Chuck Hagel’s Resignation Coincides with a Casual Escalation of the War in Afghanistan
Friday is a good day to dump news. Astute observers of politics know that. Another good time period to exploit for political purposes is the week before Thanksgiving, which is precisely what the Obama regime has done. The grand jury in Ferguson may also be trying to dump their non-indictment of Darren Wilson. If that happens, then news today of Chuck Hagel’s resignation will get the kind of non-coverage our war-mongering-Nobel-peace-prize-winning president was probably hoping for.
Oh, and that Afghanistan war? The one that’s been going on for a really long time and supposedly winding down next year? Yeah, apparently not, as reported Saturday. The Nation is all over this coincidental about face in foreign policy and the Hagel resignation:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s surprise resignation—reportedly at the strong urging of the White House—will dominate Beltway news in the coming days. But perhaps the much more significant foreign-policy news came early Saturday morning.
The New York Times reported that the United States will expand its mission in Afghanistan in 2015, with US troops participating in direct combat with the Taliban while American airpower backs Afghan forces from above. The shift, leaked anonymously to reporters ahead of a holiday week, is a big “oh, nevermind” to Obama’s very public announcement six months ago in the Rose Garden that US troops in Afghanistan would be shifting into a training and advisory role next year.
The president didn’t even make a glancing reference to the Afghanistan reversal in his remarks announcing Hagel’s departure. The administration would clearly prefer a limited public debate, and based on the media coverage so far, it is getting its wish.
But it is against this new hawkish posture that Hagel’s departure should be understood and discussed. It is possible that it was the subtext to his resignation: Hagel came aboard to help manage a withdrawal from Afghanistan and shrink the Pentagon budget, and an anonymous US official told the Times Monday that “the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus.”
I sometimes wonder what a military coup in America would look like, or at least a broad insurrection from within the ranks led by some rogue high-ranking officer.
What are the objectives of Obama’s new military escalation in Afghanistan? Why strategically disclose this dramatic shift the week before Thanksgiving? Why should American soldiers continue killing and dying half a world away? Is there any appetite within Congress to make this an issue? This seems to be a tailor made opportunity for some Rand Paul grandstanding.
The season of feast and spending is not the time for worrying about such things.