Bush's Gates Will Stay as Obama's Defense Secretary: Looks Like More War in Afghanistan
November 25, 2008
Gates is staying on as Defense Secretary. What this means is simple enough, a continued draw down in Iraq and a surge (tm) in Afghanistan. Gates was, in effect, Bush Senior's man at Defense, cleaning up another one of Junior's messes. This also raises the question of whether generals who have gotten too big for their jobs, are going to be reigned in as they should be. Petraeus has been acting as proconsul, doing high level diplomacy and effectively running US foreign policy in a big chunk of the world. This was a function of Bush's weakness, his need of someone popular to carry his corpse around, as well Condi's complete sidelining from serious decision making. Irrespective of one's views on Petraeus's competence and integrity, however, it's not a healthy situation, and the Obama administration should take back the roles which don't belong to any general.Gates seems unlikely to be the man to do that, but it's hard to imagine Clinton, for example, allowing anyone to usurp her prerogatives, so we shall see how it plays out.