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Friday, November 10, 2006

Daddy's men take over

Clark Clifford

After Rumsfeld: Bid to Reshape the Brain Trust

Published: November 10, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 — Robert M. Gates, President Bush’s choice to become defense secretary, has sharply criticized the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war and has made it clear that he would seek advice from moderate Republicans who have been largely frozen out of the White House, according to administration officials and Mr. Gates’s close associates.

Robert M. Gates, the nominee to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld, has made it clear that he would seek advice from moderate Republicans who have been largely frozen out of the White House, according to officials and close associates.

The administration officials said that Mr. Bush was aware of Mr. Gates’s critique of current policy and understood that Mr. Gates planned to clear the “E Ring” of the Pentagon, where many of Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s senior political appointees have plotted Iraq strategy.

Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, said Thursday afternoon that Mr. Bush regarded his choice of Mr. Gates as “a terrific opportunity” to rethink Iraq.

In doing so, Mr. Gates will be drawing on his experience and contacts from the administration of Mr. Bush’s father, including the former security adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III. “Gates’s world is Brent Scowcroft and Baker and a whole bunch of people who felt the door had been slammed in their face,” one former official who has discussed Iraq at length with Mr. Gates said Thursday. “The door is about to reopen.”

A close friend of Mr. Gates’s described him as having been “clearly distraught over the incompetence of how the Iraq operation had been run.” The friend said Mr. Gates had returned from a recent visit to Baghdad expressing disbelief that Mr. Rumsfeld, whom Mr. Bush ousted Wednesday, had not responded more quickly to the rapid deterioration of security and that the president had not acted sooner to overhaul the management of the war.

Mr. Gates made his visit as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the commission that is preparing to make recommendations next month about overhauling Iraq strategy. Associates said that Mr. Gates had questioned military leaders there about whether more American troops in the capital could stem the violence, and whether the training of Iraqi troops could be overhauled.

“He didn’t take a view,” one colleague said of Mr. Gates. “But he understood the depth of the mess.”

In January, 1968, long time fixer Clark Clifford was chosen to be Secretary of Defense after Robert McNamara. No one knew exactly where he stood on the war, but it was clear he was going to make changes.

At the end of February, 1968, Westmoreland asked for 206,000 more troops, which would have required the Guard, a haven for avoiding Vietnam, to commit large forces to Vietnam. Clifford said no, and within the year, negotiations with the North Vietnamese began.

Gates's only qualification for the job is his loyalty to Poppy Bush. Gates was famed for his incorrect estimates of Soviet strength and the enemies he made at CIA. But he has no military background, so the question is why is he coming on board?

To ease the way for withdrawal from Iraq. Poppy's men are now coming aboard to make sure that he actually has to listen to someone. While the right was poopooing the idea that Cheney is not long for the White House, it's clear his health has not been good for at least the last year. He has fallen asleep in public meetings and often spends time away from the public eye.

Getting rid of Rummy, done in the worst possible way, after a resounding defeat, when his firing could have helped his party.

I don't believe the story that Rummy was on the way out before the election. I believe Poppy made the call and Rummy was gone.

But Cheney is as much responsible for the hard line on Iraq as was Rumsfeld. As long as he's around, he will have Bush's ear. Cheney can see Daddy's men are going to shove him aside as Operation Save Junior begins

posted by Steve @ 9:53:00 AM

9:53:00 AM

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