Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 25, 2014

Hagel Firing Points To More War

Yesterday U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice fired Defense Secretary Hagel. It was a huge mistake for President Obama to agree to that move. There are many foreign policy problems the White House created for itself. None of those are the fault of Hagel but nearly all of them can be traced back to Susan Rice herself and her surreal management style:

Earlier this year, the decision on how many U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan in 2015 was the subject of 14 meetings of NSC deputies, four gatherings involving Cabinet secretaries and other NSC “principals,” and two NSC sessions with the president, according to a former senior administration official.

The consequence of those meetings was to pare back the military’s request by just 700 troops — from 10,500 to 9,800.

After Obama and Rice, against earlier promises, secretly extend U.S. combat in Afghanistan, the number decided after 20 NSC meetings is already again up in the air and likely to increase. Such decision making exemplifies mismanagement by Susan Rice, not by Hagel.

Rice wanted Hagel fired because she was pissed when Hagel called her out on the chaotic non-policy she developed against the Islamic State and with regard to Syria. As a realist he knows that the U.S. will need the Syrian army under President Assad to push the Islamic State back into the underground. Against the advice of the military Rice, a "liberal interventionist", insists on ousting Assad.

The neocons, including the writers on Fred Hiatt's funny pages in the Washington Post, want Michèle Flournoy as replacement. She is a COIN propagandist who argued for both surges, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both surges as well as COIN failed to deliver what Flournoy and others promised.

Adding more incompetence to the U.S. foreign policy process as a Flournoy nomination would assure will not promote world peace but more war.

Posted by b on November 25, 2014 at 17:20 UTC | Permalink


What does this mean? A even more neocon foreign policy by obama?

Posted by: Anonymous | Nov 25 2014 17:23 utc | 1

Do you think there's any chance of a non neocon taking the post? Or any reasonable sort of person?

Posted by: Crest | Nov 25 2014 17:24 utc | 2

More wars and riots inside....Sure to be fun to look at the meltdown....

Posted by: Sierrasverdes1 | Nov 25 2014 17:24 utc | 3

Yep. Rice is the problem.

Well, she's *a* problem.

How did we get Rice again, anyway? Oh yeah, Obama.

Obama... And some people claim to be worried HRC will be too ready to deploy US military power!!!

Posted by: Earwig | Nov 25 2014 17:27 utc | 4

Sometimes it's like being at the zoo watching the show being presented at the monkey cage. Worst of all, they get paid for it.

Posted by: Norman | Nov 25 2014 17:40 utc | 5

"Adding more incompetence to the U.S. foreign policy......."

and that comment sets the tone for what comes after
"Incompetence"? What incompetence? Looks to me like all is going very well in the remake the middle east and get into Africa and you call that incompetence?

Looks to me like a job well done! Hagel may have just gone on to greener pastures- time will tell

Posted by: Penny | Nov 25 2014 18:00 utc | 6

My money is Michele Flournoy as replacement for Hagel.

Posted by: papa | Nov 25 2014 19:50 utc | 7

Some insight to Michele Flournoy

Posted by: papa | Nov 25 2014 19:53 utc | 8

And after they dragged Hagel's name through the mud on those hearings where he was pointedly grilled about not being pro-Israel enough. I guess when it's all said and done, he wasn't. Rest assured, the next one (Flournoy) will be certain to chug enough tubesteak and kosher sausage links to make her bosses happy.
Susan rice ought to shave her moustache, she might get more respect this way. She's on par with Samantha Power for Asshole of The Year.

Posted by: Farflungstar | Nov 25 2014 21:18 utc | 9

Bad people make for bad government....'democracy' wont prevent that

Posted by: brian | Nov 25 2014 21:26 utc | 10

Holder bailed leaving the Oreo in Chief holding the bag for Ferguson, and now Hagel has bailed leaving the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate holding the bag for WW III.

The harridans and the banshee, play the maenads, to the NPPL's Dionysus. Circle and 'protect' him. Drunk on the ambrosia of QE they tear the children of Afghanistan, Ukraine and the Middle East limb from limb.

Western 'civilization' returns to its imagined roots.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 25 2014 21:39 utc | 11

The Corporations United national PSYOP victory at the polls introduces an all-Corporate all the time RINO-RINO Congress willing to write John McCains Deep Government Merc MIC Mob a blank check.

This is 2008 all over again from the other side of the mirror. Instead of Karzai, you have a Corporate coalition of WorldBank-CIA Asset signing SOFA for perpetual Dirty Ops in Opium Land, just like Ollie Nortj in Coca Land 25 years ago.

Many Death. Much Kill.

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Nov 25 2014 21:41 utc | 12

former Senator Hagel was no peach. He electronically stole his GOP primary election in Nebraska and later electronically stole the general election. Guess who counted the votes? His own electronic voting machine corporation. Not even a paper trail for the saps in Nebraska. Trust Chuck... That was way back in 1996 or 1997. Republicans have stolen many elections electronically since then. The corporate Dems get the GOPs get away with it, so that the Dems would have an excuse to not pass progressive legislation... Two fascist, imperial totalitarian parties, your choice...

Posted by: james k. sayre | Nov 25 2014 21:50 utc | 13

Good post! Flournoy just dropped from the race!

Posted by: Sophia | Nov 25 2014 22:11 utc | 14

You can depend on the addition of more incompetence to US foreign policy. In the US incompetence rules all its institutions.

Posted by: Arius | Nov 25 2014 22:15 utc | 15

"As a realist he knows that the U.S. will need the Syrian army under President Assad to push the Islamic State back into the underground."
That is not correct. In fact many media reported that the opposition and Turkey lost a 'friend' with the departure of Hagel.
Hagel had never expressed that idea. Quite the contrary, like Turkey and France he wanted Bashar Al Assad out before tackling the ISIS.
In fact the was kicked because he questioned Obama's strategy to postpone the fate of Bashar Al Assad to after the collapse of ISIS
Obama wanted to hide from Saudi Arabia and Turkey that he had no serious intention of removing Bashar al Assad before having dealt completely with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
He succeeded in fooling them by announcing that both of these countries will be hosting Syrian rebels that the USA will train. Ironically Lavrov helped the US in fooling Turkey and Saudi Arabia by accusing Obama to underhandedly working to topple Bashar Al Assad. The GCC countries were satisfied.

Then Hagel blew up the whole thing as he exposed that it was a hazy strategy as it did not spell out what will happen to Bashar al Assad.
Obama and the witches of the White House decided he should leave.

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 25 2014 22:54 utc | 16

thanks b.

@15 virgile.. interesting angle you are offering. thanks for sharing..

Posted by: james | Nov 25 2014 23:07 utc | 17

Obama now needs to replace Holder and Hagel with an intensely hostile GOP Congress. It's all but a guarantee Hagel's successor will be a neo-con hawk, unless something really strange happens.

Posted by: Almand | Nov 25 2014 23:45 utc | 18

Penny @ 6: "Incompetence"? What incompetence?

You're right Penny, all part of a sick empire policy. Things are right on schedule.

Posted by: ben | Nov 26 2014 2:13 utc | 19

CN @ 11: Yep, right on!

Posted by: ben | Nov 26 2014 2:15 utc | 20

#17, both Holder and Hagel have said that they will stay on until a replacement is confirmed. If the Republicans continue to be as obstructionist as they have been for the past six years and throw up objections to any nominee Obama contemplates, both of them may well serve through the end of Obama's term.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Nov 26 2014 2:19 utc | 21

Regarding your second NYT link:

“No one is going to be hailed to be the anti-Hagel,” said Douglas Ollivant, a retired Army officer and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. “No one hates Hagel.”

Confirmation pressure
Instead of taking pressure off the president, it’s likely that the confirmation process for Hagel’s replacement will generate more political headaches in the near term. Those hearings should give the president’s critics, such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the future Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, a big stage to launch broad attacks on the president’s policies in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

The next defense secretary will also have to wrestle with a military strategy in Iraq and Syria that has halted Islamic State advances but has been slow to reverse the group’s big gains from the summer.

Aside from the Israel Lobby, "no one hates Hagel." Interesting that the resignation is announced at the same time that the Iran talks have faltered and Abbas has delayed pushing for statehood in the UNSC. What a great way to make Bibi feel like he's on the top of the world.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Nov 26 2014 2:52 utc | 22

JKS @ 12: "Two fascist, imperial totalitarian parties, your choice..."

Pretty much.

From Truthdig:

Posted by: ben | Nov 26 2014 3:03 utc | 23

I like to think that Hagel resigned because he was finally pushed too far.

Obama: Chuck, Moshe Ya'alon is visiting Washington and nobody wants to be seen with that slimeball. So I'm going to make you do it. With a smile. Heck, I even want you to hug him for the cameras.

Hagel: Grrrrrrrrr.

Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 26 2014 3:38 utc | 24

@ben #22:

That's not truthdig. It's Washington Post. And it's sophomoric.

Posted by: Demian | Nov 26 2014 3:47 utc | 25

@23 I think the empire is bloated and lacks sufficient domestic support to cover all the bases, and the result is the rats are turning on each other. The Village can no longer afford to pay homage to every imperialist pet project, and they are sort of recognizing the crowds out and about tonight are much bigger than their email petitions supporting intervention in Syria. Obama's inner circle is done in a Clinton Administration and will have no future careers in politics if they don't rebrand Obama. Hagel as a Republican offers no real political support given the electorate, and the only way to rebrand Obama is to blame Hagel for mysterious and contradictory reasons such as having cut him out almost 2 years ago and then complaining that there is no strategy from Hagel. No one except hard core neocons won't trace ISIS to the U.S. or at least our allies through long term blowback from Iraq and the subsequent lack of prosecutions and arming the opposition "forces." Every Obama henchman will at minimum will be asked about quality control.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Nov 26 2014 3:57 utc | 26

to b --

If I may, I thought the most interesting bit in the WaPo article came at the end -- direct lines from the White House to field commanders. Not the chain of command, not a good thing. Gates it says made them take 'em out, but they're back.

Posted by: rufus magister | Nov 26 2014 5:11 utc | 27

Flournoy smelled something rotten ...

Flournoy drops out as Hagel successor

Flournoy “doesn’t want to be a doormat, and I think they want a doormat,” said one former Defense Department official who worked there during Flournoy’s tenure. “I do not think they’re looking for someone more aggressive and independent.”

Flournoy, who’s advocated for increased defense spending and a stronger U.S. role in the world, is also considered a top contender to be defense secretary in the next administration if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2016, especially if it’s Hillary Clinton.

“I think she will calculate that she has a pretty good chance if Hillary Clinton wins,” the former official said.

Posted by: b | Nov 26 2014 6:17 utc | 28

Holder bailed before Ferguson and Hagel's bailed before WW III. Obama is poison, It'll take a very big pot of gold on the other side of the revolving door to fill their positions. No problem, of course ...

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 26 2014 7:22 utc | 29

Yesterday U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice fired Defense Secretary Hagel.

Well, technically, only the president can fire a SecDef.

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Nov 26 2014 8:06 utc | 30

Chip Nihk @ # 11 Ahhh . . . Be on the lookout for low Flying, Monocled Giraffes ( ͝° ͜ʖ͡°)

Posted by: kiwicris | Nov 26 2014 8:18 utc | 31


I guess Flournoy smells the Democrats are going to lose the next presidential election.

Posted by: Willy2 | Nov 26 2014 20:42 utc | 32

Obama doesn't seem to have a clear cut foreign policy.

Article written by Robert Parry.

Posted by: Willy2 | Nov 26 2014 20:56 utc | 33

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