Bombing of Vietnam, Air force Intelligence, Robert GatesTue Dec 5, 2006 13:11
Bombing of Vietnam, Air force Intelligence, Robert Gates
Gates spent 1967–69 in the Air Force as an officer in the Strategic Air Command, before joining the CIA full-time as an intelligence analyst. ...
Robert Gates: In His Own Words
November 8, 2006 6:03 p.m.
Robert Gates, who was nominated by President Bush to succeed Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense, has served seven presidents in roles ranging from director of the Central Intelligence Agency to deputy national security adviser. He has commented on a wide range of subjects that he will face as defense chief if he is confirmed by the Senate.
Asked if people should lose their jobs in the wake of 9/11: That assumes that you can eradicate all terrorism, and it seems to me that's on a par with the notion of eradicating all crime. It seems to me the best you can probably hope for is to reduce the threat to a degree where people can live their lives normally, frankly, the way that many European capitals do today. … I think the odds of another major attack are quite high. --2003 interview on CNN.
The great deficiency in American counterterrorism efforts in the summer of 1998 is not strictures against assassination, nor inadequacies in intelligence and law enforcement. The deficiency is political and strategic. It is in the perpetuation of myth and deception and spin by both the executive and legislative branches of our government, by both political parties, who seem unable to level with the American people.
… An unacknowledged and unpleasant reality is that a more militant approach toward terrorism would, in virtually all cases, require us to act violently and alone. No other power will join us in a crusade against terrorism -- in fact, some ''friendly'' governments protect their countries against terrorism by cutting deals with the groups, allowing them operational freedom. No political or economic sanctions would work. Only violence. Only alone. And only if we can figure out how and against whom to retaliate. A third reality is that retributive violence, no matter how massive, almost inevitably begets more violence against us in response. … We will never prevent all -- or even most -- such acts. In the world of real choices, we can protect ourselves better. We can bring some terrorists to justice. But, above all, we can pursue policies and strategies that in the long term weaken terrorism's roots.
… This mix of force and diplomacy, this reliance on patience and planning, the painful realization of more casualties to come, is not satisfying emotionally. It does not quench the thirst for revenge or justice; it does not offer beguilingly simple answers to complex problems and difficult choices. In reality, though, it is the only sustainable course. --August 1998 commentary in the New York Times.
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You don't necessarily have to capture Saddam to bring about regime change. All you have to do is remove him from power, and you can go ahead and try and put in a successor regime at that point. I think it is going to be perhaps somewhat more complicated and difficult than some of the people are saying. But I think it's a manageable task. --2003 interview on CNN.
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On the first Iraq war: I do not believe I would have made decisions or recommendations differently in terms of how we dealt with the end of the war. All of the alternatives to the way things turned out in my judgment would have resulted in the American troops still being in Iraq today. And I believe that the American people would not tolerate that. We accomplished the objectives we set for ourselves. … We believe that enough army divisions were left for the regular army to be able to protect Iraq from intrusions into its territory. But its ability to invade its neighbors have been destroyed -- the Republican Guards.
… We destroyed Iraq's recent nuclear program, and we have now put in place a system of controls that makes it most unlikely that program will be restarted again, at least as long as the U.N. is paying attention.
If the war hadn't been fought, I believe that Iraq would have a nuclear weapon today and more than one nuclear weapon. I believe they would have longer range missiles, I believe there would have been another war by now. Because of Saddam's offensive capabilities. I don't believe we would have maintained 200,000 troops in Saudi Arabia for four years simply to deter further aggression by Saddam. I think that the Gulf would be a far, far more unstable place today, than it now is because we fought the war. --1996 interview with PBS on his role as deputy national security adviser during the first Gulf War.
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The United States -- preferably with the full support of the Security Council, but at least with whatever coalition support it can muster, or alone if necessary -- must act forcibly to remind the Iraqi military that it will pay a heavy price for Mr. Hussein's obduracy, arrogance and defiance. A few dozen missiles launched against Iraq would be an inadequate response. Mr. Hussein has easily absorbed such attacks before and then boasted to his people and his neighbors that he can take whatever the Americans dish out. No, the next strike should be a powerful air and missile campaign targeted on the Republican Guard divisions that sustain Mr. Hussein's regime. That campaign, focused on military targets, should continue until he relents on inspections.
… Surely, we know now that force is the only thing Mr. Hussein understands. We have known since 1990 that faintheartedness disguised as reasonableness in dealing with him is an invitation to further depredations. … Insistence upon full compliance with all United Nations resolutions and enforcement of those resolutions is the only acceptable path. The alternative is a megalomaniac with weapons of mass destruction. -- November 1997 commentary in the New York Times concerning Saddam Hussein's expulsion of weapons inspectors.
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The United States' long lack of direct contact with, and presence in, Iran drastically impedes its understanding of domestic, as well as regional, dynamics. In turn, this reduces Washington's influence across the Middle East in ways that are manifestly harmful to its ultimate interests. Direct dialogue approached candidly and without restrictions on issues of mutual concern would serve Iran's interests. And establishing connections with Iranian society would directly benefit U.S. national objectives of enhancing the stability and security of this critical region. Dialogue between the United States and Iran need not await absolute harmony between the two governments. …
Conversely, however, any significant expansion in the U.S. relationship with Tehran must incorporate unimpeachable progress toward a satisfactory resolution of key U.S. concerns. Political and economic relations with Iran cannot be normalized unless and until the Iranian government demonstrates a commitment to abandoning its nuclear weapons programs and its support for terrorist groups. However, these demands should not constitute preconditions for dialogue. ….
A permanent solution must address the catalysts that drive Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons: its persistent sense of insecurity vis-à-vis both regional rivals and its paramount adversary, the United States. Ultimately, only in the context of an overall rapprochement with Washington will there be any prospect of persuading Iran to make the strategic decision to relinquish its nuclear program.
--Summer 1994 report "Iran: Time for a New Approach" by a task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations he co-chaired with former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.
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On North Korea
A nuclear capability gives the North an edge in Asia: It will have to be taken into account in its own right, not just as some withered appendage that will one day revive when joined with the South.
It is for these reasons that the carrot-without-the-stick strategy of the Americans has failed. There is a myth in the United States that if you offer foreign miscreants the hope of prosperity and membership in good standing in the family of nations, they will abandon whatever malign objectives they might have. This may be true for some, but not for others -- including Iraq and North Korea. … Our options are very limited and all unpalatable. In terms of limiting Pyongyang's arsenal and proliferation potential, the most effective course of action would be a warning to the North not to begin reprocessing their recently extracted nuclear material, forewarning our friends in Asia that we will not allow any further reprocessing, and then destroying the reprocessing plant if the North ignores us. … The lack of credible - much less attractive - options at this stage should at least leave us with a lesson for the future: We must not again underestimate the intentions of rogue nations. --June 1994 commentary in Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
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One result of the tragically mistaken bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade last week is the ritual search in Washington for human sacrifice, someone to blame. … China's outrage is justified and the United States has issued an official apology. But I also believe the bombing of the embassy has provided a pretext and opportunity for China to vent its broader outrage at NATO's intervention to right wrongs in a sovereign country -- a precedent that both Russia and China find most unsettling. I am certain that the Chinese Government is puzzled and angry at the United States for a number of reasons right now, and the bombing is a good chance to show it. We ought to have learned from Soviet history that Communist leaders in these huge empires -- Soviet and Chinese -- are isolated and paranoid and often attribute motives and scheming to the United States that we might find laughable.
One thing that doubtless mystifies leaders in both Beijing and Moscow is why we are willing to risk our relationship with them over Kosovo. As one sees the Administration alternately and unpredictably anger and appease both countries, Americans too might welcome some indication of a strategy or set of general principles for dealing with these two powers so as to protect future stability in Asia and in Europe, even while we deal with the multitude of real issues that are raised by their behavior -- and ours.
The bombing of the Chinese Embassy seems to be a tragic yet simple mistake. But it raises deeper questions about what has happened to our military and intelligence establishment, about our expectations in fighting an ugly war, and about American strategy. Some answers would be nice.
--May 1999 commentary in the New York Times following the U.S.'s accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.
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On the Military
One of my experiences over the years, in Washington, as I have watched different Presidents deal with the military and I worked in the White House for four Presidents and attended decision meetings under five, is that contrary to mythology, the biggest doves in Washington wear uniforms. And I think that particularly after Vietnam they are very leery of feather-merchants of civilians, greying notions of using military force to accomplish a range of objectives however sensible or justified they may be. And I think that they try, perhaps even un-consciously, not only to exaggerate the level of forces that will be required to accomplish a specific objective but the casualties as well, in the hope of forcing a sanity check on the politicians or on the civilian experts who have no concept of what it is like to sit there and watch a young soldier bleed and die. And I think that these guys also think that war in the situation room is too clinical. And that we don't have an appreciation for what it is really like, and that they would prefer to avoid the use of military force at all cost.
Some of the biggest debates that I have ever witnessed in the situation room on this problem and on dozens of others was the debate between the Military representatives and the State Department representatives. With the State Department representatives arguing for the use of military force and the military officers arguing for the use of diplomacy. So I think it is a cultural thing and I don't second guess the military on that, I think that their concerns are justified, because I have seen a lot of civilians make a lot of proposals for a lot of silly military actions that eventually did not take place. So I understand their caution.
--1996 interview with PBS on his role as deputy national security adviser during the first Gulf War.
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More than a few CIA veterans -- including me -- are unhappy about the dominance of the Defense Department in the intelligence arena and the decline in the CIA's central role. The agency has a different, though still critically important, role to play in defending America, both through human source collection and civilian analysis.
In the old structure, the relationship between the director of central intelligence and the president's national security adviser was key to the agency's role and effectiveness. Now the key relationship will be between the director of the CIA and the [director of national intelligence]. Antagonism and bureaucratic resistance toward the DNI would further diminish the CIA's place in the national security arena. How better to forge a strong relationship than to place Negroponte's deputy, Hayden, in the leadership role at the CIA? It also would be a partnership important to re-establishing a strong civilian institutional counterbalance and alternative strategic intelligence perspective to the historically strong Defense Department intelligence arm.
--May 2006 commentary in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
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For the first time in over 30 years a president has chosen to keep an incumbent director of Central Intelligence originally selected by a president of the other party -- even if only for a transitional period. George Tenet, in the weeks or months that remain to him in his post, must persuade the new president and his national security team to place the urgent problems facing the intelligence community near the top of their agenda.
No challenge is more pressing than remedying the cumulative effect of 15 years of insufficient investment in American intelligence capabilities. …
Mr. Tenet's first challenge will be to persuade the new secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to collaborate in preparing a sustainable, multi-year program for reinvestment in U.S. intelligence capabilities -- above all, the National Security Agency -- and then to persuade the president and Congress to find the money. … [Another] challenge for Mr. Tenet is the development of a close working relationship with Mr. Rumsfeld. Throughout the Reagan and Bush years, the secretary of defense and the CIA director had breakfast together every week, year in, year out, and this resulted in a highly productive collaboration. This has not been the case for some years now. A close relationship needs to be developed from day one to assure that no time is lost.
I was fortunate that the secretary of defense while I was director of Central Intelligence was Dick Cheney, a well-informed, engaged and constructively critical user of intelligence. He was very supportive in helping to see we had the resources we needed -- or at least were protected from some of the more drastic budget cuts. He was an invaluable partner for me, in the White House and with Congress.
President Bush needs to say unequivocally -- and early on -- that he attaches a high priority to rebuilding U.S. intelligence capabilities, and he needs to ensure that his national security team supports that view. Colin Powell has underscored the need for new resources for the Department of Sta
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