Skip to comments.Gates Warns of Any Future Wars Like Iraq, Afghanistan [Iraq and Afghanistan-“The Captains' Wars”]
Posted on 02/26/2011 7:59:10 AM PST by fight_truth_decay
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 regime in that fashion again are 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. Huffington Post
"The odds of repeating another Afghanistan or Iraq -- invading, pacifying and administering a large third-world country -- may be low," Gates said.
He did not directly criticize the Bush administration's decisions to go to war. Even so, his never-again formulation was unusually pointed, especially at a time of upheaval across the Arab world and beyond.
He said Iraq and Afghanistan had become known as the captains' wars because officers of lower and lower rank were put in the position of making decisions of higher and higher degrees of consequence and complexity.
Gates has said that he would leave office this year, and the speech at West Point could be heard as his farewell to the Army. NYT
(Excerpt) Read more at presstv.ir ...
Gates is turning into a real piece of work. I use to respect this guy - then I discovered he is apparently a closet liberal.
He should be fired.
He has essentially squandered most of America’s global political capital expended in these two wars.
Essentially, all Global tyrants should know and enjoy an expressed axiom of Gates that the US will never meaningfully interfere with another state.
So when we are attacked again, we simply do nothing....well except pay for defense of the terrorists.
Another coward in the DoD, has Gates converted to Islam? Can we strip this prick of his retirement after 2012?
The odds "may" be low? What kind of weaselly worded crap is this?
I don’t see too much wrong in what Gates said at West Point. George Washington warned against foreign entanglements. MacArthur warned about about armed commitment in Asia. Eisenhower cautioned against excessive military expenditure. Louis XIV ruined France through many wars. There’s a time to conserve and build national strength through a less aggressive and activist policy. American blood is too precious to sacrifice on the other side of the world.
In all wars the Captains and NCO’s have had to make the tough decisions on the ground. What’s new? What is new is that they now have a dozen lawyers for every battalion of troops that act as political officers..second guessing every decision. Plus bureaucrats like Gates making the rules of engagement.
So would I send another Army to another sandbox to fix them? No not with leaders like him.
AGAIN I say what does Gates have on the Bush(41, 43) Family that they would keep appointing him? A dead Woman or a live boy? He screwed up CIA, TX A & M and now DoD. I hate this BASTARD!
That MacArthur was a real left-wing nut wasn’t he. He gave Kennedy some very bad advice, as did that lefty Commandant of the marine Corps David M. Shoup.
Me thinks thee confuses SANITY with “closet liberal”.
Name a place in the world more peaceful since Obama styled “sanity” walked into the White House....
Ya, better to sacrifice it here after they cleared out our allies over there....
What’s wrong with what he said:
1. We HAVE successfully accomplished the missions he describes.
2. In a dangerous World, he signals enemies that we won’t do it again.
Well Freddd we could just use the AF and bomb the crap outa them............
Oh, also if he criticized officers as “low” as captain making complex decisions, I thought that always was a unique strength of the US Armed Forces, right down to the enlisted man.
What some people call allies, George Washington called entangling alliances. I'll go with George Washington.
In 1964 my father, a US Army major stationed at Schofield Barracks, took part in a 4 month exercise in Thailand, a SEATO exercise code named LOGTRAIN. The purpose of the exercise was to examine the feasibility of logistically supporting a major land force in South East Asia. He told me the results of the exercise was that while we could supply a large land force in Asia with supplies and equipment, in the long run we could not effectively win the war because of how long it would take to win.
Why should we do it again? The world is less dangerous with a less activist foreign policy. The USA has been thew world's policeman too long. The nation is drowning in red ink.
I don't support nation building. I don't support politically correct wars. I think Iraq and Afghanastan need to be lessons learned.
However, the Taliban need to be taken out, and Bin Laden needs to be found. Destroy them, don't rebuild, take their opium crops as tribute, and go home.
I took that whole quote as "scapegoatish"....
"Iraq and Afghanistan had become known as the captains' wars because officers of lower and lower rank were put in the position of making decisions of higher and higher degrees of consequence and complexity.
Then I tried to justify our "training" of the Afghan and Iraqi forces in as they, he meant, their captains were making decisions that were not of their expertise for success..but I admit he didn't say that.
How will a Captain respond to Gates' remark?
What should be said is that we will never invade another country with a large army and attempt nation building. We should go in with a scorched-earth policy. We need to put Muslim counties back to the stone age.
No, when are attacked again, we should attack those who attacked us, not (as in the case of Iraq) a secular dictator who never attacked us. Not a single one of the 9-11 attackers was an Iraqi.
Riase your hand if you’ve actually seen him in person. Guess I’m the only one. I’ve seen him interact with soldiers. He loves and cares for them as if they are his own kids. The same talking points he says in this speech I could find in many comments from fellow Freepers regarding the decision to invade Iraq or Afghanistan in hindsight.
And I do admit this White House is real quick to tell every foreign leader how to run their country which in turns sends a message, often support to friends/enemies [given their distinction at the time].
Every conflict is different which faces us directly.
I am just stuck on the low low "captains' war" remark and when did he have this great revelation? And good-bye, see ya cadets.
If Gates had included this in his comments, I think most would agree American military invlovement overseas (i.e. Iraq and A'stan) can not happen again.
What is he doing then serving a man who willfully undercut the troops when they were in the field?
Good to know, thanks.
I also saw witnessed Bush was around the soldiers, and an impromtu send off and just the courtesy to people in general, when not up there expected to face "the nation".
When the Chiefs of the MSM wouldn't find these times important to really cover.
Not really. The top brass in the military are like the Vicar of Brent...who was twice a Catholic, twice a Protestant and when asked if he had any principles answered, "I have but one principle...to live and die as the Vicar of Brent". The prime principle in the top brass is to retire with 4 stars and full pension. Everything else is secondary.
[”witnessed how Bush was around the soldiers” ..sorry am “low low” in writing skills this am]
Down with Gates, the sooner the better.
Gates has always been a liberal, and his comments here totally disrespect the man who put him in his position. By and large he has done a terrible job.
His comment is ignorant. First, because America needs to be prepared to fight a war anyplace on the globe. Second, there is more than one way to fight a war, and America does NOT have an obligation to rebuild or build anything out of any attacked nation. Both Afghan and Iraq could as easily been fought as “attack, topple, disarm, depart” wars. Third, the entire US Congress approved the war on Afghanistan.
Gates gets no support from me.
Gates is wrong on many levels. Foolishly so.
What we are facing with militant islamonazism is a world wide guerilla war. Not all muslims support Bin Laden and his ilk. Most would prefer to not live in the 7th century. They should be recruited as allies.
I began studying guerilla warfare in 1966. Our efforts in this very long war have been noble, but we must continually improve our strategy and tactics. Our actions should be effective while spending the minimum in blood and treasure. My suggestions:
1. Declare war on islamonazi IDEOLOGY and LEADERS regardless of what they call themselves, what country they live in, and what citizenship they hold. I mean a real Declaration of War by both houses of Congress and signed by Pres. Palin. This allows us to go after the enemy EVERYWHERE. The terrorists know no boundaries and neither should we.
2. Expand our cultural options and do as they do in the Middle East: Employ assassins and spies.
In any guerilla war, the best man to send after the guerilla is a local boy who knows the culture, language, etc. and can blend in. If we can take out Ahmadinejad and 40,000 of his followers at a rally in Tehran with a MOAB...cool. If we send a single mercenary to poison an imam in Saudi Arabia...very cost effective.
Take out the imams (Enemy Leadership) and the people who finance them (Logistics). Let them know there is a price to be paid.
3. Exploit inter-tribal warfare, national rivalries, and local feuds. We have been fairly successful with this strategy so far. We need to enshrine it as a pillar of our strategy.
4. Capture should be preferred over killing the enemy. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, POWs can be held until hostilities are over which, in this war, means NEVER! Jihadis don’t fear death, but they fear a lifetime of cruel incarceration and interrogation. Our enemies must know that when captured, THEY ARE NEVER GOING HOME AGAIN.
I suggest using private contractors who are paid to incarcerate the jihadis and extract intel from them while never disclosing where they are kept. They cannot be freed if no one knows where they are. How about a converted tanker sailing far from sea lanes?
5. When possible, capture the families of jihadis and put them in shelters for abused spouses and children. Once again, DO WHAT THE ENEMY FEARS MOST. Jihadis fear losing religious and ideological control of their women and children. If it strikes fear into their hearts, it is a DETERRENT BETTER THAN DEATH.
6. In the long run we need to bring muslims into the 21st century. The young people are restless. We need to ally ourselves with the leaders (cultural, religious, and political) who want to bring their people out of darkness.
There are alternatives such as genocide. However, even Machiavelli, who had much wisdom to teach, would counsel that it is a bad idea to kill off your allies or sell them out. It ruins your reputation as a country.
Looking back at other wars that went badly in the beginning, e.g., WWII, we need to have vigorous debate over the right course of action in this war. I am all for constructive critique of our past efforts while respecting that our soldiers and leaders, e.g., Rumsfield, did the best they could.
As for the idea that we should not attack those who never attacked us, one might recall that Germany never attacked us in 1941 either.
Have a nice day.
Great idea. Pull up the drawbridge and let the crazies of the world have at. Let every whackjob totalitarian acquire nukes, but we will be safe in our little America as long as we stay uninvolved. I'm sure their conflicts/wars will never reach our shores. Pfft.
Ps. The DOD budget and world aid (which IS a waste) are the least of our economic problems. Entitlements are the problem and the biggest part of our economic deficit.
The US, post-hanging, should have withdrawn immediately and told the Iraqis "the rest is up to you, but if you screw up your choices, "ve'll be bock"" (to paraphrase der Schwarzer/Terminator).
We have a fifth column running the nation so we are committing suicide at home and squandering our resources abroad. Obama's real agenda is the elimination of America as the policeman of the world. We have a fifth column running the country working to destroy the economic system which sustains the American Navy, the Marine Corps,and which makes our Air Force and Army the envy of the world. We have an energy policy guaranteed to disembowel the stomach of our economy.
Above all, we have taken a sledgehammer to the foundation of our power. We have squandered our substance. we are committing suicide at home and squandering our resources abroad
The mindless reaction of Freepers first to criticize Gates personally and then to react to his point viscerally, reflects badly on this thread. The reality is that the war in Iraq was a mistake. We very narrowly pulled out a "victory" so it appears contemporaneously as though it were in fact a victory but it was the high water mark of America as a world power.
Gates is prudent to plead that we must be more careful about where we commit our ever diminishing resources. What was our national interest in the Iraq war? How are those interests advanced? How many hundreds of billions of dollars did it cost to advance those interests? Were the victories really permanent? Was it worth it?
By way of full disclosure, I can pull up old posts in which I fervently supported the conquest of Iraq. My fear was that Obama would obtain the bomb, pass it off to terrorists who would explode it in an American homeland city. The end result of a few atomic bombs going off in our homeland cities would be the loss of our sovereignty, the loss of everything.
All the evidence since the war indicates that this was not a realistic fear. I am not one to shrink from making war. I am one to shrink from making war for the wrong reasons, for making war unconnected with real and vital national interests. For example, I have often advocated a strike against Iran to prevent it getting the bomb. How much better would it have been had the United States gone to war against Iran instead of Iraq? The answer is self-evident.
But that is, I think, precisely what Sec. Gates is advocating, a realpolitik assessment of our interests when we make war. I do not now regret the Iraq war, which I so fervently supported, because it was immoral, I regret it because it did not weigh in the balance of advancing American interests for the cost.
I've come to the same conclusion about Afghanistan. We are now attempting a replay of the surge which "succeeded" in Iraq and it is very possible that the surge in Afghanistan will also "succeed".
I'm getting old now and I think about my grandchildren and I wonder whether they will be safer because of these surges. I think not. I think those countries will revert to their norm before my grandchildren grow up. I think America is the last best hope for the world and when we squander our substance and make the world more dangerous and ourselves less powerful we put those grandchildren in a dangerous place.
I do not understand how making war against the nation of Afghanistan, and part of the nation of Pakistan, will somehow prevent another 19 men who are neither Iraqis nor Afghans from hijacking another plane and blowing up another building?
As we decline economically at home, we are obdurately unwilling to get true to ourselves and conserve our strength so we can remain lethal for the backs-to- the-wall defense of our existence. We need to be feared abroad and that means that we must thoroughly reassess how we wage war, and why, so that when we do make war we can do it decisively, cheaply, and profitably.
Gates to his credit is telling us to do just exactly that.
“No, when are attacked again, we should attack those who attacked us, not (as in the case of Iraq) a secular dictator who never attacked us.”
Golly. Guess I imagined the AAA fired my way during the years prior to GW2...
As long as DumBO is Pres__ent, the next war will be over some green agenda.
i.e. Mexico or Brazil deciding the dollar is worthless and will use their own oil for themselves.
Agreed. Trying to nation-build in a place like Afghanistan is a losing proposition. But what to do about threats to the USA? My only thought is that we must simply ban entry into the USA for any person from any of 25-30 Mid-East/South Asian countries.
When the rest of the world is controlled by enemies of Freedom, we will drown in real blood, not red ink.
Do you think we’re going to be prosperous when there is no South Korea, etc? When Red China destroys the democracies and controls Asia? When radical Islam rules the Middle East’s resources? When the Irans and N Koreas have nuclear ICBM’s aimed at us? When Eurpoe is lost?
We thrive because we exist in a huge capitalist Free World.
I agree we have to pick and choose our actions. My pick would have been to hammer Iran and Syria while we were sitting between them with huge forces in Iraq.
Gates is a republican foreign policy realist along with Kissinger, George Schultz, Colin Powell, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, Condi Rice, etc.
As opposed to being a republican foreign policy NeoCon, like Cheney, Bolton, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Richard Perle, etc
As opposed to being a foreign policy isolationist like Ron Paul, Rand Paul, or Pat Buchanan.
A republican president's foreign policy team will always be composed of Realists and NeoCons with Realists usually serving as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser while a NeoCon usually gets the job as Sec of Defense.
OTOH there are 3 foreign policy groups in the dem party: Realists, Liberal Interventionists, and anti-war pacifists. A dem president's foreign policy team is always composed of Realists and Liberal Interventionists and the job of Sec of State usually goes to a Liberal Interventionist while Realists usually serve as Sec of Defense and NSA.
Under GW Bush the NeoCons had the upper hand over the Realists and under GHW Bush the Realists had the upper hand. In Reagan's first term the NeoCons had the upper hand but in Reagan's second term the Realists had the upper hand.
Most of the world will always be dominated by the enemies of freedom. But history tells us that a nation cannot remake the world as it would like it to be without falling victim to national exhaustion and/or internal moral decay. Spain, France, Germany and Great Britain all ruined national power by valuing foreign adventures over conserving and developing long term internal strength. Even in our own history, the United States rose to its status as the world's top power by being the last power to join World War II. Today's new hawks are following the deadly path of having our nation being the first power to shed blood and treasure.
We thrive because we exist in a huge capitalist Free World.
If wars are to be fought for prosperity, maybe the lefties are right about their soak the rich tax schemes. The ones who benefit the most should pay the most. And maybe we need a national draft so that the sons of the rich can earn their prosperity with their blood also. The greatest defense against a socialist transformation from within is to greatly restrain our involvements in the eternal strifes of other lands.
I agree we have to pick and choose our actions.
Yes, a true patriot will always believe in fighting for vital national interests. I just think we need to cut down the number of interests we see as vital. The vital interest to me is domestic security and tranquility and I believe those have been compromised by adventures on the other side of the world.
A far leftist is against America going to war because he is afraid we'll win. A conservative opponent to war is opposed because he he's afraid that we'll lose (in the long run).
The lefties want a less hawkish foreign policy so we can embrace and surrender national identity to the rest of the world. Conservative opponents to adventures want a more restrained policy so we can stand apart and conserve national identity.
Well said. Yes, it’s our grandchildren and beyond that should be considered. All wars seem important at the time. For example look at the Crimean War. What good is that blood and treasure England spilt there doing them now? And France’s endless wars left the nation unequal to the ultimate test in 1940. And on the other side, Russia’s crude militarism left that nation wide open for the Bolshevik nightmare.
It is nice to see that he is getting his foreign policy from “The Princess Bride”
Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong! That’s what’s so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” - but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...
Vizzini: [Vizzini stops suddenly,his smile frozen on his face and falls to the right out of camera dead]
Buttercup: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.
Man in Black: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.