against more wars
By Thom Shanker
The New York Times
Posted: 02/26/2011 01:00:00 AM MST
WEST POINT, N.Y. — Defense Secretary Robert
Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point
cadets 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
"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," Gates
told an assembly of Army cadets here.
That reality, he said, meant that the Army would
have to reshape its budget because potential
conflicts in places like Asia or the Persian Gulf
were more likely to be fought with air and sea
power, rather than with conventional ground
"As the prospects for another head-on clash of
large mechanized land armies seem less likely,
the Army will be increasingly challenged to
justify the number, size and cost of its heavy
formations," Gates said.
"The odds of repeating another Afghanistan or
Iraq — invading, pacifying and administering a
large third-world country — may be low," Gates
But the Army and the rest of the government
must focus on capabilities that can "prevent
festering problems from growing into full-blown
crises which require costly — and controversial
— large-scale American military intervention."
Gates was brought into the Bush Cabinet in late
2006 to repair the war effort in Iraq that was
begun under his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld,
and then was kept in office by President Barack
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.
Put this in your pipes and smoke it!