Hagel is right. Obama insists that in order to defeat the Islamic State, the U.S. and its allies have to take out Assad. This is because he insists that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam — if that is the case, then what is it? Simply an anti-Assad resistance movement. This ignores, of course, all of the Islamic State’s stated goals that go far beyond removing Assad.
“Chuck Hagel on Fighting Islamic State: ‘There Is No Military Solution,’” by David Rutz, Daily Caller, November 22, 2015:
…“Second, I always felt that we needed to more clearly define our political strategy, along with our military strategy, because it’s my opinion, it certainly was the opinion of the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marty Dempsey, he can speak for himself, but it was our opinion that there is no military solution to this. We are up against an ideology. We are up against a reality of dynamics, a set of dynamics we’ve never seen before. Sophistication of social media, the military prowess, the tactical, strategic prowess that ISIS possesses, the funding. So we should more clearly define what is our political strategy. What are our priorities? Who is the enemy here? Is Assad the enemy or is ISIS the enemy?”
“Do you think that we should not have Assad as our designated enemy right now? We should focus on ISIS?” Tapper asked.
“Well, Assad is a very bad guy,” Hagel said. “There are bad guys all over the world, but I think it’s pretty clear that ISIS represents the real threat to our country, to the world. I said so 15 months ago in a press conference when I was asked about ISIS … Assad has to be dealt with, but you can’t confuse your allies and your adversaries by saying Assad must go.”…