Report: Gates To Stay At Defense

Reports say:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed to stay on under President-elect Barack Obama, according to officials in both parties. Obama plans to announce a national-security team early next week that includes Gates at the Pentagon and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as secretary of state, officials said. Retired Marine Gen. James Jones, former Marine commandant and commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Europe, will be named national security adviser, the officials said.

Unlike a lot of folks, I respect Bush 41ers like Gates. My one problem with this is that it sends the message that Dems can't do Defense. I would prefer General Wes Clark at Defense, but Congress would have to do a fix for that to happen (as a retired military officer, Clark is ineligible for the Defense post for 10 years after retirement. He retired in 2000.) I have no obvious eligible candidates for the job.

Speaking for me only

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    To me, keeping Gates in that (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:39:44 PM EST
    position indicates Obama doesn't intend to withdraw U.S. military from the middle east quickly.  Obama admin. needs to know about and control as much as possible re defense department to accomplish that.  Spoken as a civilian.  

    So maybe Gates is the caretaker (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:50:16 PM EST
    until Wes Clark is eligible for the job?

    At least one year (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by joanneleon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:06:09 PM EST
    They said Gates would stay for at least one year.  I hadn't thought, until now, that this coincides with Clark's eligibility date.  I'd love to see that happen, but I thought there was bad blood between Obama and Clark now, and my impression is that it will be rare for him to appoint anyone with whom he has a bad history.  However, there's Clinton.  Hopefully he's showing that he'll make exceptions when there is someone who would be exceptional, like Clark, IMHO.

    Best case is that Gates is being left in place to make the transition with the military easier for Obama, he gets to finish this war and see the Iraq withdrawal through, and Clark takes over, Clinton is in place, and Obama is able to place more focus on domestic issues than foreign.  Let's face it, there's a lot more he can do about domestic issues and success here will bring more gratifying results both now and in history.  And he'll get credit for ending the war in Iraq anyway, being president when it happens (gad, I hope nothing messes that up).  Catch bin Laden to boot, and he'll walk on water.  There's so much that can go right.  I won't think about the contrary right now.


    I see the Gates decision (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:35:43 PM EST
    as one thing: Continuity.

    Gates is no Rumsfeld. Gates going into the Dod was know as a balanced man - but of course he had to manage according to Bush's doctrine. He will do the same for Obama. And it is important at this time to maintain some continuity in the chain of command with someone who knows all the details of the last few years.

    So I disagree with BTD that this shows Dems can't do defense. Besides the SoS is going to be bigger than DoD in the long run if you are to believe Obama.

    As for Iraq, everyone 'should have known' that Obama was never going to withdraw the troops as quickly as he promised. He promised a lot of things he has already backtracked on and that was just the tip of the iceberg. There will be more broken promises.


    missile shield? (none / 0) (#21)
    by jedimom on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:40:23 PM EST
    yes but how about Gates on the missile shield?

    OK (none / 0) (#23)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:47:54 PM EST
    How about Obama on missile shield?

    Do you think he is going to crate it all up and bring it home? I don't.


    i hope not (none / 0) (#32)
    by jedimom on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:17:43 PM EST
    no, lol,, but I support the shield, I found myself to the right of my assumptions as a lifelong Dem this time around, but I am wondering how Code Pink will take this for example..I am pleased about it

    I Think So Too (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:55:13 PM EST
    Seems like Clark would be the obvious choice and this is a perfect way to accommodate him.

    That's what I was thinking (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:32:21 PM EST
    And I'm ok with that, especially if there is public talk to that effect in the media to counteract the 'Dems can't handle defense' theme.

    Obama hasn't been saying (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:54:01 PM EST
    he would withdraw from Iraq quickly since way back in the early primaries.  It's one of the first things he walked back, but nobody much noticed.

    But isn't the withdrawal from Iraq and the timing of it pretty much moot now?  It's kind of a done deal, I think.

    I think two things about Gates staying.  One is that he wouldn't be if he wasn't on board with the way Obama wants to handle this.  And secondly, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to toss out the guy who's been running the department and the war just as you're on the verge of needing that "orderly" withdrawal to happen, which is a technical task needing technical knowhow.  The political and strategic decision has been made already.

    Gates is a fairly reasonable guy for a Republican, and it's certainly being made very clear he's not being invited to stay on post-Iraq to have any input into policy. I'm OK with that.  Rumsfeld made a pig mess of the department and the war, and Gates has largely fixed that.  Makes sense to me to have him finish the job and then go home.


    I don't like the idea of withdrawing (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:57:46 PM EST
    from Iraq while also ramping up/surging in Afghanistan.  Yes, I know Obama supports both, at least in the debates with McCain.

    I don't think Gates (none / 0) (#12)
    by Blowback on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:13:52 PM EST
    is  Republican. I think he is an indpendent.

    An independent, (none / 0) (#49)
    by KeysDan on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:28:58 PM EST
    but he was appointed to one of the five Republican positions on the Baker/Hamilton Iraq Study Group.   On nomination as Secretary of Defense by President Bush, he was replaced on the study group by Lawrence Eagelburger, former Secretary of State under GHW Bush.  The work of the study commission was almost completed at the time of Gates resignation, so he apparently agreed with most of its findings, including discussions with Syria and Iran and defined oil agreements.  The phased withdrawal was a part of the findings, as was (at the insistence of Charles Robb) the idea of a surge, if needed.   The last part seems to be about the only part that Bush took, after giving everyone on the study group his thanks and a hearty handshake.  Gates seems to be a guy who is a survivor and will take his cues as they come his way.

    Ah, another ideological chameleon? (none / 0) (#52)
    by Cream City on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:05:31 PM EST
    Somehow, I don't think one chameleon answering to another chameleon inspires confidence. . . .

    Cream, I dont think he's (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:04:59 AM EST
    particularly ideological at all, at least not anymore.  He seems to be more of a technocrat these days, which is very much what Obama wants and probably needs at Defense right now.

    I'm comfortable with him, and with not having a new Def Sec having to learn the ropes at this particular point.

    If Obama wants to make a renewed push in Afghanistan, which I think it's clear that he does, better to have somebody who knows how to do it, or get it under way, competently.  I think that's likely with Gates.


    I think that's exactl;y right (none / 0) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:00:54 AM EST
    Do you think that Gates (none / 0) (#18)
    by joanneleon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:31:33 PM EST
    will oversee Iraq only?  Or do you think he'll fully involved with the increase in forces and changes in Afghanistan?

    I'm wondering if that will be someone else's job, somehow.  I agree that the most likely scenario is leaving Gates in place to finish the job in Iraq, but what about Afghanistan?  Obama once talked about an entirely different (regional IIRC) strategy in Afghanistan.


    Obama promised to find bin Laden (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:07:47 PM EST
    and pacify Afghanistan. Gates has stated he think U.S. should concentrate on the latter and add troops there.

    American Foreign Policy (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:10:07 PM EST
    Hillary's plan, Obama's plan and widely supported by congress, R and D.

    I think it sucks, and a sure loser.


    Well, at least we agree. (none / 0) (#47)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:23:48 PM EST
    That is somewhat comforting.

    My sense is Obama (none / 0) (#38)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:33:58 PM EST
    knows what he wants to do vis-a-vis Afghanistan and he has plenty of advisers to consult who share his general approach.  If Gates's perspective is somehow not fully on board, he'll be listened to and then ignored.  Gates is there, I still say, to organize what Obama wants done.  I doubt he expects or would want any particularly major role in policy.

    Quickly? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Fabian on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:50:45 PM EST
    My estimate of an "immediate" withdrawal would be a minimum of two years to arrange for the diplomacy necessary to withdraw with the best chance of success wrt stability and peace.

    What do you think U.S. can (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:53:01 PM EST
    accomplish in two years that hasn't already happened?

    Di-plo-ma-cy. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Fabian on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:12:38 PM EST
    Remember who we've had in office for eight years.

    Bush has never grasped even the basics of diplomacy, negotiations and international relations - even with eight years of on the job training.  His Secretaries of State have been good soldiers who did what they were told.  

    We need to enter into regional negotiations so that when we leave, the powers that be don't decide to either invade Iraq or use it an arena to stage their own political or sectarian battles.  Without any way to do so much as patrol their own borders (and how about internal security), Iraq is very vulnerable.


    We'll See (none / 0) (#8)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:01:45 PM EST
    Tomorrow the Iraqi Parliament votes on SOFA, which has all troops out by Jan 1, 2012.

    The proposed security pact would set a firm timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces -- from all cities by next June 30 and the entire country by Jan. 1, 2012 -- and put American military operations under strict Iraqi oversight.



    Problems with keeping Gates (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Donna Z on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:19:25 PM EST
    Yes, there is the message being sent that only republicans can handle defense; it really doesn't matter if Gates claims he's an indy, 99.9% of Americans will believe that Gates is a republican. In this case, the vast majority of uniformed Americans are probably right. However, that concern is minor.

    In the near future the Pentagon will be upgrading the QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review), a document that sets direction of military policy in the future. For example: bases, weapon systems, and troop configuration all come together as an influence on the perimeters of future policy and the strategic framework. Currently that framework is only correct if you agree with the Long War theory. In the past, General Clark has said military planning should not drive foreign policy. He said that is what is happening now and it is dangerous.

    Gates may be a pragmatist, but he is a believer in the Long War. His influence on upcoming decisions (along with Gen. Jones, a subtle imperialist) is a troubling sign.

    There is also looming on the horizon the increase of troops. Since all signs point to this happening, what remains to be decided is how those troops will be trained and tasked. Gates is on record that he favors preparing for a world-wide insurgency. In contrast Gen. Clark wrote about our lack of troops trained in policing, and the ability to train police in rogue/failed states. On this I agree with Clark. Again, keeping Gates in a position that will be making the decisions when it comes to expanding troop levels, is a very bad idea.

    And lest we forget, the current chain of promotions is loaded with Rummy's picks, all ideological. Will Gates advance the careers of those who would be the best and brightest? I think not.

    The Pentagon is riddled with problems and decisions that will take some real balls to sort out. The outlook is grim.

    Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by CDN Ctzn on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:49:52 PM EST
    The Department of Defense is a misnomer. For the most part recent history has proven it would be more appropriate to call it the Department of Offense. We haven't actually defended ourselves from anything. To believe it's a Defense department is nothing more than a collective drinking of the Kool-Aid.

    When did those on the left become Hawks? Sorry, but I'm still a lefty peacenik and I won't be satisfied until there is as much serious consideration and funding given to a Department of Peace as the Department of Defense!

    GATES OUT!!!! GATES F-ING OUT!!!! (1.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:05:30 AM EST
    I spent a Thanksgiving with one of his beloved in his inner circle in 2002.  She had worked for Gates for years and her husband was the flight surgeon for my husband's unit in Iraq.  The two came back for R/R together so the families shared a faux Thanksgiving together.  I spent a great deal of that Thanksgiving listening to how Gates was screwed from the very beginnng when Rumsfeld was made Sec of Defense.  What a couple of wingers though, they were going to conquer the world through their marriage it sounded like.  When the guys headed back to Iraq that was when my husband approached Hillary Clinton in an Ireland airport and introduced himself.  The flight surgeon saw this take place and made sure to report my husband's behavior to the equally winger Lt. Colonel who didn't let up on my husband for a second about it as if he had committed some sort of crime.  My husband was terrified for a couple of months that his commander could choose him for some suicide mission just to get even with him for talking to Hillary Clinton.  My husband is still a soldier though.  The Lt. Colonel took an early retirement instead of waiting to make General, I mean he could have made General.....he was married to a General's daughter, but he couldn't hack a real war when his country managed to get itself embroiled in one of those and things STOPPED BEING EASY AND WE LOOKED LIKE IDIOTS.  It is just my mellowed with age opinion but OUT WITH GATES (and I do NOT care how much he is working with President elect Obama at this time because DUH....it is part of his job!!!!!!!), OUT WITH THESE F-ING WINGERS AND THEIR WHOLE FLIPPING ENTOURAGE AND BACK UP SINGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET OUT!!!!!!!!

    Parody? (none / 0) (#62)
    by dualdiagnosis on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:34:33 PM EST
    A plot to murder some one for saying hello to Hillary to boot?

    Ha, a parody of what? (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 10:13:52 PM EST
    Oh yeah, my real life.  Whatever, don't think I'm reserving my parody just for this blog and your preciousness.  I have a parody that comes with names, and dates, and people being in specific places but you aren't anyone in a position to need to know that and nothing worth a spit would come of it.  I seriously doubt you were in a war zone when the wingers were running wild either in 2002.

    BTD, appointing Hagel (none / 0) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:57:05 PM EST
    or some other new Republican guy would send the message that Dems. can't do Defense.  Keeping Gates on temporarily at this end stage of the Iraq adventure sends more of a message that the Republicans get to help clean up their own mess.

    I don't think political idealogy has much (none / 0) (#10)
    by Exeter on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:08:31 PM EST
    to do with job functions of being SOD, its just that most people with the qualifications to be SOD are usually Republicans.  

    Put John Kerry in then. (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:19:59 PM EST
    Pentagon (none / 0) (#24)
    by joanneleon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:51:53 PM EST
    I would think Obama will be filling the Pentagon with people of his choice even if Gates stays.  I also wonder whether they are going to try to segment the Iraq withdrawal from everything else, and have Gates oversee that.

    BBC just opined Danziger, who (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:24:57 PM EST
    was Sec'y of the Navy under Clinton, will be second to Gates.

    I've been thinking (none / 0) (#13)
    by joanneleon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:17:26 PM EST
    (I know, I know) about why leaving Gates in place would be a good idea.

    There are the obvious reasons of an ongoing war and transitions.  And there are so many apparent drawbacks, also obvious.

    But recently I've started to think that maybe they don't want to put a new Sec. of Defense in place just when we're going to end the war in Iraq, for fear that a new Sec. of Defense might find it irresistible to start tweaking things here and there, throwing in some of his own better ideas, and even possibly start getting ideas that he can win this war, try things his way, and such, and before you know it, everything's changed again.  Also, withdrawal is no simple task, and it's dangerous.  Iraq was Bush's war and letting his guy finish the job is an interesting move.  

    I can't find any consistent set of facts about this whole story.  Across the different media, it's full of contradictions, and I'm finding myself more interested in it all the time.

    There was bad blood between the left and Gates (none / 0) (#15)
    by jerry on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:22:08 PM EST
    If I recall correctly, the left was pretty upset that Gates was going to be appointed.  We had days and days of video of Ray McGovern getting kicked out of some conference as he protested.

    So my question is: given how he is staying on, how much of that prior upset of ours was justified, how much of that was understandable mistake, and how much was manufactured nonsense that does us little good?

    Gates has a very bad odor (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:43:08 PM EST
    because he was deeply involved in Iran-Contra under Reagan, where I think he was deputy director of CIA.  He was investigated by an independent counsel for it, but the investigation was ultimately dropped because his deputy flat-out refused to testify, which if I remember right, he was indicted and convicted for, though I may have that wrong.

    There was very, very good reason to be alarmed at Gates's appointment by Junior, but either his attitude has changed or he's been "misunderstood" or something (I have a vague recollection of reading he supported Reagan's mad idea to invade Nicaragua or something along those lines) because he's been very good as Sec Def and has gotten pretty convincing plaudits from Democrats who've dealt with him.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:50:33 PM EST
    Also specifically there are some unanswered questions regarding his role in the 1980 election October surprise, aka hostage release.

    Or is it possible that `we` were correct and the (none / 0) (#16)
    by jerry on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:23:36 PM EST
    mistake is being made by keeping Gates on?

    Speaking for me only (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:25:35 PM EST
    I was not upset with Gates' appointment by Bush 43.

    I was upset, but why? Kool-aid? (none / 0) (#19)
    by jerry on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:35:08 PM EST
    I don't like finding out that I drank the kool-aid or that people I supposedly trusted/admired/looked to as a reliable source poured me a glass.

    I'm not qualified to judge, but it seems as though Gates has done a reasonable job.  

    And so what (if anything) does that say about us?


    I do not know what you (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:41:44 PM EST
    mean by kool aid.

    I certainly did not criticize anyone for opposing Gates. I just did not share their view.

    Not sure what you are getting at.


    Drinking the kool-aid (none / 0) (#25)
    by jerry on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:52:46 PM EST
    I'm not saying you were criticizing anyone, I'm wondering if "we" (blogosphere, liberals, ... were overly critical of Gates and if so, why.)  So when Ray McGovern and some others criticized him, IIRC, all the blogosphere (and AirAmerica) jumped into the fray to try and shout him down.  But why?  Should we have known he would be "reasonable".  Were we being loyal opposition, or were our efforts just being (disloyal) opposition of the sort we are expecting in a few weeks.

    In case you haven't heard of "drink the kool-aid" the explanation is that drinking the Kool-Aid is an oblique reference to Jonestown that basically means, someone conned you (and others) with a bogus message.

    The wikipedia, in typical fashion, gets it somewhat right and in a way devoid of all the humor and meaning.

    So instead, I'll link to the urban dictionary definition

    2.     drink the kool-aid    

    To completely buy into an idea or system, whether good or bad.
    Coach Bellichick got his players to drink the kool-aid.

    3.     drink the kool-aid    

    Going along with what a crowd desires. Often used when a person changes positions on a topic.
    Dave got a haircut and a new suit. Looks like his company is making him drink the kool-aid.

    1.     drink the kool-aid    

    A reference to the 1978 cult mass-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Jim Jones, the leader of the group, convinced his followers to move to Jonestown. Late in the year he then ordered his flock to commit suicide by drinking grape-flavored Kool-Aid laced with potassium cyanide. In what is now commonly called "the Jonestown Massacre", 913 of the 1100 Jonestown residents drank the Kool-Aid and died.

    One lasting legacy of the Jonestown tragedy is the saying, "Don't drink the Kool-Aid." This has come to mean, "Don't trust any group you find to be a little on the kooky side." or "Whatever they tell you, don't believe it too strongly".

    The phrase can also be used in the opposite sense to indicate that one has embraced a particular philosophy or perspective.
    Alice: Hey, did you hear that Joe is working on the Nader campaign?
    Bob: Yeah, he really drank the Kool-Aid on that one.

    Chris: I'm thinking about attending a PETA rally
    Donna: Whatever you do, don't drink the Kool-Aid!


    I'd have to review what was being said (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:54:17 PM EST
    I must admit, Ray McGovern is not my favorite analyst.

    Good question (none / 0) (#33)
    by kempis on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:22:10 PM EST
    ...and one we should ask ourselves more often in retrospect.

    I think that possibly Gates' nomination to SecDef was met with animosity because, really, we'd learned to distrust any of Bush's judgments--and naturally so. Has there been such a poor "decider" in the Oval Office in our lifetimes? We'd learned by then that Bush decided it, it had to be one of the most bone-headed decisions a human could possibly make.

    But with Gates, Bush was the broken clock: he got something right. Like BTD, I have no problem with Gates now and didn't then. I was relieved to see one of Bush the Elder's buddies (and a member of the Iraq Study Group) moving into power within Bush the Bumbling's administration. From what I read about him, and it proved true, Gates seemed to be a pragmatist--and one with a fair amount of integrity at that.

    I think it makes great sense for Obama to keep Gates on right now.

    I think BTD also makes a strong point about how this plays into the perception that Dems don't do military matters well. BTD is right; it does, and that's a shame. But I think challenging that perception has to take a back seat to trying to get it right in Iraq so that we can start safely drawing down just as soon as possible. Gates seems to be the best person for the job right now, and Obama seems to be all about that--much to my relief.


    Speaking for me as well.... (none / 0) (#45)
    by oldpro on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:04:37 PM EST
    Basically manufactured nonsense (none / 0) (#56)
    by dualdiagnosis on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:46:32 AM EST
    Bush appointed him, therefore evil thug. Obama appoints him, brilliant move.

    How about Joementum Liebereman?

    Richard Wolffe (none / 0) (#28)
    by joanneleon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:00:04 PM EST
    on Hardball just now said that Gates pushed for this, has been working on this for some time now, and convinced the Obama administration to let him stay on.

    Is this what people have been hearing about the situation?  I read all kinds of things about how Gates did not want to do this.  

    Wolff is another reason I don't watch msnbc (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by kempis on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:25:48 PM EST
    If this had been President-elect Hillary Clinton's appointment, I shudder to think how Wolff would spin it.

    I would not trust (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:45:07 PM EST
    Wolffe's word alone.  My sense -- which could be unfair -- is that he doesn't have terribly good first-hand sources but relies more on third-hand info.  In any case, he's often wrong and tends to favor complicated narratives and speculation way too much for my taste.

    Or His Pals (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:04:09 PM EST
    During Campaign 2008, Gates got lucky again when Boren and Hamilton emerged as senior foreign policy advisers to Obama. They are now reportedly part of the transition contingent urging the President-elect to retain their old friend as Pentagon chief.

    Roger Parry


    a win/win (none / 0) (#34)
    by jedimom on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:23:07 PM EST
    didnt Obama bring a cupcake out on the plane for Wolffe's bday? Wolffe is pretty enamored of Obama almost as much as Nedra Pickler and Beth Fouhy of AP are, I find this decision, logical, a good move, typically Obama.
    Also, this sort of allows Obama to be kind of arms length from the continuing Iraq presence ya know? I mean it is Gates and Clinton, that is what his most devoted ones (aka the media, HA!) will be able to say from here forward, which is convenient for him and they (Gates and Clinton) dont mind taking the heat..

    "arms length"? (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by lentinel on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:25:43 AM EST
    If the war in Iraq continues, I think people will and should lay the blame on Obama's doorstep. I can't see people blaming Gates and Clinton. He is the one who appointed them.

    Obama isn't "arms length" from the war in Iraq. He is the president of the U.S. - the commander in chief and all that.

    He was brought to prominence because of his speech in 2002 against this "dumb" war. It became the symbol of his superior intellect.

    I don't think that people on the left should let him off the hook.


    logical move.. (none / 0) (#39)
    by jedimom on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:36:48 PM EST
     ditto Ben Smith

    Picking Gates is Just absurd (none / 0) (#36)
    by pluege on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:26:36 PM EST
    My one problem with this is that it sends the message that Dems can't do Defense.

    This is absolutely the worst possible place to put a republican. For a team that is supposed to be soooooooo politically savvy, this is just awful!!!

    As for dem candidates: Nunn or Brzezinski

    Oh, geez. (none / 0) (#42)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:46:37 PM EST
    Give me Gates over either of those two, especially Nunn.

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by zvs888 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:22:14 AM EST
    I've got to agree; Nunn isn't really the man for this job.

    The advantage that Gates has is that he's been there to clean up Rumsfeld's mess, and he's a competent manager who has overseen the Iraq surge.

    Obama needs him to handle a proposed Afghan surge while he's busy handling the economy.

    Heck, it's the same reason why he pulled Hillary into the administration; he needs the most competent people he can find to handle big tasks in foreign affairs while the economy is falling apart.


    Agreed on Gates. Disagree intensely ... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:00:50 AM EST
    ...on Nunn and Bzrezinski.

    If true, an excellent decision (none / 0) (#46)
    by oldpro on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:09:07 PM EST
    on many levels.

    Has Obama picked ANYBODY... (none / 0) (#58)
    by lentinel on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:13:19 AM EST
    Has Obama picked anybody to serve with him that opposed the war in Iraq?

    The economy is in shambles. Obama has announced that is his focus --- but "speaking for me only", a great economy coupled with a senseless bloody unending war does not equal the country that I hoped America could become.

    Too bad (none / 0) (#60)
    by profbacon on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:24:57 AM EST
    Too bad there`s no crowbar on Earth that could get Jim Webb out of his Senate seat and into Defense.

    Webb loves his Senate seat, sigh... having him at the pentagon running around with his guns and boots.  They would have loved him there.  Far and away the craziest and best Dem for Defense.