May 09, 2010
The View from the Top

An old and occasionally wise deceased relative of mine would say that you can never tell what a man is really made of until he reaches he top of whatever pile he’s climbing. Take Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who seems to have cheerfully and efficiently done the bidding, on his way up, of a succession of fools, murderers and monsters: Ronald Reagan, Robert J. Casey, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, among others.

With no reasonable hope (or perhaps desire) to become president, he has now arrived at the highest point he can. And look what has happened to him. The man is committing good sense practically every time he opens his mouth:

“For example, should we really be up in arms over a temporary projected shortfall of about 100 Navy and Marine strike fighters relative to the number of carrier wings, when America’s military possesses more than 3,200 tactical combat aircraft of all kinds?” Gates asked. “Does the number of warships we have and are building really put America at risk when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined, 11 of which belong to allies and partners? Is it a dire threat that by 2020 the United States will have only 20 times more advanced stealth fighters than China?”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at May 09, 2010 05:46 PM
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Are you kidding? Maybe I've just grown overly cynical, but from where I sit this merely looks like cover, to make it appear that there is going to be some rolling back of the defense budget.

Yes, everyone, clap loudly for Mr. Gates, and ignore the continuing avalanche of money.

Posted by: karen marie on May 9, 2010 7:05 PM

I'm no fan of Mr. Gates, even if he does on occasion say something that I don't necessarily disagree with.

Posted by: knowdoubt on May 10, 2010 6:56 AM

But is he this tough?

President Obama may cultivate an image as the unflappable Mr. Cool, but he can get hot under the collar too, according to a new book.

In "The Promise: President Obama, Year One," by Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter, the author recounts a series of private blow-ups - including a particularly fiery one involving the nation's top military brass.

"A presidential dressing down unlike any in the United States in more than half a century," is how Alter describes the October 2009 eruption.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/05/08/2010-05-08_new_obama_book_by_newsweek_senior_editor_jonathan_alter_airs_private_flares_of_t.html

Half a century refers to the man known as Mr. Hell to military contractors, Harry Truman.

Posted by: Buck on May 10, 2010 12:35 PM
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