sucks.

          They don’t care WHY playing defense sucks in this president’s particular case, but they’re out there, and they’ll take any opportunity to support whatever Obama cooks up in a late-night white house jam session.

        2. “I think Dear Leader is just good at surrounding himself with people without any principles whatsoever.”

          It may not be the case that they have no principles, they just may have gotten further in life saying “yes, sir” than in displaying them. That seems to be how you get ahead these days in politics and corporate life alike.

          1. Au contraire. The Obama faithful strongly adhere to one principle. In German it’s called the F?hrerprinzip.

            They always say “Yes, Sir” to Dear Leader because Light Bearer is always right.

            1. You know who else,… hey, wait a minute?!

  9. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 /hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

    1. Why doesn’t anyone question these bots as to why it’s always their friend’s cousin or mother-in-law?

      If it’s such a great deal, bot, why aren’t you doing it?

      Take it from someone with some marketing experience.

      1. Uhm, he IS doing it. That’s the “work on the internet”. You post these marketing spam messages to websites.

      2. Kaptious Kristen|11.24.14 @ 11:38AM|#
        “If it’s such a great deal, bot, why aren’t you doing it?”

        Sorta like the folks who offer advice on how to get rich quick, but they’re still selling their advice.

    2. That’s 42 hours a week. More reasonable than some of the other proportions, but still not “a few hours”.

      1. If you’re playing with your junk in front of a webcam for 42 hours a week, shouldn’t blisters and carpal tunnel start to be an issue?

        1. LOL ur doin it wrong!

          1. Well, I tried, but I couldn’t afford the $85 an hour.

            /Really doing it wrong

  10. Scott,

    In regard to

    Jerry Tuccille noted how Hagel’s leadership played out early in 2013 in regards to fears

    Best regards,

    brec

    1. *regards brec in an admiring manner*

  11. Chucky boy is no longer of any use to Block Yomomma in his Dictator Unleashed phase.

    It’s going to be nothing but extreme left-wing Alinskyites across the board the rest of the way.

    1. Perhaps Brietbart would be more to your liking.

    2. “Block Yomomma”? Really? That’s about as clever as ‘Rethuglicans’.

      1. Personally, I’m a bit partial to Liberdemublicans.

      2. “”Block Yomomma”? Really? That’s about as clever as ‘Rethuglicans’.”

        Not really. Rethuglicans is a more clever turn of phrase.

        1. Its all re-pube-licans and dumb-ocrats and liber-tears your hair out-ians!

        2. Yeah, ‘Rethuglican’ is slightly more clever. But that’s a low bar in general. All I ask is for some decent name-calling, not stuff that makes the name-caller seem more stupid.

          1. Team BE RULED is one of my all-time favorites, and perfectly encapsulates everything wrong with our political system.

  12. “A respected former senator”

    WTF?

    “never gaining traction in the administration after a bruising confirmation fight among his old Senate colleagues, during which he was criticized for seeming tentative in his responses to sharp questions.”

    Like, “I am not prepared for this job” “I cannot find my own ass with two hands, a flashlight and a Sherpa guide” type answers?

  13. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired

    A special messenger from the White House delivered a Luger with a round in the chamber?

    1. +1 Erwin Rommel

      (I believe it was poison with Rommel, not a bullet, but whatever – same idea)

      1. +1 Joseph Goebbels

  14. early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.

    I was very critical of the way Ebola cases were being handled (or more specifically, not handled) but what the fuck does Chuck Hagel have to do with Ebola?

    1. The Army embarrassed the Administration by following their own regulations and quarantining soldiers returning areas where they may been exposed.

  15. “January’s issue of Reason magazine focuses on what a realistic libertarian foreign policy should look like and includes interviews with both Ron Paul and Rand Paul.”

    I wouldn’t go trotting out Rand as your paragon right now. He seems to have taken a right turn into neocon territory.

    1. Can you define “neocon”?

  16. Get your popcorn ready. I think we’re gonna have another big war.

    1. With a Obama political hack running the show. Should be a dozy.

    2. I fear that your suspicion is correct.

      Hagel probably wasn’t down with the US propensity to escalate provocations of Russia over Ukraine, and other batshit-crazy ideas of the R2P crowd.

  17. The beauty of this is that proggies can’t come to me (or other small-l libertarians) and say “See?!?! Rand is just a neocon ins sheep’s clothing”, because their own Lord & Master is a the biggest warmonger of all.

    1. LOL, of course they can. Proggies don’t worry about inconvenient facts. They’ll have Talking Points that carefully detail why it was a special and necessary case everyone on the Left did something that they routinely criticize someone on the Right for.

      1. Unfortunately, JWatts is correct.

        Proggies live in an imaginary world of their intentions and perceptions. They cannot cannot deal with real-world facts.

  18. The same thing happened post ‘Nam. The Republicans had finally won as much of the war as they could and the Democrats gave the victory away to the enemy.

    We got 100,000 killed by the commies and 250,000 dead at sea from that.

    Iraq was similar. We just needed to leave the area alone. And leave boots on the ground.

    Trying to topple Assad we got he more evil ISIS. ISIS filled the power vacuum we left in Iraq. Entirely predictable.

    1. We just needed to leave the area alone. And leave boots on the ground.

      Those are mutually exclusive policies.

      1. Depends on how much the boots are doing.

        Taking out threats when they are small is cheaper than taking them out after they gain resources. Thus boots on the ground.

        Which we will be getting anyway under less advantageous circumstances.

        Entirely predictable. If you are a war lover. OTOH the war haters believe in unicorns and peace love and good vibes.

        And thus the 1930s got us the 1940s.

        But no one reads history any more.

        1. Taking out threats when they are small…

          What threats are those? They weren’t a threat when we invaded and they are not a threat now.

          Funny how the definition of “threat to national security” has changed since we lived on the brink of nuclear war. Used to mean they had the ability to wipe out large portions of the population or cause us actual misery. Now it means they can give a few folks a boo boo. Reality check.

          And quite frankly, if you don’t hate war, you are a psychopath.

        2. And thus the 1930s got us the 1940s.

          The illadvised adventure in WWI, including US involvement led to the Treaty of Versailles which gave us the violence of the 30’s and 40’s. It’s not like Fascism and Communism sprung from nothingness for no apparent reason whatsoever. That’s a piece of history you ought to read.

      2. BTW leaving the area alone means – in part – not fooking with Syria.

        1. ‘Boots on the ground’ is by definition not ‘leaving the area alone’.

  19. See, this is why I wasn’t that annoyed when Paul originally voted against Hagel’s appointment. Did anyone really expect him to make a lick of difference?

  20. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  21. I thought ol’ Chuckie was hired because he was a Yes-Man, what a pleasant surprise.
    What isn’t a surprise that is Bambi is Valerie Jarrett’s Yes-Man.

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