Tag Archives: Defense Secretary

Former Defense Secretary: Obama’s Goal to Destroy ISIS is Unrealistic

On Sunday, former United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that he finds President Obama’s current resolve to completely destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), both “unrealistic” and “unattainable,” and that instead of being pre-occupied with “today’s crisis,” the United States should be looking at its long-term strategy in the Middle East.

Gates, who served as the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, discussed his thoughts on the United States’ involvement with ISIS on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

Gates said that while he thinks the U.S. has “made some successful steps to contain” the radical Islamic group, he also acknowledges that ISIS has “reached the natural limits of where they would have sympathetic people,” specifically in northern and western Iraq.

I think the President has set an ambitious, and under current circumstances, unrealistic goal, when he talks about our intent being to destroy ISIS,” said Gates. “With the means that he has approved so far, I think that’s an unattainable objective.”

Gates went on to say that the United States has set “unrealistic goals” for itself when setting out to destroy radical groups like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS. “I mean we’ve been at Al-Qaeda with all of the resources of the American military and intelligence community for 14 years now and we haven’t destroyed it,” Gates said.

In his opinion, Gates said that rather than working to completely destroy ISIS, the U.S. should be working to “deny them the ability to hang on to territory,” due to the fact that territory “gives them a base from which potentially to plot against us and against Western Europe.”

“I think you need to take a step back and realize the complexity and historical magnitude of the challenge we’re facing,” said Gates. “First of all, we have four conflicts going on simultaneously in the Middle East: The Sunni vs. Shia, authoritarians vs. reformers, Islamists vs. secularists, and then the question of whether artificially created countries like Syria, Libya, and Iraq can hold together absent repression.”

Gates noted that in addition to the current generational conflict, the Middle East is also experiencing the “beginnings of what appears to be the falling apart of the entire state system in the Middle East,” due to the fact that in half a dozen countries, “the central government does not control the country.”

Military is clearly one tool, but it is by far not the only one,” said Gates. “There are huge problems that are going on and frankly, I think we are so pre-occupied with dealing with today’s crisis we haven’t stepped back and figured out, ‘What kind of a long term strategy do we have and what are the tools we can use?‘”

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.”