2014 Man of the Year: Secretaries of Defense

• January 1, 2015 10:00 am


Some of the most forceful criticism of President Obama’s foreign policy in 2014 has come from his former Secretaries of Defense: Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, and the (outgoing) Chuck Hagel. While their moments of clarity may have come too late, their belated honesty should still be commended. And their willingness to publicly challenge the White House’s disastrous foreign policy distinguishes them as Men of the Year.

First there was Gates’ tell-all in January, which attributed the failures in Afghanistan to Obama’s lack of support for his own mission.

Then there was Panetta’s memoir in October, which blamed Obama’s bungled "red-lines" policy in Syria for boosting Assad, demolishing America’s credibility abroad, and aiding the rise of ISIS.

In November, both former defense secretaries teamed up to blast Obama for pulling out of Iraq too soon.

And of course there was Chuck Hagel, who overcame fierce opposition from the powerful Armenian lobby to become Obama’s third Secretary of Defense in 2013.

Hagel’s comments about the enormity of the ISIS threat put him at odds with the White House over the summer, and he was pushed out the door last month.

We congratulate Tamir Pardo for his impeccable long-game, and wish Hagel the best in his future endeavors.