The Obama administration is currently in the midst of finding a new secretary of defense to replace outgoing Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel — but longtime lawmaker Ron Paul says it’s a task easier said than done.
On Monday, the former Republican congressman for Texas said “it seems nobody wants to be secretary of defense” in an administration that will soon install its fourth person to that position in only six years.
In a message posted to a telephone hotline on Monday, Paul reminded listeners that President Obama’s first two defense secretaries — Robert Gates and Leon Panetta — spoke harshly about the White House not soon after relinquishing their roles. Now upon reports that Sec. Hagel was driven to offer his resignation over conflicts of his own with the White House, the former congressman says the search for a replacement has predictably proved to be problematic.
“Shortly after Chuck Hagel’s ouster, the media reported that the president favored Michelle Flournoy to replace him. She would have been the first female defense secretary, but more tellingly she would come to the position from a think tank almost entirely funded by the military industrial complex,” Paul, 79, said in Monday’s message.
Indeed, Flournoy founded the Center for a New American Security in 2007 which, according to Paul, “is the flagship of the neocon wing of the Democratic Party” and “has argued against US troops ever leaving Iraq and has endorsed the Bush administration’s doctrine of preventative warfare.”
As the three-time presidential hopeful acknowledges, however, Flournoy quickly turned down the gig of replacing Hagel before reports even fully materialized.
“So President Obama cannot keep defense secretaries on the job and his top Pentagon pick is not interested in serving the last stretch of a lame duck administration. There is bickering and fighting within the administration about who should be running the latest US wars in the Middle East and elsewhere,”said Paul.
“Here is one thing none of them are fighting about: the US 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. There is no real foreign policy debate in Washington. 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.”
Hagel, 68, said last Monday that he’d be resigning as secretary of defense less than two years after he assumed that position, replacing Panetta. Obama accepted his resignation that day and hailed Hagel for “providing a steady hand as we modernize our strategy and budget to meet long-term threats while still responding to immediate challenges like ISIL and Ebola.”
But insiders within the Obama administration say the outgoing Pentagon chief was driven to resign after clashing with the White House over alleged “micromanagement” issues. Hagel has agreed to stay in his current role until the White House can settle on a replacement.