We are glad that pro-torture, pro-war-over-non-existent WMDs guy, megalomaniacal/delusional Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, is, well, history.
Bubble Boy's Daddy's friends have now been called up to clean up all of Bubble Boy's mess. (As Daddy's friends were once called upon to get Bubble Boy into Harvard, and to get Bubble Boy out of having to serve in Vietnam, and then to get Bubble Boy out of the National Guard early).
Calling on former CIA director, Robert M. Gates.
And, while one was fully prepared to begin to dump on Robert M. Gates about Iran-Contra, whilst Googling him this evening one stumbled on some interesting reality-based stuff that one thought to bring to your attention.
GATES: JIMMY CARTER BRINGS DOWN SOVIET UNION
Robert Gates, the subsequently director of the CIA, and at that time a member of my staff, reveals in his book that as early as 1978, President Carter approved proposals prepared by my staff to undertake, for example, a comprehensive, covert action program designed to help the non-Russian nations in the Soviet Union pursue more actively their desire for independence - a program, in effect, to destabilize the Soviet Union.Full interview with Zbigniew Brzeszkinski, here.
We called it, more delicately, a program for the "delegitimization of the Soviet Union". But that was a rather unusual decision. He took some others along these lines, too. So his public image to some extent was the product of his great emphasis on arms reductions and a desire to reach an agreement on that score with the Russians. But it didn't quite correspond to the reality, and it certainly didn't correspond even to the public reality in the second half of the Carter Administration. [Reagan got false credit for Carter's decisions]
GATES: MILITARY UNDERSTANDS THE TRUE COSTS OF WAR
Gates: One of my experiences over the years, in Washington, as I have watched different Presidents deal with the military and I worked in the White House for four Presidents and attended decision meetings under five, is that contrary to mythology, the biggest doves in Washington wear uniforms. And I think that particularly after Vietnam they are very leery of feather-merchants of civilians, greying notions of using military force to accomplish a range of objectives however sensible or justified they may be.
And I think that they try, perhaps even un-consciously, not only to exaggerate the level of forces that will be required to accomplish a specific objective but the casualties as well, in the hope of forcing a sanity check on the politicians or on the civilian experts who have no concept of what it is like to sit there and watch a young soldier bleed and die. And I think that these guys also think that war in the situation room is too clinical. And that we don't have an appreciation for what it is really like, and that they would prefer to avoid the use of military force at all cost.
GATES: OBJECTIVES IN GULF WAR LIMITED: QUAGMIRE IN IRAQ TO BE AVOIDED
Q: If you gave yourself a luxury of hindsight is there anything you would do that you didn't do to try and alter that ending of the [Gulf] war?
Gates: I do not believe I would have made decisions or recommendations differently in terms of how we dealt with the end of the war. All of the alternatives to the way things turned out in my judgement would have resulted in the American troops still being in Iraq today. And I believe that the American people would not tolerate that.
We accomplished the objectives we set for ourselves. Our objectives do not include the total destruction of Iraq; it did not include the total destruction of the Iraqi Army. We wanted to maintain the territorial integrity of Iraq, we didn't want Syria taking a piece here and the Iranians taking a piece here and somebody else taking a piece there.
We wanted the territorial integrity of Iraq. We believe that enough army divisions were left for the regular army to be able to protect Iraq from intrusions into its territory. But its ability to invade its neighbours have been destroyed--the Republican Guards. So I think you have to keep coming back to what the objectives were in this war.
Why we were there in the first place and not over time began to expand those objectives in retrospect, and those of expansion would have resulted in, in what I believe would have been a quagmire.
One is pleased to note some sense in Gates that there is inherent virtue in both planning and in quagmire avoidance.