View Full Version : Gates warns on pre-emptive strike

David Guyatt
03-14-2009, 02:31 PM
I wonder why he has said that now?


Gates warns on pre-emptive strike
US defence secretary Robert Gates has said any future president is likely to be more cautious about launching a pre-emptive strike against another nation.

Mr Gates told US TV channel PBS the US had learned from its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or to anticipate the counter-insurgency.

Stricter criteria would need to be met on the threat faced and intelligence used before any future strike, he said.

The US invaded Iraq in 2003 on the basis it had or was developing WMD.

No evidence of such weapons has ever been found.

Mr Gates was appointed defence secretary by President George W Bush in 2006, several years after the invasion of Iraq, and has stayed on in the role under the Obama administration.

The concept of a pre-emptive attack is part of what is known as the Bush doctrine.

Speaking to PBS, Mr Gates said: "The lessons learned with the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction and some of the other things that happened will make any future president very, very cautious about launching that kind of conflict or relying on intelligence."

He said any future president would "ask a lot of very hard questions and I think that hurdle is much higher today than it was six or seven years ago".

He added: "I think that the barrier, first of all, will be 'are we going to be attacked here at home?'"

Mr Gates, a former head of the CIA, said the "quality of the intelligence" was another factor to be considered before deciding on a pre-emptive strike.

He said the US's failure to anticipate that the invasion - foreseen as a short conflict - could lead to a protracted counter-insurgency operation "was one of the biggest mistakes that was made".

Jan Klimkowski
03-14-2009, 06:02 PM
The timing of Gates' comments is very interesting.

However, I associate Gates more with George Bush Sr than with Dubya, and George Bush Sr didn't want a permanent US presence in Iraq. He could have marched on Baghdad, and instead backed off, betraying the Kurds and Marsh Arabs, and allowing Saddam to slaughter them.

Bush Sr's MO seemed rather to install client dictators to do the dirty business, and remove (Noriega) or humble (Saddam) them if they showed signs of creaming off too much of the pie.

If that perspective is correct, the invasion of Iraq resulting in a permanent, or near-permanent, US military presence, can be seen more as a neocon move, with Cheney, Abrams, Wolfie & co as the "philosophical" authors.

It's clear to anyone with eyes that countries like Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be "conquered and subdued" by a foreign military presence. The Brits know this. The Russians know this.

I suspect that Rumsfeldian "Shock and Awe", terrorizing the enemy with a huge missile bombardment, and following up with a small, hi-tech, mobile but downsized military commitment, was some sort of neocon wet dream. It promised all the benefits of military invasion with none of the downside of actually having to pay for a huge standing army in a faraway country. Of course, like all neocon wet dreams, it totally failed to deliver as promised.

On the specifics of Gates' comments, he is of course talking bullshit. I'm not at liberty to disclose my source, but I've been told that WMD were discovered by US military intelligence. However, the markings clearly revealed that they were WMD that western companies had sold to Saddam - when he was our buddy. These WMD, our WMD sold to Saddam, will doubtless never be put before MSM cameras.

And so this faux narrative as espoused by Gates continues....