March 28th, 2007at 10:45pm Posted by Eli

I suppose I should be impressed…

Since taking over the Department of Defense at the end of last year, Robert Gates has gotten kudos for what he has done, demanding responsibility for mistakes like the Walter Reed debacle and the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s death.  He is also known to have wanted to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo as a way of helping the United States recover some of its lost credibility in the Muslim world.

But Gates has also been getting quiet credit for something he hasn’t done: push hard on Iran, not raising the temperature in a time of crisis. In particular, Gates has distanced himself from some of the harshest criticism of Iranian operations in Iraq and pushed back on rhetoric calling for military solutions to U.S. problems in the Persian Gulf. Most prominently, on the supply of explosives technology, Gates has declined to point the finger of responsibility at the Iranian government, something his own Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey, has done.


Gates is also on the record as being opposed to those in the White House and elsewhere in Washington who think the Iranian issue can best be resolved by working with Iranian dissidents to overthrow the current regime.


NBC News military analyst Bill Arkin also pointed to Gates’ appointment of Admiral William Fallon as the head of Central Command as evidence that the new secretary of defense is not going to be calling for extreme measures. Appointment of a Navy admiral, the first for Centcom, indicated to some a readiness to go to war with Iran. Fallon himself has disputed such a characterization.

Arkin said the reverse is true.

“Fallon is a détente-ist,” Arkin says. “Like Gates, he believes more in diplomacy. That is the story here, not his being a Navy admiral.”

This is all well and good, and Gates is certainly a refreshing change of pace from his insane predecessor, but ultimately it’s just not his call. If Dubya wants war with Iran, which I think he does, then it really doesn’t matter where Gates stands on the subject. He might resign in protest, but I’m sure Frederick Kagan or John Bolton would be happy to take his place…

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iran,Republicans,War

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