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Inside the War Against Robert Gates April 18, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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It would take an idealist of John Lennon’s lyrical stature to predict a future in which terrorism — in all its low-tech and emerging high-tech forms — isn’t the predominant mode of conflict in a world undergoing twin paradigm shifts of its own: a religious “great awakening” (Imagine plenty more religion…) and the rise of history’s first truly global middle class of consumers (…and more possessions, too!). So while I’m not given to surrendering the future to John Robb’s “global guerillas” any time soon, I’m hard-pressed to locate a more gritty and realistic appraisal of the enemies America will persistently face in coming decades — as in, plenty to kill or die for.

Gates understands this nuance of modern warfare, too. So he wants to create a home for today’s warfighters — the Dances with Wolves guys who get stuck manning those tiny forts in southern Afghanistan. He wants the Pentagon to stop looking down upon them, to stop haphazardly welding so-called “hillbilly” armor onto vehicles that lacked such basic protection. He wants America to stop casually trading their lives in the here-and-now fight against real insurgencies for theoretical casualties in dreamed-up, there-and-then fights against, I dunno, the Chinese or something. He wants, ultimately, to show them the money.

In response to his “radical” vision, Gates is preparing for the Know Nothings — those same national-security figureheads who have long sung his praises from the Capitol — to put him through the meat grinder. He will be dubbed, with all appropriate indirectness, “naïve” and “reckless.” His opponents, all of whom fear that the loss of home-district defense jobs will ultimately end their congressional careers, will suddenly accuse Gates of disregarding this or that “disturbing trend.” Try not to laugh out loud when you spot these security neophytes on TV, spouting absolute nonsense fed to them by staffers smarted-up by Google searches.

Inside the War Against Robert Gates.


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