Obama keeps George Bush’s Defence Secretary
After the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress in 2006, the battle cry of the left was Iraq. Everybody, left and right, thought the 2008 Presidential election will be fought over the Iraq issue. The one prominent exception was Rush, who predicted that Iraq well fade as an election issue as the situation in Mesopotamia stabilizes.
I was sceptical at the time, but looking back, he sure was right! Not only did the economy totally eclipse Iraq as an issue (thanks to the surge and the collapse in the casualty rate for US troops there), but now Obama has decided to keep Robert Gates on as SecDef for at least a year into his first term. Now that’s the kind of “Change” I like (but I suspect, not exactly what the nutroots had in mind when they voted for Obama – heh, heh, heh...).
To give credit where credit is due, good on him! Robert Gates has been an exemplary (if colourless) Secretary of Defence, under whose tenure the situation in Iraq has completely reversed. This reappointment is a clue that the Obama administration might pursue sensible war policies.
As I have said before, the problem for us Obama-watchers is that we have so little to go on. Thanks to his thin resume and empty rhetoric, he comes to the White House as more of a cypher than any of his predecessors has in living memory. We have simply no idea whether he will be a dangerous radical (as is suggested by his acquaintances) or a cautious politician (as is suggested by his abstention from crucial votes in the legislatures where he has served). However, the reappointment of Gates is a data point for the latter proposition.
One cheer for Barack!