Gates’ Gutsy Farewell


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Gates tenure at the Pentagon was surely a frustrating one at times. He was named in November, 2006 to replace Donald Rumsfeld who had lost credibility on Capitol Hill with both Democrats and Republicans. President Bush had offered him the position of director of National Intelligence in 2005, but he declined, choosing to remain as president of Texas A&M University.

A former director of the CIA, Gates has now served 8 presidents in various defense and foreign policy jobs. He was nominated largely because of his proven management skills, as well as the probability of smooth sailing during his Senate confirmation hearing. He was confirmed 95-2 and took office in December, 2005

Almost immediately, Gates was caught up in the raging debate over whether to send tens of thousands of more troops to Iraq in order to quell the violence raging at that time. He received high marks from many in Congress for his advocacy of the surge which proved to be a success. He presided over the first troop withdrawals from Iraq in 2008.

His retention by the Obama administration as defense secretary was a tribute to his popularity in Congress and his ability to build consensus among the Pentagon’s military leadership. President Obama came to rely on his judgment, siding with him in the early days of his administration when the review of our involvement in Afghanistan split the White House between those who wanted to add thousands more troops and those who wanted to substantially reduce our presence there. Gates wanted more than the 30,000 troops the president eventually sent and cautioned against setting a deadline for withdrawal. But Gates had proven himself a team player in the Bush administration and he gave President Obama the same kind of support despite disagreeing with him.

While there have been some controversies during his tenure, including his firing of General McKiernan from command in Afghanistan in 2009 and scandalous conditions discovered at Walter Reed military hospital, the defense secretary has steered clear of major problems that might have distracted him from his duties.

Currently, Gates is warning against withdrawing our forces too quickly from Afghanistan. He told a soldier on his farewell to the troops in Afghanistan that “we’ve still got a ways to go and I just think we shouldn’t let up on the gas too much at least for the next few months.”

Gates supports the view that any reductions in troops this year should be minimal as we attempt to consolidate gains made in the field against the Taliban. But with the death of Osama bin Laden and the huge budget deficit being run by the government, pressure coming from both sides of the aisle might change that calculation. However, he believes that any cuts this year should be made up mostly of support personnel, telling reporters in Afghanistan that “I would try to maximize my combat capability as long as this process goes on — I think that’s a no-brainer.” It may be self-evident, but war weariness among the voters and a nervous Congress that sees expenditures in Afghanistan as a prime area for budget cutting might make Gates’ words moot.

The same could be said for cutting the defense budget. Gates has been charged by President Obama to trim another $400 billion in defense outlays over the next decade. This is on top of the $150 billion cut already. During a commencement address at Notre Dame University, Gates made it clear there was no substitute for the “hard power” supplied by the US military to deter aggressors and that our review of defense needs must keep in mind that “the size, strength, and global reach of the United States military,” must not be compromised.

This is one battle that Gates will not have to fight. His successor, current CIA chief Leon Panetta, is far more pliant and is not expected to put up the same kind of fight Gates might have over budget cuts. Gates was impressed with Panetta’s defense of agency personnel from Eric Holder’s attempts to target agents who participated in interrogations. But Panetta is far more partisan and liberal than Gates and can be expected to carry water for Democrats in 2012.

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  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Well I think most of us saw it coming years ago.NATO is like a piece of butter
    in the sun,the only thing it will leave is a stain and the bloodthirtsty Islamist
    will just step on it and take it all. A new world order is rising and no one will
    or is capable to stop them. I'm old Jew I will leave this forsaken place before
    they get to me but the youngsters they will be chained for a long long time in
    the claws of the Islamic beast. Iran is becoming an unstoppable nuclear power,
    and no one is lifting one finger,Russia and China are laughing their heads of
    because there is bounty to be taken.Turkey is going to chance their constitution
    soon so they can implement the sharia. After Ataturk changed the Ottomanian constitution his wife trew her headscarf into the bosporus river. But the wife of
    Erdogan wear's hers like a trophy. All over Europe there is a mass infiltration of Islamists.To name one country, Holland ( the Netherlands)!! no just the capital of Holland Amsterdam. More than 50% of its population concists primarely of
    Maroccan (Islamist) we have more active mosqeus than Churches. No it has been croocked a long time back,and it will get worser and worser.
    I wonder who will be the last to turn of the light in our Western civllisation.

    • Dispozadaburka

      Obama.
      He's here to bring in the Mahdi.
      As soon as he is re-elected he won't fund Israel.
      Then he can take over Jerusalem for the Muslim Brotherhood.
      He will be the leader for the New World.
      He has already made us a Muslim country by Muslim Prayer Day in Sept 2009.
      So if the shoe fits…

      Hope I'm wrong.

  • tanstaafl

    Does socialism sap the spirit of a country it is dominate in?

  • Mark

    Good riddance to Gates… the American Military is no place for social experimentation and Gates' support of the homosexual mafia in matters of the military is reprehensible. Good bye and good riddance!

  • Otto

    He waved the middle finger at "old Europe" and deservedly so.
    Unfortunately, they are too busy mollycoddling Mohammedans so they won't notice…

  • flyingtiger

    NATO has always been meant as a defensive force. It was organized to stop a Soviet invasion. In Iraq and Afganistan we gave NATO forces positions to defend. For the first time, NATO has an offensive mission in Lybia. Naturally they are unsure what to do.
    Gates is clueless about military matters. What is wrong with Germany and France being second rate military powers. Think of all the trouble they caused when they were powerful.
    Gates feels that his greatest achievement is allowing gays to serve, while the military is falling apart. He also created the climate of fear that prevented the Fort Hood shooter from being disciplined.
    His replacement is as bad as he is.

  • steven l

    The US should not pay the bill for protecting the EU.
    The US should contribute to the Libya adventure as much as the EU contributes to the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not more, not less.
    If Iraq and Afghanistan are not EU wars, Libya is not a US war.
    Let’s be fair.

  • Fred Dawes

    Here we go! off the BS world of really stupid.

  • Glennd1

    Let me get this straight. This article lauds Gates because after he pursued idiotic policies that squander U.S. blood and treasure for years, and now criticizes those same policies when his career isn't at stake? In my book this makes him the worst kind of hypocritical fraud. He was effing SecDef – he could have sought to change the many things he complains about while in that role, or should have resigned if he objected based on heartfelt principle like say Michael Scheuer did from the CIA so he could speak his mind. The only thing Gates deserves for this is a bihatch-slap.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    has been marked by consensus building and an ability to work with a conservative like President Bush, as well as the liberal President Obama.

    I’m sorry but anyone who labels George “Islam is a Religion of Peace™” Bush, whose solution to the 9/11 terrorist attacks was to promote the government officials most responsible for letting it happen and to use the attacks as an excuse to double the size of the federal government like a drunken Dhimmicrat on steroids and to also deploy our troops in two endless fantasy-based nation building missions to win the hearts and minds of Muslims that are obligated to maintain nothing but hate in their hearts for unbelievers, a conservative is living in an alternate universe.

    The truth is Bush didn’t have a conservative bone in his extremely liberal body. Indeed, if you consider Bush a conservative, I’d hate to see what you consider to be a left-winger. Bush is the epitome of a RINO and the worse Republican President in history since his dad, who previously held that designation. Indeed, he didn’t have a clue and still doesn’t have a clue.

    Moreover, Gates is also a RINO and as for as I’m concerned the worse Republican Defense Secretary in history.

    Should NATO be an alliance that stresses combat missions — the US view — or should it opt for “soft” power, like “humanitarian, development, peacekeeping, and talking tasks,” as Gates put it.

    The US should never ever again become involved in another fantasy based nation-building mission under any circumstances whatsoever, because the purpose of war is to defeat our enemies and to create deterrence, and by pursuing fantasy based nation-building missions, ostensibly to win hearts and minds, it defeats the purpose of war as it erases any and all deterrence. In addition, the above goes double for when it comes to trying to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, because winning the hearts and minds of Muslims is a fool’s game because it is literally impossible, since all Muslims are obligated to hate our unbeliever guts no matter what.

    Nevertheless, the new mission of NATO should be to combat Islam, as Islam is not really a religion but instead a totalitarian ideology that masquerades as being a religion to deceive the societies it intends to subjugate into a very draconian form of Islamic totalitarianism.

    Efforts to get nations like Germany, Spain, Turkey, and Italy to alter those caveats have proven unsuccessful.

    Hmm….I hate to rain on this writer’s clueless parade, but Turkey, thanks to Erdogan and his AKP, is our enemy and should be kicked out of NATO ASAP.

    it isn’t a matter of nations refusing to participate as much as it is that they are incapable of doing so.

    Any nation incapable of participating should be kicked out of NATO and be on their own.

    He received high marks from many in Congress for his advocacy of the surge which proved to be a success.

    How can anyone claim that the surge was a success? Iraq is a Sharia state that was democratically elected, and if anyone believes that a Sharia state will remain a loyal friend and reliable ally of the USA once we leave, then they are dreaming and I need to sell them a bridge.

    By the way, the same goes for Afghanistan, which is also a Sharia state that even prosecutes and sentences to death all blasphemers and apostates even while we prop it up. Yet Gates and our leftwing hijacked Defense Department hardly raise an eye brow. Man, are they in for a rude awakening when reality finally hits them in the face.

    –Continued

  • ObamaYoMoma

    His retention by the Obama administration as defense secretary was a tribute to his popularity in Congress and his ability to build consensus among the Pentagon’s military leadership.

    Actually, it was due to the fact that like George Bush, Gates is also a stealth leftist RINO, which also accounts for his popularity in Congress unfortunately.

    Currently, Gates is warning against withdrawing our forces too quickly from Afghanistan.

    Of course, because he doesn’t have a clue that the mission was never possible of being successful since even before it was implemented because it is based on flawed fantasy based political correct myths that have no basis in reality. In other words, like his predecessors before him and indeed like the entire defense department, as amazing as it is, all of them still don’t have a clue.

    He told a soldier on his farewell to the troops in Afghanistan that “we’ve still got a ways to go and I just think we shouldn’t let up on the gas too much at least for the next few months.”

    Meanwhile, our troops are being killed wholesale and like never before because of their insane rules of engagement that places a higher priority on protecting Muslim lives than on American lives.

    I think that’s a no-brainer.” It may be self-evident, but war weariness among the voters

    I’m not weary of war. However, unlike Gates, I know that the mission in Afghanistan, like the mission in Iraq too, is exceedingly fantasy based and utterly insane. Indeed, not only are we throwing away well over a trillion dollars, but also we are needlessly sacrificing young American lives all for nothing, and for that everyone responsible should be held to account, but I won’t hold my breath of that ever happening. Indeed, when George “Islam is a Religion of Peace™” Bush declared war on the tactic of terrorism, it was analogous to FDR declaring war on the tactic of using kamikazes. Had FDR been so utterly confused, we’d all be slaves of the Japanese Empire today.