Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush Administration, continues to amaze in his open mindedness and insights, and is seen as one of the major assets of the Obama Presidency, despite many Republicans being critical of him, even with his extensive background in the party structure and in the administrations of earlier Republican Presidents!
Now, on the anniversary of V E Day, May 8, Gates has delivered a speech at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas. This location is no accident or coincidence, but perfectly planned, as President Eisenhower remains famous for his outgoing Farewell Address in January, 1961, still regarded as one of the three greatest Farewell Addresses in American history!
A former leading General in World War II, responsible for the successes of the D Day (June 6, 1944) Normandy, France invasion, Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex on the future of American democracy!
The last nearly 50 years since his speech have proved very prophetic as we have seen the national debt skyrocket, with most of it being caused by military spending and interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq yet again, plus the numerous other smaller interventions around the world, and the fact that we have troops and military and naval bases in more than 60 countries around the world!
Gates referred to those realities, and called for cost savings and cuts in spending in the future on defense. He pointed out that the past decade since September 11 has seen a doubling of spending on defense, and he said some of it is wasteful spending that cannot be expected to continue.
Gates has canceled or cut back dozens of weapons programs estimated to save a third of a trillion dollars over the long haul, and wants now to cut the bureaucracy in the department, and also cut overseas locations and operating costs.
Gates questioned the need to have more than 40 generals, admirals, or civilian equivalents overseas, two decades after the Cold War ended with the Soviet Union.
This is all very refreshing news, as Gates challenges the accepted worship of military spending by the right wing of the Republican party, who only wish to cut domestic spending, but see defense spending as sacrosanct!
Gates has said he will have to see what happens after this year, as he had pledged to stay at least through the first two years of the Obama Administration. Needless to say, Obama should keep him on indefinitely as a tremendous asset, and Gates should do the patriotic duty and continue to work for the Commander in Chief for as long as Obama wishes him to contribute to a new image of the Defense Department! What a tremendous change since the days of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld! 🙁