The New York Times reports that one of the reasons the administration is supposedly offering for firing Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is the Pentagon’s slow response to the Ebola crisis. There can be no clearer sign that Hagel is being fired for reasons unrelated to his (obvious) incompetence. After all, Dr. Thomas Frieden, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), still has a job after his glaring Ebola failures.
The most likely reason for Hagel’s firing is that he “went rogue” on ISIS, stating in August that it posed an even greater threat than Al Qaeda and that the U.S. needed to prepare. No doubt he was reflecting views within the Pentago that have pushed for a more ambitious response–including ground troops–to stop ISIS’s advance.
Beyond that, Hagel had outlived his usefulness as a Republican fig leaf to cover for the administration’s massive defense cuts. Once those reductions were announced earlier this year, and encountered little resistance except from a few beleaguered Republican hawks, Hagel’s job was essentially done. When he somehow decided that he had actually been appointed to craft defense policy, and that the president might want to hear his opinion about the ISIS threat, that was probably a bridge too far. He will be replaced by someone more qualified–and pliable.
Yet the administration will have to cover for itself–and for this calamitously-timed decision, made on the very day that nuclear talks with Iran have been extended for seven months. So it is reaching for excuses, such as the Ebola crisis–which was only recently defined as a national security problem.
The question is: why stop there? If Chuck Hagel is responsible for the Ebola crisis, maybe he can also be blamed for the failure of healthcare.gov.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak