Archive for chuck hagel

Toasted Hagel

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , on November 26, 2014 by andelino

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A few days ago Chuck Hagel was “warning” Americans that our military “capability” was being threatened and Obama promptly “forced” him to resign.

Sounds like Hagel might be a little too “honest” for this administration:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will “step down” from his position at the “request” of President Barack Obama, who is seeking to “reassure” critics of his bungled “foreign policy” crisis from the rise of ISIS to the resurgence of a nationalistic Russia to the response to an outbreak of Ebola.

The timing is “conspicuous” and fuels “allegations” that Hagel is being made a “scapegoat” to acknowledge that the new national “security threats” facing the nation, most notably the rise of the “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria, call for different “capabilities” than those possessed by Hagel.

“The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” an administration official said.

A critic of the Iraq war, Hagel was brought on to oversee withdrawal from Afghanistan under a smaller Pentagon budget than ever before.

Hagel’s aides have said the Defense Secretary, the last remaining “Republican” on Obama’s national security team, had planned to “serve out” his full four years in office.

It all started here:

Among the “leading” contenders to replace Hagel is Michele Flournoy, who served as the Pentagon’s “policy chief” for the first three years of Obama’s first term.

Flournoy, who would be the “first” woman to head the Pentagon, is now chief executive officer of the “Center for a New American Security,” a think tank that she co-founded.

Hagel is a Republican who “served” as senator from Nebraska and became a “critic” of U.S. involvement in Iraq.

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After Obama “nominated” him to succeed Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary in his second term, Hagel struggled through a “disastrous” confirmation hearing that “raised” early concerns about him within the White House.

Recent questions about Hagel’s “future” at the Pentagon were prompted in part by his decision to “postpone” a long-planned trip this month to Vietnam.

At the time, officials said he “needed” to remain in Washington for “congressional” consultations, but that did not stop “speculation” that the White House might be looking for a “replacement” for the final two years of Obama’s term.

Just recently Hagel was “asked” about the speculation during an interview on the Charlie Rose show whether he’s “concerned” by the speculation.

“No. First of all, I serve at the pleasure of the president,” Hagel said. “I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had the last two years to work every day for the country and for the men and women who serve this country. I don’t get up in the morning and worry about my job. It’s not unusual by the way, to change teams at different times.” 

Hagel was the first “enlisted” military member to become “Secretary of Defense.” He served in the Vietnam War and received two “Purple Hearts.” 

Hagel “forged” a strong personal relationship with Obama in the Senate, including “overseas” trips they took together.

He carved out a reputation as an “independent” thinker and “blunt” speaker, and Obama said he came to admire his “courage and willingness” to speak his mind.

When Obama “nominated” Hagel, he said he was sending the U.S. military “one of its own.” 

He was an Army “infantry sergeant” who risked his life to pull his younger brother to “safety” while both were serving in Vietnam.

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Wounded himself in Vietnam, Hagel “initially” backed the invasion of Iraq, but later became a credible “critic” of the wars, making routine “trips” to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He opposed President George W. Bush’s plan to send an additional 30,000 troops into Iraq, a move that has been credited with “stabilizing” the chaotic country, as “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out.” 

While Hagel “supported” the Afghanistan war resolution, over time he has become more “critical” of the decade plus conflict, with its complex nation building effort.

Obama recognized that “the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ.” 

In other words: “Hagel was brought on to downgrade the military radically, but now the military turns out to be necessary, after all.” 

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Yet that cannot be the “only” reason, absent any sign that Obama is “committing” to a sudden, steep increase in the defense budget, and “reversing” the non-sequester cuts of recent years.

Rather, there are two likely explanations:

1) that Hagel has turned out to be as incompetent as his critics predicted;

2) that Hagel, always a loose cannon, proved too independent, promising tougher action against ISIS than Obama was prepared to authorize. 

Hagel should never have been chosen for the post. He had no firm grasp of national security strategy, was weak on Iran, had a disturbing anti-Israel track record, and fumbled his confirmation hearing badly.

Other nominees, including Michèle Flournoy, who would have been a better choice, but Obama could not pass up the chance to use a Republican as a “bipartisan fig leaf” to slash the Pentagon.

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Secretary of Defense Hagel resigned … #IS celebrates with hashtag #الدولة_الإسلامية_تطيح_بوزير_الدفاع_الامريكي

That said, there is no “immediate or urgent failure” that ought to have triggered Hagel’s departure. Until he began to “go rogue” on ISIS, he had “faithfully” carried out Obama’s policies.

Perhaps the threat of ISIS became too urgent for even Hagel to ignore, as senior military leaders began pushing for ground troops.

The real problem is in the White House, not at the Pentagon. Given that, only a greater fool than Hagel would rush to replace him.

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Chuck Hagel forced to resign as Secretary of Defense

Hagel Made the Mistake of Telling the Truth

Hagel Takes a Bullet for Obama

Mutineers

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 17, 2014 by andelino
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel apparently isn’t going to let the Obama administration throw him under the bus in the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl scandal.

In fact, you could say just the opposite.

In his opening statement at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Hagel made a point of saying it was President Obama “who made the final decision” to swap Bergdahl for five top Taliban leaders.

“Mr. Chairman, I want to be clear on one fundamental point. I would never sign off on any decision that I did not feel was in the best interests of this country. Nor would the president of the United States, who made the final decision with the full support of his national security team.”

The Obama administration recently implied the “final decision” was made by Hagel.

After administration officials gave members of Congress a closed-door briefing on the swap, committee chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said “They indicated it was Secretary Hagel who made the final call.”

Other members of Congress also left the briefing with the “impression” final approval for the “swap” was given by Hagel.

An incredulous McKeon wondered, “It was the president of the United States that came out in the Rose Garden with the Bergdahl’s and took all the credit and now that there’s been a little push back he’s moving away from it and it’s Secretary Hagel?”

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In his testimony, Hagel “emphasized” more than once that it was the “president who made the call” to make the swap, saying, “The President’s decision to move forward with the transfer of these detainees was a tough call, but I support it and stand by it.”

Hagel also told the committee, “The President and I would not have moved forward unless we had complete confidence that we were acting lawfully, in the national interest, and in the best traditions of our military.”

And, “President Obama received a personal commitment in a personal telephone call from the emir of Qatar to uphold and enforce the security arrangements and a final decision was made to move forward with that exchange on that day.”

Hagel also made sure to note, “The president of the United States has the ultimate responsibility for the security of this country.”

After the hearing, when asked how he did, Hagel responded, “You do what you gotta do.”

After the secretary had delivered his opening statement, McKeon’s first comment was an expression of “appreciation” for clarifying that it was Obama’s “decision” to make the prisoner exchange.

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Obama is under intense “bipartisan” criticism for the swap of Bergdahl for five top terrorists, who, the administration has admitted, it cannot “guarantee” will not return to killing Americans. They were sent to Qatar, where they are supposed to be “detained” for a year.

Critics say the Taliban leaders were far too “dangerous” to be released from Guantanamo. Members of Congress were “outraged” they weren’t given the “30-day” advance notice of the deal, as required by law.

And several former squad mates say Bergdahl was a “deserter and likely a collaborator” with the Taliban. No former squad mates have “contradicted” those claims.

The appearance by Hagel did not begin with the “fireworks” many had expected, given strong bipartisan “objections” to a number of aspects of the deal.

McKeon actually complimented Hagel for making “a very strong case” for the Bergdahl swap, but, said he left just “one thing” out.

The chairman noted that “negotiations” began in January, and 80-90 members of the administration were “informed” about it, however, “no one in Congress” knew anything about it.

In fact, McKeon “speculated” the only elected officials who knew about it were the “president and, maybe, the vice president.”

McKeon told Hagel that if he had met with Congress “beforehand” and told them what he had just “testified”, the administration would not have had any “push back” at all. He stressed that Congress did not even “need to know” any operational details.

The chairman later “backtracked” and said the committee did have another issue with the deal: “the wisdom of releasing the five top Taliban commanders.”

The secretary insisted, “We complied with the law, and we did what we believed was in the best interests of our country, our military, and Sergeant Bergdahl.”

But lawmakers from both parties “complained” that Obama failed to “notify” Congress ahead of time, as required by the “National Defense Authorization Act” for transfers of Guantanamo detainees.

McKeon called the “explanations” for not notifying Congress beforehand made by White House officials at the classified briefing “misleading and at times blatantly false.”

Chuck HagelHagel “admitted” the administration should have “tried harder” to let Congress know about what he called “rapidly” moving developments, saying, “We could have done a better job of keeping you informed.”

“As the opportunity to obtain Sergeant Bergdahl’s release became clearer, we grew increasingly concerned that any delay, or any leaks, could derail the deal and further endanger him,” Hagel added.

Some members of the committee expressed “frustration” that the administration felt it could not “trust” Congress to keep a secret.

And some wondered whether the “cost” for Bergdahl was too great because it turned loose five “top” terrorists, expected by most observers to “rejoin” the fight, in exchange for a soldier “accused” by those in his unit of “deserting” his post and “collaborating” with the enemy.

McKeon said he was concerned Taliban five “still pose a threat to Americans and Afghans alike” because “in a year, they will be free to return to Afghanistan.”

And many people want to “hear” Bergdahl, himself, explain why he “left” his post, and what “happened” afterwards.

Sparks “flew” after Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., asked Hagel “why” Bergdahl had not been “returned” to the United States.

The congressman noted how seriously wounded soldiers “frequently” have been returned to the states almost “immediately” after being stabilized, then asked “You’re trying to tell me that he’s being held at Landstuhl, Germany, because of his medical condition?”

A clearly “indignant” Hagel raised his “voice” for the first time during the hearing and bellowed, “Congressman, I hope you’re not implying anything other than that. The fact is…”

“I’m just asking the question, Mr. Secretary, and you won’t answer,” said Miller.

“I’m going to give an answer, too, and I don’t like the implication of the question,” loudly replied the extremely agitated secretary.

“Well, answer it! Answer it! Answer it!” the congressman demanded.

Hagel said Bergdahl was still at a U.S. military hospital in Germany because that was the “advice” of medical professionals, until he is ready to “take the next step” in his rehabilitation.

Undeterred, Miller asked if Hagel had ever seen a “traumatically” injured service member brought to the United States immediately upon being “stabilized” at Landstuhl? “We do it all the time!”

“This isn’t just about a physical situation, Congressman. This guy was held for almost five years in God knows what kind of conditions,” replied Hagel, adding, “This is not just about can he get on his feet and walk and get to a plane.”

“So you’re telling me he cannot be questioned because of his condition?” Miller asked.

Hagel said the “next step” would be taken when medical professionals have determined he is “ready to move on.”

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Another “heated” moment came when Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., asked if the military would put “American” lives in danger to “recapture” any of the five Taliban commanders, if necessary.

When Hagel did not “respond” directly, Forbes asked the question again, only “louder.”

As the defense chief continued to “evade” responding, Forbes kept asking the question, his voice “growing” louder each time.

Hagel eventually “conceded” that the military would put American “lives at risk” to go after any of the commanders, if necessary.

Forbes pressed on, asking Hagel if he had made an “assessment” of how many lives would be put at risk if we had to “recapture” the Taliban.

“No,” Hagel replied, and added that the administration had determined “there was a substantial mitigation of risk for this country, for our interest, for our citizens and service members when we made this decision.”

Forbes replied, that “just flies in the face of all the other evidence we have.”

The administration has claimed it “did not negotiate” with terrorists because it “negotiated only” with the government of Qatar.

But Rep. John Fleming, R-La., asked Hagel,” How is that not negotiating with terrorists? Simply because we put someone in between, how is that any better than direct negotiation?”

“We engaged with the government of Qatar,” replied the defense chief.

“But at the other end of it was the was the Taliban, a combatant against us in war…” retorted the congressman. “But still a surrogate…” countered Hagel.

When Fleming asked if the outcome would have been any different if we had talked directly with the terrorists, the secretary replied, “Well, I mean, you and I disagree on that.”

After some more “back and forth that went in circles,” Hagel said, “We were very clear who we were talking to and why, and following the law. That’s what I said in my testimony. I’ve said it all morning.” The congressman’s time for questioning then expired.

Meanwhile, the White House is “planning” to transfer even more “Guantanamo” prisoners, officials acknowledged.

U.S. Senator Barack Obama poses alongside Hagel and Lugar at a Senate Committee in Washington

Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the White House was “making progress on a number of additional promising opportunities.”

“While we do not generally discuss transfers before they take place, we are fully committed to implementing the president’s direction that we transfer detainees to the greatest extent possible, consistent with national security and our humane-treatment policy, as we work toward closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay,” she said.

Hayden said 17 inmates had been “moved out” of Guantanamo in the last 13 months, including the five Taliban commanders “swapped” for Bergdahl.

Lawmakers became especially “upset” to learn that nearly 100 people in the Obama administration “did know” of the Bergdahl exchange, but “no members” of Congress had been briefed.

‘It strikes me as unfortunate that they could have 80 to 90 people in the administration aware of what was happening and not be able to trust a single Republican or Democrat in the House or the Senate,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.

”There was a sense of anger that members of Congress didn’t know about this,” according to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Min, who added, “Obviously, if there is secure information — members of Congress knew about the capture of Osama bin Laden — and yet 80 to 90 staff in the White House knew about this.”

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. said the officials “who knew” were likely from the State and Defense departments, the National Security Council and the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “claimed” he was told the day before the Bergdahl was released, but administration officials say that “was not true.”

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Here is what Bergdahl’s former “squad mates” have said about him.

Former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow was the team leader when Bergdahl disappeared on the night of June 30, 2009.

He said he heard Afghans from a nearby village say on the radio, “There’s an American here looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.”

Buetow said “we were incredibly worried” about what Bergdahl might tell the Taliban, and their improvised explosive device, or IED, attacks became much more effective in the weeks after the soldier left his post.

“Following his disappearance, IED’s started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical,” said Buetow.

“Bergdahl is a deserter, and he’s not a hero,” Buetow told CNN. “He needs to answer for what he did.”

Fellow soldier Nathan Bradley Bethea told the Daily Beast, “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”

Bethea wrote that one morning, Bergdahl simply failed to show for the morning roll call.

“The soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Blackfoot Company discovered his rifle, helmet, body armor and web gear in a neat stack. He had, however, taken his compass. His fellow soldiers later mentioned his stated desire to walk from Afghanistan to India.”

The soldier wrote that Bergdahl did not “lag behind on a patrol, as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night.”

Rather, Bethea said, Bergdahl was “relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted.”

Another member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing, Sgt. Matt Vierkant, told CNN, “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

Vierkant said Bergdahl needs to face a “military trial for desertion under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

Army Sgt. Josh Korder bluntly told CNN that Bergdahl was “at best a deserter, and at worst, a traitor.”

Former Pfc. Jose Baggett said he was close to two men “killed because of his (Bergdahl’s) actions.” He told MSNBC that not only was Bergdahl not a hero, he “left his guard post and got real heroes killed,” referring to the men who went searching for the missing soldier.

Former Army specialists Cody Full and Gerald Sutton were platoon mates of Bergdahl who appeared on Fox.

Full contradicted the claim made by National Security Adviser Rice that Bergdahl served with honor and distinction. He said Bergdahl “violated his oath and put Americans in jeopardy” and wanted to see him court-martialed as a deserter.

Although Sutton was a friend of Bergdahl, he agreed, it was desertion.

At least six soldiers were killed in searches for Bergdahl, according to soldiers who looked for him.

It was bad policy to appoint a known Republican no matter how “moderate” to serve as the Secretary of Defense. Eventually, their true colors will always shine through. One will note that Obama selected Hagel to “take one for the team” over the phony Bergdahl scandal, a certain “high honor” worthy of King Obama.

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Mutineers.

Chuck Hagel is a “Mutineer.” Do you know what happens to mutineers? They “hang them or throw them under a bus!”

Run Over By Bus

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 14, 2014 by andelino

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Hat Tip: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Run Over By Bus

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was “unexpectedly” run over by a bus in Washington, DC as he was trying to “protect” President Obama from the “disastrous” Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl scandal.

No word on whether the Secretary was “injured” or not, as journalists are having trouble “extracting” him from the pile of other individuals “caught” under the same bus.

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“The wheels of the bus go round and round,” one rescuer said. It’s difficult to get close to the vehicle because you’re afraid of getting hit by a spinning wheel yourself.”

Run Over By Bus 03Witnesses said it appeared as though the driver of the bus was “intentionally” trying to run over Mr. Hagel, or at the very least, did nothing to “try and avoid” the Secretary as he stepped off the curb.

A “composite” description assembled by authorities described the driver as a “tall, skinny black guy with big ears and a huge ego.”

“I got the feeling he couldn’t throw a baseball very well and was not very good at golf,” noted an eyewitness on the scene.

Other witnesses had the feeling that Mr. Hagel simply did not see it coming. “It’s not unusual for him, given his performance so far as Secretary of Defense,” said one defense expert.

Sources said Mr. Hagel may have been “preoccupied” by recent stories in the media “naming” him as the official who made the “final decision” to go ahead with the prisoner “swap” with the Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl:

“Now the White House says Hagel made final call on Bergdahl as criticism of Obama over prisoner swap mounts. Congress learned on Monday that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gave final approval for the prisoner exchange that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Last week, Hagel said the swap was a unanimous decision made by senior officials. Hagel is expected to defend the prisoner exchange on Wednesday in an appearance before the House Armed Services Committee.”

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Chuck Hagel pictured during his time as a soldier in Vietnam.

“Chuck’s memory is not very good if he doesn’t remember important decisions,” noted a White House insider. “It’s no wonder he forgot he shouldn’t walk in front of buses.”

Whatever the “ultimate” cause, this latest episode continues an odd string of “bus accidents” involving Obama Administration officials dating back to January, 2009.

“It’s like there’s a curse,” observed one journalist. “I’m not a superstitious women but if I worked in the Obama White House, I’d be really careful about buses.”

I should think in this era of “instant” communication that Obama’s script writers could distribute copies of “Tales From The Obama White House” in a more timely fashion.

Fortunately, the president remains “unaware” of his staff’s “incompetence.”

This is the bus that “everyone” is talking about.

Obama_Bus_Hearth_DiscountsRun Over By Bus 05Hagel Gets Testy With Lawmaker Over Bergdahl

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