- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Gates’ tenure successful, contradictory
Came to Defense of Republican and Democrat
The defense secretary also growled at the bureaucracy to make it more responsive. Early in his tenure, for example, he scolded the Army for slowness in deploying the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle that repels deadly roadside bombs.
“He forced the system to be more responsive to war fighters on a number of fronts, from unmanned aircraft to wounded warriors. Gates forced the system to change, and he made heads roll,” Mr. Thompson said.
He denied Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, a strong Rumsfeld ally, the customary second two-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He fired his Afghanistan commander and then supported the dismissal of the next commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who made controversial comments to Rolling Stone magazine.
“I sometimes felt he was a little too free in firing people,” Mr. Thompson said. “The fact is, you fire people and you get the attention of everyone who is left. I don’t see anything in the Gates tenure that we’ll look back and regret. ‘Great’ and ‘defense secretary’ usually don’t go together in the same sentence. But Bob Gates is as good as it gets.”
Not all defense hawks like Mr. Gates. One of this first utterances in office was that military action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program was all but off the table. In the ongoing Libyan campaign, he told Congress there was no chance U.S. ground forces would be used. Critics say he should not have taken military options off the table.
In April, Mr. Obama essentially doubled the ante on defense cuts by saying he wants $400 billion more to the year 2023. Mr. Gates gave general approval but then seemed to break with the White House by warning against cuts that hamstring the military’s global reach.
“I’m appreciative he is now doing these sorts of warnings. But where has he been for the last three or four years?” said Mr. Gaffney, a senior Pentagon official during the military buildup under President Reagan.
Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, adamantly opposed Mr. Gates‘ endorsement of ending the ban on acknowledged gays.
Retired Gen. James T. Conway, a former commandant of the Marine Corps, was the most vocal opponent of repealing the ban among the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also saw Mr. Gates kill the Marine Corps‘ prized Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle landing craft.
“I think it’s incredible he served two administrations equally well,” he said. “He was a secretary of defense at war for the entire period, and I think he’ll go down in history as one of the finest people to man up the office. He understood the issues almost from the get-go. He worked very closely with his military advisers. I think he realized problem sets as they occurred or in some cases before they occurred.”
“What I liked about him was that his gut instincts were tremendous, and his No. 1 priority on those list of instincts was the welfare of the troops,” he said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Kabul, gets no invitation from Afghan President Hamid Karzai
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Rules of engagement bind U.S. troops' actions in Afghanistan
- Navy SEALs cite shabby treatment as Obama administration helps Hollywood instead
- Delta Force Marine awarded Navy Cross for fight at CIA annex in Benghazi
By Tom Fitton
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Richard Ivory, editor-in-chief of Hip Hop Republicans and HHR at Communities Digital News, turns his interests, and pen, to the people making news today.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow