Another secretary of defense talks?
Secretary Hagel is now the latest to say something negative about President Obama's managerial style.
Mr. Hagel now claims that the White House tried to destroy him:
In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine published Friday, he said he remains puzzled why White House officials tried to “destroy” him personally in his last days in office, adding that he was convinced the United States had no viable strategy in Syria and was particularly frustrated with National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who he said would hold meetings and focus on “nit-picky” details.
“I eventually got to the point where I told Susan Rice that I wasn’t going to spend more than two hours in these meetings,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “Some of them would go four hours.”
Hagel is far from the first former Pentagon chief in Obama’s administration to later criticize the president and his staff. But he just might be the most unlikely. A former Republican senator from Nebraska, he saw eye-to-eye with Obama on many national security issues before he was nominated. Like Obama, he also was a strong critic of President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq -- one of the first in the Republican Party.
The two men also still have a friendly relationship, Hagel told Foreign Policy. Nonetheless, he just took several large steps down the same road as Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, who preceded Hagel at the Pentagon and later laid out their grievances in memoirs written after they left office.
Panetta followed last fall with his own book, saying Obama had a “frustrating reticence to engage his opponents and rally support for his cause” and too frequently “relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader.” In an interview promoting the book, he added that the president had “kind of lost his way” and was partly to blame for the collapse of the Iraqi government last year because he didn’t press harder to keep American troops in the country in 2011, ahead of a complete military withdrawal.
God only knows if the White House tried to destroy Secretary Hagel.
At the same time, there is a pattern here going back to Secretaries Gates and Panetta.
It goes like this:
1) The secretary of defense makes a presentation, but the president does not want to hear it.
2) The Secretary gets frustrated and decides to spend time with family.
From Iraq to Afghanistan to ISIS, this is a president who thinks he's smarter than anyone else. He's invested in 2008 promises and speeches that have nothing to do with reality. His worldview is rooted in fantasy make-believe. It runs counter to men like Panetta, Gates, and Hagel, who are living in the real world.
The net result of his "I'm smarter than everyone" approach is pulling out of Iraq prematurely, drawing lines in Syria, closing Gitmo, and a perception that we are weak. It's a foreign policy that even Secretary Clinton will soon be running away from.
Wonder how long before Secretary Carter decides that he needs to spend more time with his family, too.