by Richard Fernandez
November 24, 2014
The New York Times characterizes Chuck Hagel’s departure as “the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team to respond to an onslaught of global crises.” The article hints at an underlying conflict over policy and over Hagel’s “problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner”…….
He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.
An unnamed source at NBC news leaves little doubt that Hagel was fired.
Senior defense officials confirmed to NBC News Monday that Hagel was forced to resign. The officials say the White House has lost confidence in Hagel to carry out his role at the Pentagon. According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.” Another senior administration official said that Hagel has been discussing a departure from the White House “for several weeks.”…..Multiple sources also said that Hagel was originally brought to the job to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but, as the fight against the Islamic State ramped up, he was not as well matched for the post. “Rather than winding down two wars, we’re winding up,” said one source close to Hagel and top Pentagon officials….