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November 08, 2006

Early Gates Factoids

This is comforting. Some quick googling on Bush's new nominee for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates turned up this bit of criticism from committed neocon and prominent Iran hawk Michael Rubin:

Rather than inject a "new approach" to U.S. strategy, the Baker-Hamilton Commission's recommendations resurrect the old. In May 2001, Hamilton co-chaired an Atlan tic Council study group that called on Washington to adopt a "new approach" to Iran centered on engagement with Tehran. And, in 2004, Baker-Hamilton Commission member Robert M. Gates co-chaired another study group that called for a "new approach" toward Iran consisting of engagement.

So the new Secretary of Defense doesn't favor launching ill-advised and counterproductive wars on Middle Eastern countries? That's, uh, terrible.

November 8, 2006 | Permalink


Would it be accurate to say that Gates is aligned with the Baker-Scowcroft crowd surrounding Bush the Elder? If so, that's an encouraging sign that the adults are starting to reassert control over the Republican Party.

Posted by: Kenneth Fair | Nov 8, 2006 1:58:38 PM

Rumsfeld was originally brought in (reportedly) because of his ideas about revamping the military, which lots of people besides conservatives thought was a good idea. If not for September 11th he might have turned out to be a good Secretary of Defense.

Will be good to have a realist about war in that position now. I'm still as worried as ever about what if anything can be done to save Iraq from a total bloody meltdown, though.

Posted by: Sanpete | Nov 8, 2006 2:00:19 PM

If not for September 11th he might have turned out to be a good Secretary of Defense.

I wonder if some of the support for his ideas was not for specific "ideas," but for how Rumsfeld wanted to revamp the military to make it more effective. Hell, I'll support anyone who says they want to make it more effective. I'm just not sure, given his behavior these last years, if he really had all that great of ideas anyway.

Posted by: Stephen | Nov 8, 2006 2:10:15 PM

Rumsfeld's gone, and his legacy is a broken Army, Marines, Reserves, and National Guard. But he's gone, and if he made any significant 'effectiveness' changes in the military during his watch, I've yet to hear what they were/are. Since I haven't heard, I'm prepared to believe that Cheney (his long time partner/buddy) choose him because they shared a view of what to do with the military in pursuit of foreign policy objectives: throw our 'overwhelming' weight around Empire-style (and fuck the diplomacy and other 'softie' approaches).

But, now Gates is deserving scrutiny.

Cable news (MSNBC in particular, with Mathews - apparently following the 'line' from the White House) has been selling the idea that Gates was chosen and Rumsfeld was fired by Bush over the heated objections of Cheney and the idealogues, and that Gates represents the return of the 'realists' like Scrowcroft, Baker and other Bush I accolytes.

I'll leave it to others to spell out how Gates was dirty in his earlier activities in previous administrations.

What I want to know is how does the presence of Gates (and Baker, in the wings) actually change things moving forward? I don't see that it does, except Bush gets to claim that they are seeing the problem with 'fresh eyes' (as he claimed in press conference this morning). Bush did NOT disclaim the commments of Cheney last week that they would keep moving straight ahead, even when asked if Cheney's comments were different than Bush's position.

Gates may have the job, but Bush II will undoubtedly see him as tainted with Bush I daddyism. Gates will not be a policy maker (and it isn't totally clear that Rumsfeld was either). So who will be calling any change in direction? Surely not Rice, who's backbone never formed before birth. Surely not Steven Hadley, the bureaucrat's wet-dream version of a National Security Advisor (ala Rice as NSC head).

Cheney's still got his team in place controlling the strings of policymaking across the government. Gates is a diversion without a difference, except he's good at hiding what he and his people do - ala Iran-Contra).

Nothing happening here folks, just move along. I think we are being 'fooled again'.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Nov 8, 2006 6:00:49 PM

Gates may have the job, but Bush II will undoubtedly see him as tainted with Bush I daddyism.

Bush I daddyism might be looking better and better to Bush II now.

It's true that Rumsfeld hasn't accomplished what he originally planned, and may not have had the personality or wisdom to do it well.

If Gates doesn't make big changes, it may be because he doesn't have any good options. But I don't expect to see him arguing for any more invasions.

Posted by: Sanpete | Nov 8, 2006 7:35:27 PM

(in spite of JimPrtland's fears)

I thought I would never hear myself say that I am glad to see Junior taking on some of daddies advisors. Certainly having them in the power structure isn't the best of worlds, but, with oversight and the simple fact that the republican party in absolute chaos, it will be a vast improvement on the status quo. If this hadn't been such a clear and decisive defeat, I doubt that rummy would have resigned or that things would have changed all that much. They had to know yesterday that it at the very least, could have gone south for them. I just don't think they realized how badly. I don't think there was likely more than 8-10 hours from the last time bush reiterated his support for rummy and rummy resigning. But having entirely lost the house and it still being close in the senate - their pissing themselves. They will cooperate and hope things go badly, even as they cooperate, so as to at least retain the oval office in '08, with at least the senate to back them.

I would also theorize that this was the last hoorah for the religious right. As much as it was a referendum on Iraq, I think it was also a referendum on the theocratic non-sense that this gop has engaged in. About half the traditional republicans I know, who voted democrat or abstained, put that above Iraq, the rest put it second.

Posted by: DuWayne | Nov 8, 2006 9:34:58 PM

On the other hand: Aggie.

But don't mind the Longhorn fans. We are horrible about this.

Posted by: Amanda Marcotte | Nov 8, 2006 10:11:47 PM

Aggie... Longhorn

There's a difference?

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Nov 8, 2006 10:34:14 PM

On the other hand: Aggie.

Would you be happier with Bill Bennett?

Posted by: Sanpete | Nov 8, 2006 11:43:43 PM

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