Robert Gates plans to step down on June 30th; Panetta to succeed him

A senior DOD official has said that Robert Gates plans to step down as SECDEF on June 30th.

The sooner Robert Gates leaves the Pentagon, the better. He’s one of the worst, if not the single worst, Defense Secretary America has ever had. So, to Bob Gates, I say “Hey Bob, don’t let the door hit you on your way out!”

I shall devote an article to Gates’ disastrous tenure as SECDEF, which isn’t over yet. But since AP has reported that President Obama intends to nominate Leon Panetta (the current CIA chief) to be the successor to Gates, I would like to point out a few facts:

1) Panetta is not qualified to be Secretary of Defense. His military experience is limited to two years as a junior Army officer. The biggest agency he has ever run is the CIA, with an estimated budget of ca. 5 bn USD per year, and as CIA Director, he cannot credibly claim a single accomplishment.
2) Panetta is a stridently liberal Democrat. He served as President Clinton’s chief of staff from 1993 to 1997. As one of my friends from California rightly said, no one who has ever been Clinton’s chief of staff should be allowed to serve in the Defense Department, for the simple reason that Clinton was one of America’s worst president when it comes to defense issues.
3) It would, however, be pointless for Republicans to try to filibuster Panetta’s confirmation, because whomever Obama nominates would be a strident liberal who would merely serve as Obama’s lapdog implementing drastic defense cuts (Obama has demanded further 400 bn USD cuts to the core defense budget over the next 12 fiscal years). Republicans should focus on the “what” and the “how”, not the “who”.
4) However, during Panetta’s confirmation hearing, Republicans should ask him MANY tough questions and force him to answer each of them clearly, unambigously, and honestly. They should start with the five priority questions formulated by the Heritage Foundation:

So, to conclude: Mr Gates, don’t let the door hit you on your way out!


2 thoughts on “Robert Gates plans to step down on June 30th; Panetta to succeed him”

  1. 1) Osama bin Laden is dead, trove of intelligence gathered from Abbottabad compound (5 computers, 10 hard drives, 100 flash drives–when was the last time this amount of intelligence was recovered?)
    2) Panetta is a former Republican, who submitted a balanced budget to President Clinton as OMB Director (when is the last time a “fiscal conservative” did this?)

  2. 1) One victory does not make a great leader.
    2) Panetta has never submitted a balanced budget proposal, and neither has President Clinton. Clinton did NOT balance the budget, contrary to what is often claimed. The GOP-dominated Congress, led by Newt Gingrich, balanced the budget. They had to shut down the federal government and fight Clinton in order to balance the budget. They had to IMPOSE a balanced budget on him. Clinton never submitted a balanced budget proposal to the Congress; all of his budget proposals foreseed budget deficits for the foreseeable future. In 1995, when Republicans took over the Congress, they promised they would balance the budget within 7 years. The media told them this was impossible. They managed to balance it in four years. Panetta, as Clinton’s OMB Director and WH Chief of Staff, was co-responsible for the Clinton-era defense cuts and should therefore not be allowed to even clean toilets at the Pentagon.

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