November 24, 2014 12:00 pm -

[su_right_ad]There are various reasons for the end of Chuck Hagel’s stint as Defense Secretary.

The first kind are policy failures, and they’re not insignificant. In Afghanistan, Hagel failed to gain enough ground against the Taliban to force them to accept some kind of peace deal; instead, the Taliban sees itself as winning outright and is largely ignoring American negotiators. In Egypt, Hagel took the lead in trying to convince defense minister Abdel Fatah el-Sisi not to depose Egypt’s first-ever democratically elected president in a coup; Hagel failed and the coup went ahead. In Iraq and Syria, Hagel failed to devise a strategy that would prevent the rise of ISIS or that would roll it back. In Ukraine, Hagel has not contributed to the effort to roll back or deter Russia’s still-ongoing invasion. In Hagel’s defense, he is not the lead on Russia and the Afghanistan policy was failing before he took office, but ISIS and Egypt are definitely under his purview.

The second of failures, though, are bureaucratic, and that’s more important than you might think. In some ways, Hagel’s biggest job is to be the Pentagon’s representative to the White House and to Congress, as well as to bring White House-set policy to the Pentagon. Hagel didn’t really succeed at either. He was viewed skeptically in the Pentagon as an ineffective representative and manager who failed to advocate on behalf of the vast institution that is the US military. Within the White House discussions that set American foreign policy, he was lax and ineffective, known as not good at steering debate or contributing. The New York Times writes, damningly, “Hagel has often had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner.”[su_csky_ad]


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

4 responses to Why Chuck Hagel Is Gone

  1. Guy Lauten November 24th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Given the GOPsters’ oft-expressed stance of ‘We won’t block any Presidential appointments that affect national security’, I look forward to the myriad of excuses they will bring up in the upcoming fight over any new candidate for Secretary of Defense.
    Seems like the new White House policy is embracing the “Please proceed, governor” attitude. Nothing like giving them enough rope…

    • Ol Blue November 24th, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      While he’s having fun with them, he should nominate Dennis Kucinich, the former US Rep who introduced legislation to create a Department of Peace.

  2. AnthonyLook November 24th, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    An ineffective, albeit lacking any successes as Secretary of Defense; one eventually has to admit even to himself that he lacks vision, commitment and the experience to accomplish the job at hand.

  3. fancypants November 24th, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    It probably didn’t sit too well with hagel when announced we are staying in Afghanistan. I would be looking for an exit too if I were in his shoes regardless if your gop or not