Chuck Hagel tries to clean up Obama’s comments about making ISIS ‘manageable’

posted at 5:41 pm on September 3, 2014 by Noah Rothman

We are getting to the stage where the members of this administration spend more time staking out rhetorical positions on the Islamic State and cleaning up each other’s misstatements than they do actually addressing the ISIS threat. It’s almost as if there is no coherent policy.

During a live interview with CNN reporter Jim Sciutto, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was asked to respond to President Barack Obama’s comments on Wednesday morning. Speaking in Estonia, Obama delivered a statement in which he asserted that the United States’ objective is to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. While taking questions from the press, however, Obama said that America could only hope to “shrink” ISIS down to a point at which they become a “manageable problem.”

Hagel suggested that America should focus on Obama’s prepared remarks and ignore the president’s extemporaneous musings on America’s objectives and capabilities.

Obama was “pretty clear,” Hagel insisted. America’s goal is to “degrade and destroy the capability of ISIL to come after U.S. interests all over the world and our allies.”

“However way he addressed that later in the news conference, I wasn’t aware of that,” the secretary added, if you can believe it.

“That’s the end game? Degrade and destroy, not contain?” Sciutto asked.

“No, it’s not contain,” Hagel replied. “It’s exactly what the president said: ‘Degrade and destroy.’”

But that’s not “exactly what the president said.” Reading the statements coming out of this White House has become a form of Kremlinology. Americans are instructed after the fact to ignore some of administration officials’ statements and take others as gospel.

At the closing of this event, Hagel was asked if he could pledge to the American people that the group responsible for what the administration considers a “terrorist attack” on the United States will be destroyed. “We will do everything possible that we can do to destroy their capacity to inflict harm on our people and Western values and our interests,” Hagel replied.

This lawyerly equivocation was hardly inspiring, but the secretary only has so much leeway to make policy for this administration. It was his statements, and those of the Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey two weeks ago, which prompted Obama to say the U.S. doesn’t “have a strategy yet” to take on ISIS in Syria. The Defense Secretary can only be as clear as is his boss, and there is no clarity coming from the man at the top.


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Boy, when you have to resort to one of the dumbest men in DC to clean up your messes, you have a mess beyond management.

Resist We Much on September 3, 2014 at 5:46 PM

This is not going to end well.

Oil Can on September 3, 2014 at 5:47 PM

When you have to have Chuck Hagel clean up after you, you’re doing it wrong.

Bitter Clinger on September 3, 2014 at 5:48 PM

It’s almost as if there is no coherent policy.

Almost? That is pretty generous of you. Obama said he didn’t have a strategy so why would he have a coherent policy? Now watch this swing!

/facepalm

tkc882 on September 3, 2014 at 5:51 PM

RINO cleaning up the mess of a Marxist democrat. Nothing new here.

bgibbs1000 on September 3, 2014 at 5:51 PM

man we’re in such steady hands aren’t we? good lord

DanMan on September 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Who is going to clean up this mess? The next President? The next Senate? The next House? Or does it just continue on as a mess?

Bmore on September 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

IS is manageable and with the right strategy IS will be relegated to history. BUT unfortunately the US government has had an uncanny ability, for decades, to F@ck things up and make things worst. So I will be holding my fingers.

coolrepublica on September 3, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Smartest man in the room………………………………………………Chuck Hagel?

d1carter on September 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

And please! One of you leftist trolls clear up these two comments from 0 for me. I just can’t square the two.

“we don’t have a strategy yet”

“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

What does this mean?

Bmore on September 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

This pack of morons is going to get us all killed. Jesus wept!

Naturally Curly on September 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Secretary of custodial services

Sven on September 3, 2014 at 5:56 PM

IS is manageable and with the right strategy IS will be relegated to history. BUT unfortunately the US government has had an uncanny ability, for decades, to F@ck things up and make things worst. So I will be holding my fingers.

coolrepublica on September 3, 2014 at 5:53 PM

You’re right. After all, we’ve done such a great job managing Islamism since 1979!

Resist We Much on September 3, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Paris Hilton is more careful picking boyfriends than Obama is picking national security policies.

RBMN on September 3, 2014 at 5:57 PM

and there is no clarity coming from the man at the top.

Leave Reggie Love out of this, he is not there for clarity .

burrata on September 3, 2014 at 5:57 PM

How does one manage savages that behead people on camera with a skinning knife?

d1carter on September 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Being There is on TCM at 8pm EST. We would actually be better off with Chauncy Gardener at the helm. At least he loved America.

Naturally Curly on September 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM

IS is manageable and with the right strategy IS will be relegated to history.

foolrepublica on September 3, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Notice, Class, how the O’bama Cultist, like her Dear Leader, is deathly afraid of calling ISIS “ISIS”…why is that, Girl?

And exactly what is the “right” strategy to get rid of ISIS? Everyone but yourself and your fellow O’bama Cultists know it will never take place on his watch…

Del Dolemonte on September 3, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Boy, when you have to resort to one of the dumbest men in DC to clean up your messes, you have a mess beyond management.

Resist We Much on September 3, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Damn – I thought I would be clever and post this exact same thing.

YOU ARE GOOD – I completely agree – big smile on my face

jake-the-goose on September 3, 2014 at 5:59 PM

“That’s the end game? Degrade and destroy, not contain?” Sciutto asked.

“No, it’s not contain,” Hagel replied. “It’s exactly what the president said: ‘Degrade and destroy.’”

Hagel + Obama’s position on ‘containment’ = trainwreck

Hagel mistakenly supports Iran policy of ‘containment’ at confirmation hearing

Resist We Much on September 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM

IS is manageable and with the right strategy IS will be relegated to history.

foolrepublica on September 3, 2014 at 5:53 PM

You manage a diarrhea.
You kill a jihady, whenever and wherever you find it.

burrata on September 3, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Boy, when you have to resort to one of the dumbest men in DC to clean up your messes, you have a mess beyond management.

Resist We Much on September 3, 2014 at 5:46 PM

When you have to have Chuck Hagel clean up after you, you’re doing it wrong.

Bitter Clinger on September 3, 2014 at 5:48 PM

I thought to myself “this should be entertaining” when I read the headline. And Chuck’s comments were every bit as good as I imagined they would be.

JusDreamin on September 3, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Good lapdog chuck

cmsinaz on September 3, 2014 at 6:05 PM

They are tripping over each other as they try to get their act together.

pc253 on September 3, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Poll: While Obama’s Dithers, Americans Want War With ISIS By 4-To-1 Margin…

As he waffles on U.S. policy toward terrorists in Syria dubbed ISIS, President Obama is being handed rare American support for a military attack against the terrorists, according to a new poll.

In its latest survey, YouGov.com finds that the nation has done a 180 in just a year, and now supports military action by nearly four to one.

Some 63 percent of Americans back a Pentagon strike against the terrorists to 16 percent who don’t. A year ago, those numbers were reversed when Americans were asked about striking Syrian troops commanded by President Bashar Assad, with 60 percent opposing military action and 20 percent supporting it.

Keep reading…

Resist We Much on September 3, 2014 at 6:05 PM

I will be holding my fingers.

coolrepublica on September 3, 2014 at 5:53 PM

And crossing your breath?

Syzygy on September 3, 2014 at 6:05 PM

“That’s the end game? Degrade and destroy, not contain?” Sciutto asked.

“No, it’s not contain,” Hagel replied. “It’s exactly what the president said: ‘Degrade and destroy.’”

Hagel + Obama’s position on ‘containment’ = trainwreck

Hagel mistakenly supports Iran policy of ‘containment’ at confirmation hearing

Resist We Much on September 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Hageel would have been better off just saying “whatever he said”.

Bitter Clinger on September 3, 2014 at 6:06 PM

What a putz.

Aizen on September 3, 2014 at 6:07 PM

It’s almost as if there is no coherent policy.

ISIL has beheaded two American journalists before video cameras and published the beheadings on Youtube with warnings of more to come if Obama doen’t leave them alone.
It’s “almost as if” they are not sensitive to public opinion…

jbspry on September 3, 2014 at 6:08 PM

The Community Organizer shows his incredible intellectual skills again.

Obama makes Hagel seem kind of like a Super Genius by comparison, which doesn’t make me feel comfortable at all.

s1im on September 3, 2014 at 6:08 PM

They are tripping over each other as they try to get their act together.

pc253 on September 3, 2014 at 6:05 PM

It’s like watching two walruses dance.

Bitter Clinger on September 3, 2014 at 6:09 PM

I think I’ll go watch The Five now. I’m sure Bob Beckel can clear all this up.

Syzygy on September 3, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Oh great, now we’ve got a “manager-in-chief”. Could you’ve just heard the laughter if Churchill had told the House of Commons that all these rockets coming from Hitler’s Germany…..were manageable?

Rovin on September 3, 2014 at 6:10 PM

And he wasn’t that good of a community organizer…

d1carter on September 3, 2014 at 6:14 PM

shrink ISIS

Dr. Obama has ISIS confused with a hemorrhoid

faraway on September 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Being There is on TCM at 8pm EST. We would actually be better off with Chauncy Gardener at the helm. At least he loved America.

Naturally Curly on September 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM

“Being There” is frequently called the “best movie you’ve never seen.” Melvyn Douglas won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Peter Sellers should have won Best Actor, but was beaten out by Dustin Hoffman in “Kramer vs Kramer. One of my top five movies of all time.

You are correct in that “Chauncey Gardiner” would be a far better C-in-C than the one we have.

GAlpha10 on September 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

“We will do everything possible that we can do to destroy their capacity to inflict harm on our people and Western values and our interests,” Hagel replied.

We will cut off their twitter and youtube accounts and take away their cell phones, we will track them if they log on to see nude selfies of celebrities and inform them that their debit cards will be cancelled . Yeah.

burrata on September 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

I will be holding my fingers.

coolrepublica on September 3, 2014 at 5:53 PM

naughty girl

faraway on September 3, 2014 at 6:20 PM

“Send in the Clown Drunk”

/Valerie The Iranian Jarrett.

Key West Reader on September 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Obama’s plan to destroy ISIS?

ISIS/ObamaCare provided by the IRS

J_Crater on September 3, 2014 at 6:23 PM

We will cut off their twitter and youtube accounts and take away their cell phones, we will track them if they log on to see nude selfies of celebrities and inform them that their debit cards will be cancelled . Yeah.

burrata on September 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

…and heavy fines for wearing a suicide vest.

RBMN on September 3, 2014 at 6:23 PM

A man who has never managed anything even as big as a lemonade stand, now wants to manage a terrorist organization from thousands of miles away – without sending troops.

faraway on September 3, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Like trying to clean up the dog kennel after the pack got done sharing some rotten fish parts they stole while you were cleaning the day’s catch, better just to hose it out with the power washer and admit you should have kept better track of the mutts.

Bishop on September 3, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Hopeys Managing is SCROTCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on September 3, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Lolz!

Bmore on September 3, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Keystone Cops
The 3 Stooges – Larry, Mo and Curley
Hogan’s Heroes – “I Know Nothing”

and the hits just keep on coming.

LOL Bishop :)

CoffeeLover on September 3, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Chuck Hagel tries to clean up Obama’s comments about making ISIS ‘manageable’

“I don’t mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made, that’s what I signed up to do,” Obama said. “But while I’m there mopping the floor I don’t want someone saying ‘You’re not mopping fast enough or you’re not holding the mop the right way.’ Grab a mop! Why don’t you help clean up?”

-2009

Electrongod on September 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM

If Haygaul wasn’t such a sycophant, he would resign out of shear frustration.

vnvet on September 3, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Why am I reminded of Charlie Sheen? Winning!

SailorMark on September 3, 2014 at 6:52 PM

Chuck Hagel tries to clean up Obama’s comments about making ISIS ‘manageable’

“I don’t mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made, that’s what I signed up to do,” Obama said. “But while I’m there mopping the floor I don’t want someone saying ‘You’re not mopping fast enough or you’re not holding the mop the right way.’ Grab a mop! Why don’t you help clean up?”

-2009

Electrongod on September 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM

That was probably his “shout out” to the Jay Vee Team @ ISIS. The “mess” he was “trying to clean up” was America, Herself.

Remove him from office.

Key West Reader on September 3, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Who is going to clean up this mess? The next President? The next Senate? The next House? Or does it just continue on as a mess?

Bmore on September 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

It continues on as a mess for at least 2-1/2 years — if we’re lucky. If we’re not lucky, it morphs from a mess to a disaster of epic proportions.

Elections have consequences. And electing a clueless and cowardly fool as President of the United States has very, very serious consequences.

AZCoyote on September 3, 2014 at 7:03 PM

It’s almost as if there is no coherent policy.

What do you mean “almost”, Noah?

The President himself said there is no strategy.

Obama might say “don’t behead our people, pretty please with sugar and a double mulligan on top”, but he will never “destroy” ISIS.

Because that would mean putting boots on the ground in Iraq, and admitting that pulling the troops out was a mistake, and that the war-mongering BushHitlerHalliburton was right. Egobama could never admit that publicly.

If a few reporters or a few thousand Christians in Iraq get slaughtered, what difference does it make? Egobama is never wrong. Just ask him.

Steve Z on September 3, 2014 at 7:04 PM

“I don’t mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made, that’s what I signed up to do,” Obama said. “But while I’m there mopping the floor I don’t want someone saying ‘You’re not mopping fast enough or you’re not holding the mop the right way.’ Grab a mop! Why don’t you help clean up?”

-2009

Electrongod on September 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM

So why don’t we send Obama to Mosul with a mop? He could dip it behind the dam and start seriously wetting some ISIS butt!

Steve Z on September 3, 2014 at 7:08 PM

It’s almost as if there is no coherent policy.

Noah, since you imply there is a coherent policy, care to articulate it?

socalcon on September 3, 2014 at 7:08 PM

That whore Hagel probably didn’t get King Barack’s latest memo.

GarandFan on September 3, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Smartest man in the room………………………Chuck Hagel?

d1carter on September 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

ooo, threw up a little in the back of my throat…

socalcon on September 3, 2014 at 7:12 PM

It’s almost as if there is no coherent policy.

Noah, since you imply there is a coherent policy, care to articulate it?

socalcon on September 3, 2014 at 7:08 PM

I’m quite sure he was being sarcastic. :)

Anti-ControI on September 3, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Chechen leader, Putin pal vows to crush ISIS after threat against Russia

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/03/report-credible-information-isis-aqap-planning-11-anniversary-attack-abroad/

This is getting exciting.

Walter L. Newton on September 3, 2014 at 7:21 PM

I believe what he meant was, that Washington is managing ISIS…Freudian slip?

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 3, 2014 at 7:38 PM

obama will do nothing. obama is a coward that will not be held responsible for anything other than pandering and placating. obama will not make a decision either way. obama will stand by and attempt to wait it out. If obama waits long enough, the media will lose interest and move on to the next squirrel. Just pray we can and do correct this ship after he is out of office. I will not use he/him because obama is not a man. I won’t use she/her because that would insult my daughter/wife/mother/sisters and every other woman on this planet.

JAGonzo on September 3, 2014 at 7:43 PM

“Obama might say “don’t behead our people, pretty please with sugar and a double mulligan on top”, but he will never “destroy” ISIS.”
Steve Z on September 3, 2014 at 7:04 PM
With no disrespect to Mr. Sotloff’s family…that didn’t work for his mom, Obama could beg on hands and knees and ISIS would just laugh at Obama and post another horrific video. Unless we as a country don’t throw everything we have to defeat this evil scourge we will not destroy ISIS.
So I totally agree Steve. Perhaps our first step in a definitive strategy would be to remove our stumbling stone named Obama.

Bakokitty on September 3, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 3, 2014 at 7:38 PM
Things that make you go hmmm?

Bakokitty on September 3, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Obama is a coward and greatly overestimates his own intelligence.
And he has filled his administration with people just like him.

frost_ on September 3, 2014 at 7:51 PM

Walter L. Newton on September 3, 2014 at 7:21 PM
ISIS, getting too big for their britches. Liked his wording that they will meet the flames of hell on the sands where they stood and sent their message. (Paraphrased) Somehow made me envision a hot nuke. Or perhaps Russia will kill every living thing in Chechyna, I wouldn’t be shocked,not a Bear I would poke.

Bakokitty on September 3, 2014 at 7:57 PM

How much worse can it get when we have to rely on Chuck Hagel to correct the POTUS?

slickwillie2001 on September 3, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Who is going to clean up this mess? The next President? The next Senate? The next House? Or does it just continue on as a mess?

Bmore on September 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

It continues on as a mess for at least 2-1/2 years — if we’re lucky. If we’re not lucky, it morphs from a mess to a disaster of epic proportions.

Elections have consequences. And electing a clueless and cowardly fool as President of the United States has very, very serious consequences.

AZCoyote on September 3, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Jiminy Carter turned Iran over to the nutball mullahs, and we are still dealing with that mess. Fundamental transformation man!

slickwillie2001 on September 3, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Chechen leader, Putin pal vows to crush ISIS after threat against Russia

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/03/report-credible-information-isis-aqap-planning-11-anniversary-attack-abroad/

This is getting exciting.

Walter L. Newton on September 3, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Holy cow.

/And, I don’t mean Michelle

Key West Reader on September 3, 2014 at 8:44 PM

obama will do nothing. obama is a coward that will not be held responsible for anything other than pandering and placating. obama will not make a decision either way. obama will stand by and attempt to wait it out. If obama waits long enough, the media will lose interest and move on to the next squirrel. Just pray we can and do correct this ship after he is out of office. I will not use he/him because obama is not a man. I won’t use she/her because that would insult my daughter/wife/mother/sisters and every other woman on this planet.

JAGonzo on September 3, 2014 at 7:43 PM

He. Is. One. Of. Them.

Key West Reader on September 3, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Holy cow.

/And, I don’t mean Michelle

Key West Reader on September 3, 2014 at 8:44 PM

If you had said “Unholy cow,” I’d say only then that a clarification might have been warranted. :)

Anti-ControI on September 3, 2014 at 8:48 PM

ISIL has beheaded two American journalists before video cameras and published the beheadings on Youtube with warnings of more to come if Obama doen’t leave them alone.
It’s “almost as if” they are not sensitive to public opinion…

jbspry on September 3, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Have you noticed that the Youtube videos have not caused rioting and rampages in American streets and in Muslim neighborhoods? Funny how those Youtube videos affect “folks.”

onlineanalyst on September 3, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Old Blue Eyes said it best…

“Send In The Clowns”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7u6d54jI4k

Pelosi Schmelosi on September 4, 2014 at 1:30 AM

Good morning, I know this has be asked but….. How deep a hole have you dug if Chuck Hagel is your clean up guy?

Cindy Munford on September 4, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Somebody please show me just one bright spot in the Obama administration. Has there ever been such a collection of incompetents?

StevC on September 4, 2014 at 12:59 PM