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!