Will Gates take marching orders from the White House?
Donald Rumsfeld’s chair may still be warm, but it’s never too early to predict how differently Robert Gates will run the Defense Department. One nugget I find interesting is a 1996 interview Gates gave PBS Frontline regarding his recollections of the first Gulf war. PBS asked Gates about his specific memories of the launch of ...
Donald Rumsfeld's chair may still be warm, but it's never too early to predict how differently Robert Gates will run the Defense Department. One nugget I find interesting is a 1996 interview Gates gave PBS Frontline regarding his recollections of the first Gulf war. PBS asked Gates about his specific memories of the launch of the land war. Gates responded:
…I have been in the White House on a number of occasions when military operations are launched and once the decisions are made and the orders have been issued the people in the White House from the President on down are really out of the action, at least [if] they are smart. And President Bush was especially good as was President Reagan of giving the military their mission, their orders and staying the hell out of the way. And not trying to micro-manage the conflicts, so you don’t have a Lyndon Johnson going down the situation room picking targets as he did in Vietnam….
That Lyndon Johnson analogy sounds familiar. Remember Bob Woodward’s story of Vice President Cheney picking out suspected WMD sites from his office in D.C. and sending them over to David Kay in Iraq, only to have Kay discover later that he was looking at a map of Lebanon?
Gates worked with Cheney on the first Iraq war when Cheney was in the Defense Department. I wonder how well they’ll work now that Cheney is the hawkish vice president on the executive side.
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