Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made a statement that the White House tried to destroy him. The former Defense Secretary also stated that he was the subject of backstabbing and the White House tried to tarnish his reputation despite agreeing to resign from his position.
In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Hagel states that “They already had my resignation. What was the point of continuing to try to destroy me?”
Hagel believes that he was accused of overstating the threat that the Islamic state group poses. He said that the Islamic state is “beyond anything we’ve ever seen” after the group devastated Syria and Iraq in 2014. He did state to the magazine that he didn’t know all of the logistics, but he did know that the Islamic state was something that the United States has never dealt with in the past.
A bold statement, he also stated that the “United States is not prepared for it.”
When discussing Pres. Obama, Hagel had sharp words for his former boss. He stated that Obama lost credibility when he decided not to attack Syrian president Assad in 2013. Hagel believes that backing down from attacking Syria resulted in Obama losing the world’s confidence in him as president of the United States.
Hagel also had harsh words for Susan Rice, National Security Adviser. While her name was never listed specifically, he did believe that he and Rice clashed regularly on matters over Guantánamo Bay, Syria and the United States’s relationship with Cuba.
President Obama did state that the use of chemical weapons would be the “red line” for the United States when discussing Syria. The major issue is that the Syrian leader used chemical weapons against his own people, and Hagel planned to launch cruise missiles against the regime. Lawmakers did not approve the action, and the attack ever materialized.
Hagel did state that “history will determine if the attack was the right decision or not.” The credibility of Barack Obama was hurt following his failure to attack Syria even after his remarks that the use of chemical weapons would be the red line for an attack.
He went on to say that lengthy meetings were held on the subject of Syria, but no decisions were ever made. There were simply too many meetings that were not productive that resulted in the crisis in Syria.
Hagel’s interview also sheds light on Barack Obama. He stated that he asked to meet with the president several times in private, but there were always others in the room although a private meeting had been discussed. The former defense secretary believes that the White House ultimately tried to destroy him. Hagel was the third Defense Secretary during the Obama administration, and was replaced by Ashton Carter.