Tag Archives: Chuck Hagel

Hagel Doubts State Dept Claim of 6,000 ISIS Killed

Kerry: ISIS Momentum ‘Halted or Reversed’

by Jason Ditz, January 22, 2015

The State Department’s key talking point on the ISIS war today is that everything is going swimmingly. Secretary of State John Kerry declared ISIS’s momentum “decisively halted” while other officials bragged of 6,000 ISIS fighters, and half of the ISIS leadership, killed in their air war.

The State Department was claiming the death toll was based on a private tally kept by Centcom, though Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressed serious doubt about the figure.

“We do know that thousands of ISIS fighters have been killed, and we do know that some of ISIS’s leadership have been killed,” Hagel said, saying he hadn’t seen any verification of exact numbers on either.

Hagel also insisted that numbers of people killed was not “the measurement” by which the war should be judged, noting that in the Vietnam War there were big body counts every day.

Ron Paul: Nobody Wants to be Secretary of Defense in the Obama Administration

Last week, United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced his resignation, which will become effective as soon as a replacement is found.

As previously reported, Hagel was asked to step down by officials within the Obama administration “after he made comments in August that contradicted the President’s messaging” on the current conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Huffington Post reported that the “job conditions” for President Obama’s next defense secretary “have already spurred some top contenders to bow out, leaving the White House with a slim list of candidates.

On Monday, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul released an edition of his Texas Straight Talk, in which he discussed the current situation of the search for Obama’s fourth Secretary of Defense.

Paul said that although Hagel was forced out of office after complaining that the Obama administration had “no coherent policy toward Syria,” he had a point, due to the fact that while the administration is “claiming recent U.S. bombing in Syria is designed to degrade and destroy ISIS,” many members “continue pushing for ‘regime change’ against Syrian president Assad – who is also fighting ISIS.

Paul pointed out that due to complaints from former Defense Secretaries about the president’s National Security Council staff micro-managing the Pentagon, it appeared no one wanted to take on the job.

It seems nobody wants to be Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration,” said Paul. “The president’s first two Defense Secretaries, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, both complained bitterly this month about their time in the administration.”

Paul explained that Gates had recently revealed that during his time as Defense Secretary, the White House “established a line of communication to the Joint Special Operations Command to discuss matters of strategy and tactics, cutting the Defense Secretary out of the loop.”

One of the first reports on Obama’s preference for a fourth Defense Secretary was Michelle Flournoy. Paul pointed out that although this would have been significant, because she would have become the “first female Defense Secretary,” she also would have “come to the position from a think tank almost entirely funded by the military industrial complex.”

However, Paul said that Flournoy “turned down Obama before she was even asked,” due to the fact that she is said to be “waiting for a Hillary Clinton presidency, where her militarism may be even more appreciated.

With the next Senate to be led by neocons like John McCain, a Hillary Clinton presidency would find little resistance to a more militaristic foreign policy,” Paul said.

Paul noted that although there is a lot of bickering in the Obama administration about “who should be running the latest U.S. wars in the Middle East and elsewhere,” there is no fighting about the current “U.S. policy of global intervention.

All sides agree that the US needs to expand its war in the Middle East, that the US must continue to provoke Russia via Ukraine, and that regime change operations must continue worldwide,” said Paul. “But the real national security crisis will come when their militarism finally cripples our economy and places us at the mercy of the rest of the world.”

Pressured by Obama Administration, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Quits

President Obama described Chuck Hagel as “a young Army sergeant from Vietnam who rose to serve as America’s 24th secretary of defense” at a press conference today announcing Hagel’s resignation. Hagel will continue to serve as Secretary of Defense until a replacement has been confirmed by the Senate. According to The New York Times, the former Republican Senator Hagel had been asked to step down from his post by officials within the Obama administration after he made comments in August that contradicted the President’s messaging on the conflict with ISIS.

MSNBC quoted an anonymous Obama administration official who said, “He wasn’t up to the job.” Another anonymous White House insider told The New York Times, “The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus.” Hagel reportedly struggled to make allies within Obama’s inner circle and failed to provide consistent, clear statements articulating the President’s national security agenda. Critics claimed that he was too passive in his leadership, quiet during staff meetings, and too quick to let General Martin E. Dempsey do most of the talking on behalf of the Pentagon.

At one point, Chuck Hagel called ISIS an “imminent threat to every interest we have… beyond anything that we’ve seen” at a time when the Obama administration was trying to downplay the threat, offending administration officials. According to PJ Media, Hagel spoke at the Reagan Library last week and suggested that America’s military capability is in decline under Obama’s leadership. “I am worried about it, I am concerned about it, Chairman Dempsey is, the chiefs are, every leader of this institution,” said Hagel, notably omitting President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden from the list of officials worried about the nation’s military prowess.

Slate notes that many reports suggest that Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter or former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy may be on the administration’s radar as a replacement for Hagel. Democrat Senator Jack Reed has also been mentioned as a possible replacement, but a spokesperson for his office told The New York Times, “Senator Reed loves his job and does not wish to be considered for secretary of defense or any other cabinet post.”

President Obama said that Hagel had not been fired and that the Secretary of Defense had himself opened talks two weeks ago in an effort to iron out a resignation that has been characterized by both sides as “mutual.”

“It’s been the greatest privilege of my life to serve with the men and women of the defense department and defend their families,” said Hagel as he announced his resignation.

ISIS intervention price-tag shocking many American taxpayers

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30, 2014 –  Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel presented reporters with a price-tag that is shocking many war-weary Americans. According to Hagel, roughly $7 million to $10 million per day has been spent on U.S. operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) since June 16, when American troops were first deployed to assess the Iraqi military and advise its commanders.

That number brings U.S. military efforts against the Islamic State to nearly a billion dollars thus far, with an expected $2.4 billion to $3.8 billion price tag for the year if air and ground operations continue as planned. These expected budget cost analysis were released Monday by the non-partisan think tank, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

The analysis also noted an even higher price tag for the fight against ISIS could be expected if an increase in air-strikes and ground troops occurs, with annual costs possibly reaching $13 billion or even $22 billion.

The report by the Center stated, “Future costs depend, to a great extent, on how long operations continue, the steady-state level of air operations, and whether additional ground forces are deployed beyond what is already planned”.

Since August 8, when the U.S. first launched its air strikes against the Islamic State, 290 air strikes have been carried out in Iraq and Syria, with the U.S conducting 265 of that number. Over 1600 U.S. troops are being deployed in Iraq and U.S. planes are flying an average of 60 attacks a day.

Taking these statistics into account, the analysis figured that the U.S. military’s efforts against the Islamic State would currently costs between $200 million and $320 million a month.

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Pentagon Officials Tell Senate: ISIS War Will Be Long and Difficult

Hagel, Dempsey Offer Few Details, No Guarantees

by Jason Ditz, September 16, 2014
Top Pentagon officials, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee today to brief them on the new war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The two offered very few details on the plans for the war, though Gen. Dempsey conceded that the US ground troops in the country as advisers could end up being used in combat operations, despite repeated insistence this had been ruled out.Dempsey presented the eventual attack on Mosul as one particular circumstance which could lead to the use of US ground troops in combat, saying they’d do “close combat advising,” while of course fighting themselves.

The one thing that was clear was that the war is going to be long, and both Dempsey and Hagel conceded that the current plans were unlikely to defeat ISIS in Syria. Hagel insisted that the current plans to train 5,000 Syrian rebels to fight ISIS would not be nearly enough to defeat ISIS.

In that regard, Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) was unusually the voice of reason, saying that the belief that the rebels would fight ISIS was a “fundamental misunderstanding” of their nature, and that their focus was on the Syrian government. The US-backed rebels have been allying with ISIS off and on, and recently signed a non-aggression pact.

Both of them tried to assure the Senate, though the news was decidedly not reassuring, that the strategy continues to be a work in progress and that regular adjustments would be made.