Thursday, November 20, 2008

Benefit of the Doubt

Should Pres. Barack Obama keep Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at his post? Looks like it may happen. I can’t say I’m thrilled with the idea, but I’m willing to trust Obama’s judgment.

Some Obama fans may be horrified to see anything short of an crisp, clean break from President Bush and immediate abandonment of his foreign/war policies. But there’s something to remember -- Gates was already a repudiation of Bush’s war policies. After 2006, Bush was forced to fire Donald Rumsfeld and pretty much acknowledge that everything in Iraq up to that point had been a total disaster.

Gates is not a neo-con. He’s not a Rove-ite. He’s not part of that inner Bush circle that ransacked the federal government, politicizing everything they could and burning the rest to the ground. If President-elect Obama says he can work with this guy, then I believe him.

I can’t stand Republicans who would drive this country into a brick wall just to spite the Democrats. I can’t stand Republicans who confuse reckless ignorance with “principles.” The last thing I want is for President-elect Obama to start mimicking that behavior. If he did, that would represent a far more dangerous continuation of President Bush’s behavior than keeping Gates in charge of the Defense Department.

If President-elect Obama says the best thing for our nation and our troops is to keep Gates around another 6-18 months for a slower, more gradual changeover, then I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

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