News that gets my goat..
Defense Secretary Robert Gates made headlines recently for a speech he gave at the US Military Academy at West Point. This is being called his ‘farewell tour’ as he has announced that he will retire this year. The speech made headlines because he quoted Douglas MacArthur, saying that 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 …” and that The U.S. army should not “turn into a Victorian nation-building constabulary — designed to chase guerrillas, build schools or sip tea.”
This struck me as another example of the ‘retirement syndrome’ James Carroll wrote about in his Pentagon history “House of War,” where retired officials suddenly see the error of our ways and urge us to turn our swords into ploughshares. Henry Stimson, Dwight Eisenhower, Robert McNamara, and now Robert Gates?
Not so fast. According to Ret. USN Commander Jeff Huber at his Pen and Sword blog, “Robert Gates’ proposed Pentagon spending cuts are likely to have as much effect of the deficit as flushing your toilet has on El Nino. Recent announcements of the military’s new age of austerity were the same balderdash we’ve been hearing from the warmongery’s bull feather merchants since President Dwight Eisenhower warned us, in his 1961 farewell speech, that the emergence of a military-industrial complex could lead to a “disastrous rise of misplaced power.”
Check it out, another great post by Huber, author of the darkly funny “Bathtub Admirals.” In the comments, one of his readers gives a shout-out to Juanita Jean’s Worlds Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, another one of my faves. Small world.