Speaking Words of Wisdom

Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaking to a group of cadets today at West Point:

“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.”


4 Responses to “Speaking Words of Wisdom”

  1. JB Says:

    NYT Article with this quote:

    Shanker, T. (2011, February 11). Gates warns against wars like Iraq and Afghanistan. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/world/26gates.html

    Gates is also paraphrased in the article as stating that the US military budget will need to be readjusted to fight wars “like Iraq and Afghanistan” with air and sea power instead.

    In other words – fighting with large ground units is too expensive to do any longer. I think it was all too expensive to begin with (ethical arguments aside). Thorough head examinations should have been conducted back in 2002 upon select war mongers.

    This morning I was convinced to watch Oprah’s “Master Class” with Dr. Condoleezza Rice. In it she said that as National Security Adviser she felt like everyday after September 11, 2001 she was in a dark room with many doors, not knowing what would come out of them. She says that “she could have done better” but that we are fighting a war that requires we “get them before they get us.”

    I wish there were more people like Greg Mortenson elected into office or made into generals – for they are truly wise.


  2. Karen Says:

    I can’t help but think that the only hope is for the world to run out of petroleum so empires (and petty dictators) can’t send either ground troops or planes to destroy people in other countries.

    No matter how expensive war is ($1 million a year per soldier in Afghanistan seems pretty expensive to me!), there will always be a few people who think “we have to get them before they get us” and no price is too great. Paranoia and fear, plus greed and lust for power, seem always to trump rationale thought.

    Personally, I’d abolish the Joint Chiefs of Staff and instead staff a Dept. of Peace with lots of Greg Mortensons.

    • markbittner Says:

      When I put up this post I was reluctant to use the term “Defense Secretary” because I call it the Department of War. Department of Defense is a euphemism. And, indeed, in what was perhaps a more honest age, it was called the Department of War. But I had to harmonise my own comment with the newspaper script. An interesting fact: We have more than 700 military installations in other countries around the world, and those are just the ones we openly acknowledge.

  3. Karen Says:

    Calling what is housed in the Pentagon building the Department of Defense is indeed truly misleading. The most graphic proof of how misleading is what happened on 9-11: There wasn’t even an attempt at defense by the Department of “Defense” on that day. All that department does is plan for war — well, and ingest billions of greenbacks that taxpayers are coerced into shoveling down its black maw.

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