Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

A farewell to Chucky

  Why fire Chuck Hagel? Because you can. He was never a good fit as defense secretary, a fact that White House officials have belatedly discovered. But if those White House aides really want to know who to blame for recent stumbles in national security, they should look in the mirror. This administration’s problems begin ...

 

Why fire Chuck Hagel? Because you can. He was never a good fit as defense secretary, a fact that White House officials have belatedly discovered.

But if those White House aides really want to know who to blame for recent stumbles in national security, they should look in the mirror. This administration’s problems begin with its packing the White House staff with Hill rats and political hacks-one of the least intellectually diverse groups ever to lead the executive branch. They think the problem is what they say, not what they do. They are wrong. 

Meantime, there is going also to be a new head of the House Armed Services Committee. This doesn’t matter. Congress has failed to ask serious questions about defense for the last 15 years or so. So reporters writing about the two Armed Services committees, please feel free to use your time more wisely. Here is a link for that.

In other irrelevant military news, a New Hampshire National Guard lieutenant colonel went down on a charge of having sex with minors in San Antonio. He said it was for an Army War College paper. This is an interesting defense.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1