A Lucky Hawk So Far
Robert Gates, a success under George Bush, seeks to do even better under Barack Obama
Napoleon, it is said, preferred a lucky general to a good one. Sitting in the E-ring of the cavernous Pentagon is a man who has shown himself to be both fortunate and skilful. These days the gossip among Washington’s national-security savants is whether the unassuming Robert Gates is, in fact, the best secretary of defence that America has ever had.
Perhaps so. Fate has been kind. Mr Gates is already unusual for being kept on as defence secretary by a new president entering the White House. Hired by George Bush in 2006 to salvage the war in Iraq, Mr Gates is trying to do the same in Afghanistan for Barack Obama. If anything he has become more influential, taking on not just Iraqi militias and the Taliban, but also a stubborn domestic foe: the “iron triangle” of armed services, defence industries and Congress that controls the Pentagon’s gargantuan military-spending programmes.
+++++++Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment+++++++
The Economist is a thoughtful source. Click on the logo to read the rest of the piece. Click on the political cartoon to visit the artist's home page–we consider political cartoons to be “high art.” Click on the cartoon below to read the warnings Secretary Gates and all others have ignored for 20 years.
In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king [but only if the blind have hold of his hem]. Secretary Gates embodies an extraordinary combination of intellect, discipline, and savoir faire, but he has reached his limits. Absent a Whole of Government strategic initiative to get a grip on reality, scrub the budget of waste, and redirect all of America's policies, domestic as well as foreign, in harmonization with one another as well as reality, he will go down with the ship, which hit the iceberg under Clinton and sank under Bush. Obama is just bailing water from the piece still floating (one issue at a time) and pretending it is effective. America can still be saved, but not without Electoral Reform and a coincident commitment to creating a Smart Nation.