Monday, March 19, 2007

Gates Faces the Nation

SecDef Robert Gates on Face the Nation yesterday.

It's his first Sunday morning interview since taking the job. Quite the contrast with Rumsfield to say the least. He thanked the WashingtonPost for exposing the failures at Walter Reed and acted swiftly and admits much much more has to be done. Bob Schieffer also asked about how he writes (in part) a personal letter to the families of those who have died. [Doubt Rummy did that].

Gates points to the decrease in violence in Baghdad. Violence has spread to other areas. Gates also mentions that the threat of al-Qaeda in Iraq is a real one--a Sunni Islamic resistance. Gates also (contra Bush and Cheney especially) that he doesn't see AQI heading into Kuwait or even the US after the Americans leave.

Gates also admits that the surge is only to gain time for national reconciliation between Sunni and Shia. I just don't see this happening. There is no evidence yet to suggest the government of Maliki--which the US wants to fall I think--is heading in this direction. The oil law is being held up currently and may be delayed.

There are no leaders in Iraq, only politicians as John Burns so eloquently says. The strategy is the issue, the goal, not the tactic of the surge.


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