Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fall Guy

I have vowed to quit this blogging stuff over and over, since few are reading and nothing ever changes.  But somehow the events of the day always seem to force another post, so here we go.

Soon-to-be former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was recently quizzed by CNN's Barbara Starr about his role in releasing GITMO terrorists, er, armed insurgents, and whether he was being pressured by the White House in doing so.  Pay close attention to what he says about certification of release of detainees:

Now, watch White House press sec Josh Earnest answer a question about the GITMO release of the Taliban Five, making a point to name Hagel as the guy who signed off on the Taliban 5 releases...

It doesn't take George Will to figure out what's going on here. The White House, for political reasons, needs to close GITMO. They really don't care who they release in getting there other than the top few thugs like KSM (who they want transferred to US for trial) because after all, America has a big military-intelligence apparatus and can handle any blow-back.  But in doing so they likely don't want to expose any trusted Democratic ally to the liability of signing off on the releases in case one of them ends up participating in a future attack.  Looks bad for the brand. 

So they make a big to-do of announcing a 'bi-partisan' pick for Secretary of Defense, Republican Chuck Hagel.  His pick came with several juicy side benefits as well--he was the guy who generally hated Bush, thought the Iraq war was dumb and later had a dust-up with McCain and other fellow GOP Senators. He was also a distinguished veteran who could shame any GOP chickenhawk.

That's the kind of person they wanted signing off on the GITMO release forms (and overseeing military budget cuts and retreats), not Dem loyalists like Leon Panetta.  Maybe Hagel didn't realize this when he came in the door, maybe it took awhile, maybe he did but in the process of serving with these guys changed his mind.  But he clearly knows it now and seems to be upset about it to the point of making it known to the press.

One could easily blame his confession on CYA politics or perhaps a tell-all book in the offing, but it may be something more. His general message is that the administration is trying to release terrorists too fast without enough concern about their future threat, and he didn't feel comfortable doing that. One has to wonder whether the same kind of mentality entered into the apparent decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to clandestinely send an emissary to negotiate with Gaddafy's moderate Muslim son Saif back when Obama was trying to save Benghazi?

If so, it begs the question as to whether some high level military folks in this country are questioning the foreign policy decisions of this administration to the point of them being dangerous, feeling the need to push the envelope by sidestepping the chain of command, which is unheard of and certainly a huge story should the MSM ever notice.  Yes, some of it right now could be Hillary 2016! politics, but it wasn't back then outside the possibility Hillary herself was trying to appear tough for her upcoming run, which was perhaps part of the concern.  

Add to that the story today about Rand Paul relaying details of a meeting in 2013 where the president told GOP leaders about Hillary being handed Libya, which suggests Obama was somewhat disengaged to the point of being deceived by Hillary about the threat to Benghazi resulting in an illegal war based on 'imminent threat'.  Even now we see that politics so rules this administration that they've gone into denial on whether the Taliban is a terrorist entity or not, calling them an "armed insurgency" in displays of pretzel logic like this...

All to pave the way for some kind of delusional 'end of conflict' (the reason they traded Bergdahl) so they can make peace with the Taliban, blame Bush, and move on to social justice and income redistribution before it's too late.  

To be sure, this isn't the first time a WH has fought with outside forces on controlling the narrative. They want it focused on whatever domestic thingy Obama is pushing at any given time. Right now it's 'the middle class' (odd, since he wasn't focusing on that before the mid-term elections), or generally ANYTHING but foreign policy and terrorism.  But too much denial of national security threats in the same of domestic politics can be dangerous, as many at the highest levels well know.

No comments: