Policy: National Security

Gen. McChrystal: Chuck Hagel is qualified to be Secretary of Defense

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Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who resigned after a Rolling Stone magazine profile that quoted the general and his advisers criticizing President Obama, said that Chuck Hagel is qualified to serve as Secretary of Defense provided that Obame trusts him.

“If President Obama trusts him, I think Senator Hagel has the experience — he certainly has the quality as a person,” McChrystal, author of the memoir My Share of the Task, said on NBC. “The real matter is whether the president has that level of trust.”

Obama is expected to announce Hagel’s nomination later today. NBC’s Matt Lauer asked if Hagel’s comments about “the Israel lobby” or his criticism of the war in Iraq disqualified him from the job.

“I don’t think so,” McChrystal replied. “I think what you’re going to find is — you have to predict the future. They’re going to face many complex problems, many of which we can’t predict, and I think that level of trust and [the] relationship between those people and with other members of the cabinet are the most important.”

McChrystal said that he had hoped Obama would not accept his resignation after the Rolling Stone piece came out. “I wanted to stay on the job, but I wanted to do what was best for the mission,” he said. And I felt that whatever the president felt was best for the mission was what I needed to do, so I was happy to go with whatever decision “he made.”

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