Ex-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed in an extensive interview published Friday that he had approved plans to strike Damascus with Tomahawk cruise missiles after Syria’s Bashar al-Assad crossed the “red line” by using chemical weapons – but President Obama told him to stand down.
The interview with Foreign Policy comes nearly a year after his acrimonious exit from the Obama administration. Still smarting from the circumstances of his departure, Hagel told Foreign Policy that the White House tried to “destroy” him even after he resigned.
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The former Pentagon chief said that decision in 2013 dealt a big blow to US credibility.
“Whether it was the right decision or not, history will determine that,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred.”
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Meanwhile, Hagel fumed over how “certain people” were “vilifying me in a gutless, off-the-record kind of way” as he left the administration.
This was a reference to White House officials criticizing him anonymously to news outlets, including saying he didn’t speak up at key meetings.
“They already had my resignation, so what was the point of just continuing to try to destroy me?” he told Foreign Policy.
Hagel: White House tried to destroy me after I resigned
By Fox News
New York Post
December 18, 2015 | 4:04pm