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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gates To Stay On As Defense Secretary- As The Stomach Churns #2

The rumor mill has been working over time lately and one rumor that has had the far left "progressives" howling at the moon was the news that Barack Obama was going to ask Robert Gates to retain his position as Defense Secretary.

Today we see news reports claiming it is a done deal and Gates has accepted the position and the far left base of the Democratic party were not happy at all when it was rumor and that is an understatement from some of the reactions previously seen.

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.


Open Left:

The most important appointment decision Obama will make during the transition, bar none, is who becomes, or remains, Secretary of Defense. As I have noted in the past, the Department of Defense oversees the expenditure of 52% of all discretionary spending, rendering it literally impossible for any other cabinet Secretary to oversee as much federal money. Further, keeping Gates on would only worsen Democratic image problems on national security, as he would be the second consecutive non-Democratic Secretary of Defense nominated by a Democratic President. The message would be clear: even Democrats agree that Democrats can't run the military.

TPM agrees with Open Left:

For instance, as Chris Bowers argues persuasively, keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates is inherently a bad idea, because it keeps the same leadership in charge of half the Federal budget and, worse, sends the message that Republicans are needed to manage national security.

That mode of critique doesn't involve making any speculative extrapolations about Obama's future policy directions, and seems like a far more sensible way to look at his choices.

Daily Kos previously made the case against keeping Gates on (like Obama bothers listening to them?)

The Public Record:

The retention of Bob Gates at the Department of Defense for any length of time would signal Obama’s support for policies he has publically questioned in the past and indicate that he lacks confidence in his own ultimate choice to be Secretary of Defense. Gates has been an enthusiastic supporter of such Bush Administration policies as the deployment of a ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic; the rush to bring Ukraine and Georgia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; continued spending on a National Missile Defense (currently the most expensive weapons system in the Pentagon’s inflated budget); and the abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. These policies have weakened the international regime for non-proliferation and the arms control process with Russia and should be reversed by the new Obama Administration.

Furthermore, Gates has failed to tackle the huge budgetary, personnel, and organizational problems that exist at the Department of Defense. A recent study by the Government Accountability Office revealed nearly $300 billion in cost overruns on the largest defense acquisition programs, a problem that Gates has not addressed. Gates also favors an expanded role for the Pentagon in nation-building, which will lead to huge increases in the already-inflated defense budget as soldiers on the ground become both cops and social workers.

Others upset:

Some may think Gates is acceptable but I don't. First. Gates supports increasing U.S. forces in Afghanistan. As I written here on several occasions, Afghanistan is the black hole for foreign forces. Not since Alexander the Great has a foreign army successfully invaded and occupied and conquered the Afghan people. Since then Afghanistan has chewed up and spit out foreign invaders. The same thing lies ahead for the Americans.

Second. Gates as DefSec believes military power is effective in pursuing U.S. interests. I disagree totally with the premise. Shooting and killing foreigners does nothing to advance U.S. interests anywhere in the world.

That one is also annoyed about Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State:

As for Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, Obama seems to have forgotten what Clinton said about the Iranians, how she would "obliterate" them in the event of a war with Israel. If you were Iranian, I am sure you would judge Clinton to be another crazed militaristic American intent on conquering the world through bombs and missiles and tanks. Someone who even considers obliterating another people or another nation is not suited to be the chief diplomat of the United States.

That is representative of what is being seen already as reaction from the far left to the news about Gates staying on for at least one year as Defense Secretary.

The stomach continues to churn as the "progressives" howl, piss and moan and basically continue to whine about everything Obama is already doing before he even takes office.

Those people are incapable of being happy for more than a day or two before finding something to stay angry about huh?

Previously written under the "As The Stomach Churns" Label:

"Obama's White House- As The Stomach Churns"