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Posted by on Feb 25, 2011 in Politics, War | 0 comments

Too Little Too Late Bob

Defense Secretary Robert Gates all but admits that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were a really bad idea.

WEST POINT, N.Y. — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of government in that fashion again were slim.

“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.

But he goes even further:

That reality, he said, meant that the Army would have to reshape its budget, since potential conflicts in places like Asia or the Persian Gulf were more likely to be fought with air and sea power, rather than with conventional ground forces.

“As the prospects for another head-on clash of large mechanized land armies seem less likely, the Army will be increasingly challenged to justify the number, size, and cost of its heavy formations,” Mr. Gates warned.

“The odds of repeating another Afghanistan or Iraq — invading, pacifying, and administering a large third-world country — may be low,” Mr. Gates said, but the Army and the rest of the government must focus on capabilities that can “prevent festering problems from growing into full-blown crises which require costly — and controversial — large-scale American military intervention.”

That’s right – he is essentially telling them that a large ground force is obsolete and we can’t afford it anymore.  Of course the neocons are furious.  (Go to the link and read the comments)

I suspect that Gates was not too excited about the misadventure in Iraq and may have even realized the winner of that war would be Iran.  And I will give him the benifit of doubt – even if he had been critical of the Iraq invasion he wouldn’t have gotten in air time and no one would have be listening.  Like Brent Scowcroft he was one of the “realists” so despised by the neocon driven Bush W. administration.

If we avoid another Vietnam/Irag/Afghanistan it will be because of economic realities not some sudden sanity.  The military industrial complex is still in charge and will be calling the shots until the trough runs dry.  The good news is the trough is dry now.

Cross posted at Newshoggers