Obama praises Hagel while his aides stab him in the back

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's firing was an ugly affair, even for Washington.  As he stood with President Obama – and a dour-faced Joe Biden – Hagel was praised by the president for being a fine public servant, yada yada yada.  Boilerplate stuff.  What was the president supposed to say?  Hagel was a putz?

He was, but that's not the point.  There is a decorous way that these public humiliations are usually handled that softens the blow to the victim while maintaining the farce that he will be missed.  But this White House, beset with foreign policy crises it has shown a spectacular inability to deal with, consciously decided to make Hagel the scapegoat for their failures.

So as president Obama laid it on thick, his aides began an anonymous whispering campaign that emasculated the former secretary, stressing that he wasn't up to the job and that he didn't play well with others.

Fox News:

Ousted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had become "very, very frustrated" in the post before President Obama sought his resignation, according to a key lawmaker, who blasted the White House for a whispering campaign that accompanied the Pentagon boss' abrupt ouster Monday morning.

“I thank Chuck Hagel for his service, and I know that he was very, very frustrated,” Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is expected to take control of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, said in a radio interview with KFYI.

McCain spoke following a Rose Garden press conference at which Hagel stood stiffly while Obama announced he would be stepping down. Although McCain, who served in the Senate with Hagel from 1996-2008, opposed his fellow Vietnam veteran's appointment to defense secretary, he said administration sources were wrong to assail Hagel on his way out the door.

“Already White House people are leaking, ‘Well, he wasn’t up to the job,’" McCain said. "Well, believe me, he was up to the job. It was the job he was given, where he really was never really brought into that real tight circle inside the White House that makes all the decisions which has put us into the incredible debacle that we’re in today throughout the world.”

McCain noted that Hagel characterized the Islamic State as the greatest threat in the Middle East, while Obama was calling them the jayvee (junior varsity) team less than a year ago. He also criticized Obama for failing in areas like the Middle East, Ukraine, and responding to a newly aggressive China.

“We’ve had our disagreements but Chuck Hagel is an honorable man,” McCain added.

One anonymous official was absolutely insufferable in his criticism of Hagel:

"Make no mistake, Secretary Hagel was fired,” a senior U.S. official with close knowledge of the situation told Fox News.

This same official discounted Pentagon claims it was a mutual decision claiming President Obama has lost confidence in Hagel and that the White House had been planning to announce his exit for weeks.

“The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet. Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?"

In a swipe at the resume of Hagel, who served as U.S. Army sergeant in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts, the official added, “This is why you don’t send a sergeant to do a secretary’s job.”

How very brave of him, hiding behind anonymity while trashing a war hero.

As McCain noted, Hagel actually got ISIS right while Obama dismissed the terrorists as al-Qaeda's JV.  No doubt the president was livid at his defense secretary showing him up.

But this unseemly incident only shows how desperate the administration is to pass the buck on blame for their rancid policies.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's firing was an ugly affair, even for Washington.  As he stood with President Obama – and a dour-faced Joe Biden – Hagel was praised by the president for being a fine public servant, yada yada yada.  Boilerplate stuff.  What was the president supposed to say?  Hagel was a putz?

He was, but that's not the point.  There is a decorous way that these public humiliations are usually handled that softens the blow to the victim while maintaining the farce that he will be missed.  But this White House, beset with foreign policy crises it has shown a spectacular inability to deal with, consciously decided to make Hagel the scapegoat for their failures.

So as president Obama laid it on thick, his aides began an anonymous whispering campaign that emasculated the former secretary, stressing that he wasn't up to the job and that he didn't play well with others.

Fox News:

Ousted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had become "very, very frustrated" in the post before President Obama sought his resignation, according to a key lawmaker, who blasted the White House for a whispering campaign that accompanied the Pentagon boss' abrupt ouster Monday morning.

“I thank Chuck Hagel for his service, and I know that he was very, very frustrated,” Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is expected to take control of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, said in a radio interview with KFYI.

McCain spoke following a Rose Garden press conference at which Hagel stood stiffly while Obama announced he would be stepping down. Although McCain, who served in the Senate with Hagel from 1996-2008, opposed his fellow Vietnam veteran's appointment to defense secretary, he said administration sources were wrong to assail Hagel on his way out the door.

“Already White House people are leaking, ‘Well, he wasn’t up to the job,’" McCain said. "Well, believe me, he was up to the job. It was the job he was given, where he really was never really brought into that real tight circle inside the White House that makes all the decisions which has put us into the incredible debacle that we’re in today throughout the world.”

McCain noted that Hagel characterized the Islamic State as the greatest threat in the Middle East, while Obama was calling them the jayvee (junior varsity) team less than a year ago. He also criticized Obama for failing in areas like the Middle East, Ukraine, and responding to a newly aggressive China.

“We’ve had our disagreements but Chuck Hagel is an honorable man,” McCain added.

One anonymous official was absolutely insufferable in his criticism of Hagel:

"Make no mistake, Secretary Hagel was fired,” a senior U.S. official with close knowledge of the situation told Fox News.

This same official discounted Pentagon claims it was a mutual decision claiming President Obama has lost confidence in Hagel and that the White House had been planning to announce his exit for weeks.

“The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet. Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?"

In a swipe at the resume of Hagel, who served as U.S. Army sergeant in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts, the official added, “This is why you don’t send a sergeant to do a secretary’s job.”

How very brave of him, hiding behind anonymity while trashing a war hero.

As McCain noted, Hagel actually got ISIS right while Obama dismissed the terrorists as al-Qaeda's JV.  No doubt the president was livid at his defense secretary showing him up.

But this unseemly incident only shows how desperate the administration is to pass the buck on blame for their rancid policies.