“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here.

That’s a wow. But it’s a far cry from the resulting talking points sweeping the leftist blogosphere – that Gates called Iraq and Afghanistan nuts or Bush crazy. Oh, and Mr. Parry? Try linking to the articles that you are paraphrasing, would ya?

One of the most important points in the Gates speech comes from The Christian Science Monitor:

“And I must tell you, when it comes to predicting the nature and location of our next military engagements, since Vietnam, our record has been perfect,” he quipped. “We have never once gotten it right, from the Mayaguez to Grenada, Panama, Somalia, the Balkans, Haiti, Kuwait, Iraq, and more – we had no idea a year before any of these missions that we would be so engaged.”

Read that excerpt again: Gates defines perfect as consistently making bad decisions. There are some things you can joke about; I don’t believe war, especially the examples he cited, is one of them. Who the heck wrote this? George Orwell, anyone?

To the best of my knowledge, no news article links to the full text of the Gates speech. Why not?

Here’s one from 2008. But I can’t find an official one from Friday, using Google. My search query: text Robert Gates West Point speech 2011 (a string, not a phrase).

Hello, Pentagon communications officers: this is BAD. Hells, bells: there should be a video of it on YouTube as well as a transcript and you should be a top link.

I found a transcript at DennisMansfield.com – but Dennis doesn’t link to or identify the source. However, searching on part of the headline (SEO anyone?) took me to the defense department: Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, West Point, NY, Friday, February 25, 2011. Note that one of the reasons there is an SEO problem is that the page title is simply “Defense.gov Speech:.

Read it and weep.

:: This is cross-posted from Kathy Gill’s Posterous : Follow me on Twitter!

KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst
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