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December 20, 2015 7:24 am

Hagel Slams Obama’s Strategy on Syria, Says White House Stabbed Him in the Back

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President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel place their hands over their hearts as the National Anthem is played in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2013. DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of former Defense Chuck Hagel place their hands over their hearts as the National Anthem is played in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2013. DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett.

FP – Jet-lagged from a long overseas trip, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had just sat down with his wife for a quiet dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant in northern Virginia when his phone rang. It was the White House on the line. President Barack Obama wanted to speak with him.

It was Aug. 30, 2013, and the US military was poised for war. Obama had publicly warned Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad that his regime would face consequences if it crossed a “red line” by employing chemical weapons against its own people. Assad did it anyway, and Hagel had spent the day approving final plans for a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against Damascus. US naval destroyers were in the Mediterranean, awaiting orders to fire.

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