Robert M. Gates: One Word From the Truth
The new Secretary of Defense came so close to saying the truth on his first day in office. It was as if he was trying to communicate the real deal, but in an acceptable format for his new boss. The brain is so good at sending secret signals of what we really believe. Here's how he put it: “All of us want to find a way to bring America’s sons and daughters home again. But as the president has made clear, we simply cannot afford to fail in the Middle East. Failure in Iraq would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility and endanger Americans for decades to come.” If he just replaced "would" with "will", you have a devastatingly accurate picture of reality:
“Failure in Iraq will be a calamity that will haunt our nation, impair our credibility and endanger Americans for decades to come.”
After all, that's what has really happened, and I'm sure Robert Gates knows it. He certainly didn't try the administration's tired old line that we are marching to victory on this. Nobody tries shoveling that anymore. Gates is quite aware that he didn't get the job because the plan was working so well with Donald Rumsfeld. Of course supporters of the administration will insist this isn't how the new Secretary of Defense feels at all. It's wrong to read into his words. He may even believe in this mission as much as the President is pretending to - that things will eventually turn out great.
Maybe so, but I was amused to see the Yahoo News headline about the comment. Apparently, I wasn't alone in hearing a slightly different message. Here's the headline from early this morning: "Gates: Failure in Iraq will haunt U.S."
And so it goes.
Gates: Failure in Iraq will haunt U.S. - Yahoo! News