Gates Faults U.S. Allies on Afghan War

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sharply rebuked allies at a NATO meeting for effectively abandoning the war.

Comments: 103

  1. Perhaps the allies just realized before Gates did that these hopeless wars are destructive to all participants.

  2. Bravo Europe...! Don't let this guy bully you into a futile endeavor that is losing "the hearts and minds" of the Middle East each and every day! This war is nothing but a resume builder for Obama to look tough for possible repulican votes!

  3. Were these allies ever willing partners in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? I was my impression that President Bush dragged them in.

    Maybe Mr. Gates should propose that the USA get out too.

  4. Europe and military defense? They wouldn't even give much help when Bosnians were being slaughtered in their own back yard. It was up to the US to do the job.

  5. Adding more dead to attempt to give meaning to those already dead in this war is pointless. Face it, General Gates, we have been fighting another of those failure wars that have become out habit in the past 50 years. Lost lives aside, the dollars spent on these wars might have just as well been burned in a pile. Money spent on war is lost money--spend on a road, health care, education and you add to the GNP--spend on a war and you get burned up ordinance sitting in the deserts, wealthy contractors and war lords and a hole in the national budget.
    I do appreciate General Gates resistance to becoming militarily involved in the revolts in the middle east. Put in a toe ("no fly zone") and you discover you are in it up to your neck.

  6. Gates is correct. However, having said that, we must recognize that because of the criminally mistaken policy of the W Administration's unneeded invasion of Iraq, 6 to 7 years of opportunity were wasted in Afghanistan. They, the allies, could do more; but they alone are not to blame.

  7. This explains Obama's reluctance to rush into Libya.Europe always makes the right noises loudly, expecting the United States to do the rest.American backlash from Iraq and Afghanistan seems to be benefiting Gaddafi now,leaving Sarkozy to dance alone.

  8. Now that Secretary Gates is "known" to be retiring before long, he is speaking out on a number of issues with unusual candor. The question is: are these simply his personal (and usually well-informed) comments, or is he doing the work of the Administration, saying things it would like out there, but that the President believes he personally should not be saying publicly at this point?

  9. What a disaster this is, a war started by dumb, and dumber in office over ten years ago, with the goal of capturing and bringing to justice Osama Bin Laden. Well America, where is he? The cost for his capture now is in the trillions of dollars. Where is the justice of staying the course here as there are as many civilian casualties as there are insurgents. Once our nation was engaged in a war with foreign invaders, they were an empire, and men like Washington, Jefferson, and Adams made sure that to be truly free is not to aspire to become an empire but to administer justice and truth in ones own land. If the Afghani's want to be truly free they will have to earn it themselves.
    While our schools are closing, our infrastructure is crumbling, and the benefits of those who serve as teachers, public servants, and health care are under scrutiny our wars are still raging in lands our fore fathers never even heard of. General Gates will retire with lots of medals on his chest, but he is no Eisenhower, he is no Bradley, he is no Patton, he is closely resembling Westmoreland who promised the Vietnam conflict would be over quickly. Remember your past America, and perhaps you can save your future.

  10. This ally, Canada, was dragged into the endless war as an alternative to participating in Iraq.

    Too many Canadian soldiers have been killed in a pointless venture that should be ended tomorrow, and only our warlords know how many civilians have died.

    Blaming the allies now for the stupidity of a war on Afghanis that will never end with a victory is the height of arrogant stupidity.

    The war needs to be abandoned.

  11. With the sounds of Kabul residents being blown to bloody pieces now echoing in Karzei's ears, he will be forced to join with the Taliban in a coalition government. Victory will have been declared, freshly liberated school children and women will be paraded about, peace shall reign! Both "equal partners", that is until the cameras are switched off. Then, surely as night follows day, Karzei will be dumped overboard, along with his "liberated" citizens. And thus, our "mission in Afghanistan" will sink with nary a murmur, a footnote for a gravestone. Amnesia will block our ears and blind our eyes, -a mere channel flick away. Afghanistan will fall to the floor, the discarded toy of a malevolent child.

    Worry not, nor envy the psychopath's sleep, for the horror we have wrought. All corpses rot to dust, and true human remains are found only in the minds of orphans and hearts of widows. And they too do soon turn to dust. And for all here who "loved" our troops, who brayed for the bombs, the air strikes, the torture and the murder, who cheered the bravery of our soldiers, will dare not brave the stares of our victims: here come the bereaved, zombied by misery, their eyes painted in pictures of their dead. They trail galleries of the thousands, hundreds of thousands killed for nothing but our policy failures. What one thousandth child would not break your faith, what one thousandth child would not now, in the candle light of your private thought, make every cheek blush?

    Take heart, it is almost over. We still yet have a few more of our young men to sacrifice. As life's last light leaves the eyes of another dead soldier, who in the acute brilliance of their youth and innocence, set down childish things to take up our banners, and die in this wasteland, please whisper a reason. Say anything, pretend anything, give them something to hold on to.

    Only you who support this war will be left alone to live with your reasons.

  12. "Threatening tenuous progress"? This sounds like a preparation for blaming others for the defeat. The United States has half of the world's military expenses, and only the U.S. has the materiel needed for invading and occupying Afghanistan. Other countries were added entirely for PR purposes, and their handful of soldiers were given the most peaceful areas that could be found. Look at Sweden, for example. Then there were East European countries who realized that economic benefits could come from going along with the Afghanistan occupation.

    And so European countries participated in an illegal occupation that produces new war crimes every month. Thereby drawing the ire of those who resist the occupation. The December bombing in Stockholm is one example. Yet these retaliations are then used as a sign that the "Islamofascists" "hate us for our freedom."

    Money lost, lives lost, and nations mired in lies. It is a sad chapter in European history.

  13. Well said Mr. Gates, our allies reap the benefits of a world order that we have paid to maintain. It's about time for them to do some of the keep doing some of the light lifting. It's a shame that so many commenting here seem to have forgotten 9/11 - or they claim it was our own fault. Talk about blaming the victim...

  14. I wholeheartedly second RC (Nr.1) and David Watts (nr.2). The NATO involvement in Afghanistan is an illegitimate occupation from onset on - not a war with legitimate goals.

  15. Secretary Gates,

    If Britain leaves, then we Americans should know that the ''gig is up''. There has never been in recent history a more loyal ally to the US than the British. And although the war in Afghanistan may have, long ago, had some noble purpose (now lost to history, god knows) and you may be defending upstanding people in the present American military mission involved in it, that does not mean that the Afghanistan War can or should be saved. It's just too late, Secretary Gates. Bring our troops home - pronto.

  16. Ah wait a minute....unwilling allies, seems an oxymoron to me. They were never willing partners, and should not be. Amazing we are fighting a war that again we can not win. And a war that our friends and allies have done their best to keep us out of....but Bush threw down the gauntlet, and unfortunately Obama has not yet recognized that no country likes to be invaded and taken over. Afgan has resisted occupiers for centuries. Why is it going to be different now. And guess what, we would resist occupiers, and foreign troops shooting civilians. What is the difference.

  17. Time to limit our selves to places that give our military support and to humanitarian efforts... if the Middle East or Eastern Europe goes up... let Europe bear the burden.

  18. Why are we still there after almost 10 years? We must end the wars and “significantly” reduce the bloated military budget. The US spends almost as much as the rest of the world combined. The budget has tripled since 1997. Even if we cut spending in half that would still be more than current and potential adversaries. Out-of-control spending on outdated weapons, an excess of military bases, and endless wars doesn't increase our security, it only destroys our economy.

    Military-Industrial Complex from Eisenhower to Obama. How the Military-Industrial Complex Evolved into the Permanent War State.

    “Every major war--Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam--have turned out to be failures, massive failures, and costly failures, of course. In the case of these wars, we're talking about trillions of dollars of cost, which the United States simply cannot afford. Now, I would add that we face--I mean, not we, but the military-industrial alliance, what I call the PERMANENT WAR STATE, face a serious set of obstacles to remaining--to maintaining their power: first of all, the failure of the wars; secondly, the fiscal crisis; and thirdly, the clear majority of the American people want to cut the military budget, know that it has to be cut for the health of US economy. So they're very vulnerable at this point.”

  19. Just like Iraq the only foreign troops left will be American. Before the next election(2014/15) all the British troops are to have quit combat roles. Others will go faster,some have gone already. The war started from the premise held by the American political elites that America was a military Hyper Power without peer. As it ends the belief grows among other political elites that it is an overextended power lacking basic common sense.

  20. Let's get out of Afghanistan right now and work on restoring our failing domestic policy. C'mon, Obama, we voted for you and are waiting for you to prove that you will not sink us in Republican high seas.

  21. We had no business going there, putting our brave soldiers at great risk. Time to pull out and come home, in spite of losing our face in the eyes of the world. The Brits didn't, the Russians didn't and now we didbn't succeed. Put a stop to wasting money on useless wars, and spend that at home on improving roads, transportation and infrastructure maintainance, providing jobs.

  22. Secretary Gates shouldn't be complaining. The drug and money business is doing fine in Afghanistan. Opium production is at all-time record high. And, the country is secure enough for Karzai and his cronies to have taken more than $3 billion of cash out of Afghanistan between 2007 and 2010.

  23. Of course N.A.T.O. is pulling out. They have a clue: the war aims can't be achieved, and failing to achieve it comes at a murderous cost and price tag, so it isn't worth it.

    Ironically, President Obama campaigned on doing the exact same thing: pulling the plug on another hopeless overseas military operation that serves the enemy more than it serves us, because it's bankrupting us. But, after his election, the U.S. Defense establishment decided it wanted to win in Afghanistan come-what-may, so it circled the wagons and sold him a bill of goods. And, from what I gather, watching it (and him) dither and blather while Libya burns, they just did it again, because it just happened again. The U.S. Defense establishment still wants to win its war in Afghanistan. It sees any support delivered to Libya's disorganized, unarmed rebels as a subtraction of assets from the Afghan theater of operations -- so, it opposes it; talk about idiots.

    Obviously, the President hasn't learned anything from that first snow job, two years ago. Meanwhile, we've accomplished next-to-nothing of lasting value on the ground in Afghanistan, and at ruinous cost. Now, we're facing a budget crisis of immense proportions, in no small part thanks to a President didn't follow his initial instinct and pull the plug on the whole Afghanistan operation.

  24. Do not depend upon the people of Europe (EU) for support in this matter.
    It seems to me they have exhausted themselves as nations in military matters. Just consider how long they have been fighting and waging wars among themselves for a variety of reasons.
    It may be that they have learned a lesson regarding co-existence and tolerance that the US has yet to learn and take to heaart.

  25. Welcome to Afghanistan, where empires come to die - and they die along with their "coalition of the un-willing". Johan Galtung, Chalmers Johnson & Nr.11-Neocynic's prediction of the END is right - Take heart, it is almost over.

  26. One poster, says that the world has "reaped the benefits of a world order" that we have maintained, must be about two years old and does not remember what occurred after 9/11.
    Perhaps, IF we had pursued our initial goal in Afghanistan and CAPTURED bin Laden, when we had the opportunity, instead of going after the oil fields in Iraq, we would not be in this mess.
    Everyone in the Bush Administration involved in this debacle, should be serving time. Some for murder!
    Brisbane CA

  27. I supported revenge in Afghanistan against Osama Bin Forgotten and the hundreds of his followers, but not the assasination in Iraq. Now, ten years later, everyone is still killing in some insane never-ending bloodlust. Its amazing to me that our leaders behind this bloodbath are allowed to walk free, and not restrained in an asylum. Ten Years my friends. Its just plain insane, and germany and britain are walking away from the crazy war. Perhaps they are sane.
    What shocks me the most is the warriors will be worshiped like false Gods when they return. And military dominance of our government and social fabric will continue. It sure is a crazy world, isnt it?

  28. Most of us Europeans want nothing to do with this war. The way to deal with terrorists is to issue warrants for their arrest not wreak havoc and destruction against an entire country and further destabilize the region.

  29. Could Mr. Gates' rant be a sign that the US Treasury is broke and that he wants the taxpayers of other nations to pay for this folly? Every country, including Canada and France, continually stated that Iraq was the wrong target after 9/11. Furthermore, Afghanistan is a waste of time.

    The real targets should have been the Saudi royals and the solution a sharp guillotine. I mean, isn't that despicable monarchy the financier of madrassas and wahabbist ideology? Were any of the terrorists in the planes on 9/11 Iraqis or Afghans?

    Furthermore, the citizens of NATO countries see the US mired in a spiral of debt, owed in large part to the costly and unwinnable war on terror (and isn't war a form of terror which foments resentment and resistance?). They do no want a fiscal burden to be added to their woes.

    The US will eventually have to come to the same conclusion that it did with North Vietnam and graciously bow out.

  30. The government directed military strategy is destroying our country economically and idealogically. Homeland Security, Borderpatrols, FBI, Secret Service, State Police, Local Police, Army, Airforce, Navy, Marines, ATF, DEA, AG's, SEC, National Guard, Special Forces, Green Barrets, FDA, and many other government protection bureas, are doing what? Spying and infringing on the peoples freedoms. Is that what the original founders wanted for their nation? Where is the spirited debate? Where is the rule of the people?

  31. Yes, Mr. Gates, we must try to oppose democracy in other countries. Our military industrial complex has successfully subverted ours. What's wrong with your leaders just ignoring the public like ours do here?

  32. Based on what I’ve heard recently, “getting the job done right” means securing US hegemony in Pakistan, isolating Iran, holding Israel and Saudi Arabia free from harm, no matter what they do, backing the US’s current favorite general in Egypt and playing China off against India.

    The EU/NATO crowd would do well to think long and hard before they sign on this agenda.

  33. Gates is berating them for tiring of ten years of war without any resolution in sight? This isn't the Trojan War, dude. Time is money, and the allies have lost patience with U.S. leadership.

  34. Happy @20 sez: "C'mon, Obama, we voted for you and are waiting for you to prove that you will not sink us in Republican high seas."
    It's been a long wait, eh? What did you expect from someone whose entire political career consisted of 3 years in the corruption-wracked Illinois Senate, during which he voted "present" 133 times? Even on pre-approved party line votes! "It's above my pay grade," Obama famously said.
    Keep waiting. Be patient. He's a one-termer, no doubt.

  35. Bush's Generals, Bush's DOD; I wonder if Barry even talks to these guys or just signs blank authorizations! Bravo for Europe, what point at all does NATO have in Asia except to support the imperial ambitions of America and its war profiteers? This has got to be one the greatest wastes of national treasure every done; but of course we don't believe in history and we are exceptional peoples... so our tomfoolery will naturally be epic in scope and ruinous in affect!

  36. ...but he said that the United States was spending $120 billion a year on the war and, like the allies, had suffered more casualties in 2010 than in any other previous year of the war. “America is willing to do the lion’s share of the burden,” he said, “but we cannot do it alone.”

    I must be apart of another "America." Aside from the ignorant and incompetent, I do not know anyone who is OK with spending $120 billion a year fighting an unjust war.

  37. Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. It has destroyed the USSR and now is the turn of the USA

  38. Please forgive us as Canadians for not wanting to support you any longer in your foreign policy misadventures. It's just difficult to believe that it's worth sacrificing our lives and treasure to you fight for democracy, human rights, and security from Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan (and Iraq) while you are so busy propping up myriad dictatorships who stand for just the opposite in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and until recently Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. We're also not really convinced that fighting to uphold the rule of notoriously corrupt, ex-US oil executive, Karzai is worth further Canadian lives. I'm sorry but your reluctance, and belated support, in backing the democratic uprisings in Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, and Egypt whose dictators you supported due to their oil and pro-Israel policies have made your motives transparent.

  39. Gates, should thank the Europeans. The Europeans should critize Gates for dragging into Afghanistan & Europeans should slap themselves for being dupped into Iraq & Afghanistan. The US is trying to build a Roman Empire, except homebase is in Washington. US is smart, get the Chinese to work for 25 cents/hour to make products & selling for 25 dollars/hour and with Chinese cash to invest into US treasuries. To get oil the US taps into European military coffers but with US command to do dirty work. US borrows & abuses others money for its own gain for 50 yrs, I am starting to hear that even normal citizens of foreign countries are catching wind of this. "You can fool all the people some of the time & some of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time." Author? who cares, it makes sense

  40. In the end, the Taliban in Afghanistan will be the biggest winners because they represent the will of the tribal Pashtun people, who view them brethren rather than as oppressors or interlopers.
    The Pakistan intelligence service will also win. They seek to reap billions in profits from controlling the cross border drug trade. They have been planning this for over 20 years, once the soviets were out of the way, using surrogates (the Taliban) to impose total control while they leave mountain passes accessible, and cutting deals with the Tajiks to move the product.
    The Taliban screwed up by allowing radical wackos like al queda to squat in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan, to the dismay of their Pakistan masters, which in turn bought on American interference in the whole operation. The Pakistan intelligence service will eventually extinguish al queda and let the Taliban slip back into Afghanistan to control vital supplies, as soon the Europeans and Americans leave, so heroin profits can be had once again.
    Pakistan will request US assistance for show (Special Forces, CIA drones, DEA / FBI manpower, and money), so we can assess their needs and help them out. But let it be moderate Sunnis who ask for western assistant to fight radical Sunnis, not imposed action.
    Al queda is dead but that they just don’t know it yet. The Pakis will do the hunting and killing with CIA technology and support. The CIA will be a winner too, since in return for services, they will get a cut of the drug money like it has out of Laos and Nicaragua. The Europeans will have left too soon and be out of the money round.
    In the end, the USA objectives will be met. Al queda in that region will be extinguished and we will have gained an enlarged and permanent CIA presence, which we only possessed on a small scale in the mid 80’s. All this noise about other objectives is just cover and smoke. Sunni Muslims deal with their Sunni Muslim mess with our limited help.
    Besides the Europeans, the biggest loser will be most of the US Army. What suckers! Mislead and mistreated as tools, the few smart ones would have moved into CIA SOG teams with the hope to earn a percent of the action that they can bank in Zurich. The rest will suffer from PTS syndrome and face underfunded VA clinics state side.

  41. No surprise there. The Europeans long ago lost their nerve. Enfeebled small countries, overwhelmed by faltering economies, Muslim immigrants, Londonistan, etc. The detritus of Empire. No shortage of homegrown terrorists there. Someone said "The west will end not with a bang, but with a whimper." Watch it unfold.
    OUT NOW! Out of Afghani and Iraq. Let it lapse into the genocides of Bosnia and Rwanda - or become part of Greater Iran. It's unstoppable without the Europeans shoulder to shoulder with us, rather than the timid police & rear-guard functions they cower behind as UN or coalition forces (Brits excepted.) We can do nothing about Libya, or Sudan, or even piracy. We cut and run in Beirut in 1982, and in Somalia in 1996. We can do nothing about the other kleptocracies and Islamofascist dictatorships. It's the new realpolitik.

  42. Frankly Gates, in his little farcical tirade, focuses attention on how ridiculous US policy is and has been for a decade.

    When America wanted to win a war against far more powerful enemies, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy AND Imperial Japan, come to mind, and we defeated them ALL at the same time, in only four years! Yet after TEN years in Afghanistan the US is still fighting a tiny war against a couple thousand Taliban (the Pentagon's own numbers say 3 or 4 thousand fighters!) let me repeat, after TEN years!? Is ridiculous too strong a word? There are 170 thousand NATO and US troops in Afghanistan! Ridiculous is too mild a word to describe US policy, and not only in Afghanistan. Gates is a longtime part of this policy farce, in both Bush and Obama administrations. How long does Gates need to win this tiny asinine war? Can he give a rough timeline? 20 more years? Thirty? Ridiculous. Absurd. Disgusting. What a joke.

    This is about money for big defense contractors. There can be no other rational explanation. No government could be this stupid, except intentionally.

    Sorry, this makes me very angry.

  43. Finally our European allies have seen the light and its not at the end of the tunnel. There departure from this hellish war that Bush dragged them into has finally come. What a horrible mistake for the people of this country and the people of Afghanistan to be duped into a war that was supposed to bring peace,Democracy and security to a country considered a member of the third world and needed to be "democratized" by a blood thirsty empire which thrives on blood and war to extend their empire.
    Had the governments of Europe used their common sense they would never have had to send troops to support a war that,even when it is inevitably lost, would have posed no threat to them.
    I applaud them for taking their own path by exiting this bloody,asinine exercise in futility.

  44. #9: "What a disaster this is, a war started by dumb, and dumber in office over ten years ago, with the goal of capturing and bringing to justice Osama Bin Laden."
    Were you born after 1990? You should read Claire Sterling's groundbreaking expose, "The Terror Network", from 1973 or so. To blame whomever you mean by "dumb, and dumber" is no different than blaming John Edwards's sexual escapades on Bill Clinton. How inane.
    Can you say, "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc."?

  45. Too bad the Taleban didnt invade Poland or Belgium... that seems to be the only way to get the Europeans to fight... apart from the thought of more colonies.

  46. Apparently, Gates is now delusional.

    While I know he is a very fine public servant and has truly been an outstanding Sec of Defense (at least compared with his hideous and corrupt predecessor), it is sheer folly to contend that Afghanistan is winnable, or is in any way in the interests of the U.S.A.

    Our allies have been patient, but let's not ask them to be fools. They pulled out when it was obviously a boondoggle of gigantic proportions.

    We are wasting tons of money and lives in a pointless war that serves only the GOP's large campaign funders, the defense industry. Shame, shame on them!


    Get out of this idiotic war RIGHT NOW!!

  47. The tinny sound of appeasement: #20 -"Afgan has resisted occupiers for centuries. Why is it going to be different now. And guess what, we would resist occupiers, and foreign troops shooting civilians. What is the difference."
    The difference is that Americans do not do the hideous things to women, to children, to fellow citizens, to outsiders, and to non-Islamic persons that the Islamofascists in Afghanistan do to each other, and to NW Pakistan, and to Israel, thru their terrorist sanctuaries and training camps.
    Stop your false equivalence.

  48. What a nerve the permanent representative of our perpetual war machine has to lecture other countries for having the courage to abandon the waging of a pointless and absurd war.

    Gates and his fellow puppet Obama of our permanent war machine should be in the dock at the International Criminal Court at the Hague for their role in the slaughter of innocents in Afghanistan.

  49. So Obama's promises regarding Afghanistan continue to be diluted and look less and less credible. From something like "Let's get the job done quickly and get out of there," it turned into "Let's begin the withdrawal in the summer of 2011," to "Let's begin the withdrawal as conditions permit," and now to an almost meaningless withdrawal. Gates does a remarkable doublespeak, insisting on the one hand how much work remains unfinished, while extolling the great progress made to date. Surely most Americans must, after 10 years, be incredulous about the justifications for this war, and they must be wondering whose interests their government is serving by perpetuating it.

  50. Gates is not correct. The US abandoned Afghanistan when it decided to turn its attention to an illegal invasion of Iraq and committed money, men & materiel to the 7 year detour that is Iraq. The "allies" are only following the US' lead.

  51. "Spying and infringing on the peoples freedoms. Is that what the original founders wanted for their nation? Where is the spirited debate? Where is the rule of the people?"
    The spirited debate is right here, I should think. Bring it. As for "spying", the London borough of Wandsworth has more public surveillance comeras than Sydney, Australia, and many cities with 10x Wandworth's population. Perhaps they've misplaced their copy of the Magna Carta.
    Otherwise, I'd say about 80% of modern American life does not comport with what "the original founders wanted." For starters, recall their obiter dicta: "That government is best that governs least."? What went wrong? Can we lay it off on the NJEA, or the Voting Rights Act? Who knew?

  52. The overwhelmingly negative comments on this forum about Gates' comments are overwhelmingly correct. We will get little more from the Afghan government than we got from the new Iraqi leaders...massive corruption.

    The Russians tried for 9 years to win militarily in Afghanistan...and failed. We know NOTHING more about fighting there than the Russians did. The smartest thing they did was to quit and that is exactly what we should do.

    Our trillion dollar war efforts (and counting) should be replaced with an American Doctrine...which says that if any nation is found conclusively to have supported violence on our shores, then their infrastructure...including military command and control, communications and power distribution will be FLATTENED...after which we will LEAVE until any new violence is perpetrated upon us, at which point we will knock them down again.

    We could accomplish such strikes in just a few days and at a cost of lives and treasure that would be tiny in relation to what we have spent in decade-long wars that we are either losing or which resulted in the birth of massively corrupt regimes.


  53. So because your "allies" are tired of walking down this road to NOWHERE, he gets mad? Since he is so right, why is he afraid to go it alone? Guess that old saying applies here, "Misery Loves Company"!!!

  54. Although Robert Gates is much smarter than Ronald Dumsfeld, Gates is a nincumpoop when it comes to Afghanistan. When Bush and Cheney decided to invade Iraq to profit their corporate supporters, Bush and Cheney also abandoned our troops in Afghanistan with NO leadership, NO mission and NO strategy, and the outcome of the war in Afghanistan were decided. WE LOST.

    And Bush and Cheney THANK you folks at the NY TIMES for helping out since the TIMES didn't bother to even cover Afghanistan in any meaningful way between 2003 and 2008. Of course, you folks in the media didn't cover Bush and Cheney's embrace of Qaddafi as our friend in exchange for access to Libyan oil.

  55. Never should have gone in--sadly, we're in Afghanistan for the gas routes and in Iraq for the oil routes-

    America, seemingly doomed with your addiction to oil,gas , the pentagon and Wall Street--when will you come to your senses and stop despoiling the planet? (there is still time)

  56. 38. Observing Canada "forgive us as Canadians for not wanting to support you any longer in your foreign policy misadventures."
    Got it. Stand down, boyos. Well done, harrumph!
    If we need any traffic police or cooks far behind the point of the spear again, we'll call ya.

  57. What is Gates talking about?? Look at the allies have done their part in Afghanistan, unlike the pseudocoalition that left the US with over 90% of the casualties in Iraq. Apparently the US isn't bored enough with the Afghan thing to leave--or others aren't seeing the same cost-benefit totals that the US is seeing, apparently. I thing it's just that Brits and their former colonists have a cultural thing about needing to fight in Afghanistan. Sherlock and Watson, you know--'an old Afghan wound.' Gets you covered with glory and gets you a good pension that no Wisconsin or Jersey governor will ever suggest cutting. Our softer, less Prussian militarism demands an outlet: other than that, Afghanistan isn't really seriously about anything. The killing is meaningless on all sides. It always peters out, never for rational reasons.

  58. Oh, BobGates -- just when you started making sounds like a sane person -- upon your exit from public life -- you talk garbage like this. OUT!! NOW!! Every minute we spend pouring money and blood into that country is a minute wasted!! There is no getting it right there. You yourself can't define what "getting it right" even means!!

  59. Let's not chastise our allies. Let's join them. Bring all of our troops home now.

  60. In case there is any doubt, this should make it clear that Gates is a solid part of our problem. If our Allies were really smart they never would have let us bully them into getting involved at all -- of course Tony Blair's role as Bush's poodle is a whole special category of "devotion".

  61. 53. Doc Port au Prince "So because your "allies" are tired of walking down this road to NOWHERE, he gets mad? Since he is so right, why is he afraid to go it alone?"
    Imagine that. From Haiti, no less. How's that American earthquake relief working out for ya, Doc? With 3 1/2 wars and a collapsing economy, we still took in thousands of Haitians - not for the first time - and fed millions of others, etc.
    Don't bite the hand that feeds ya, lest your earthquake relief suddenly shrink, as did Pakistan's.

  62. The Europeans are learning very fast the new world we live in with the Arab world liberation movements going on, while Gates is still living the old colonial thinking, he should have been at Peter King hearing about Muslim and why they become radicals, his bombing of innocents Muslim women and children in their land, and refusing to save the life of the free people uprising in Libya from the Qaddafi bloodbath, is very disturbing to all Arabs and Muslims

  63. Defense contractors have too much at stake to let this war die. They have been making fortunes off sales to the DoD, and their profits must not fall, otherwise the stock market will plummet and what will happen to our wonderful capitalistic economy then?

    No, there will always be a reason to wage "war," even if we have to invent one (vide Iraq). At least we have the consolation of being the #1 arms dealer on the planet. That brings in billions, although how much goes to the US Treasury, who knows.

  64. When you send citizens to die, using deceit and lies to rally support, you NEED to win in order to keep up the charade. So, if it means to send thousands more to their death, spend trillions more, so be it. It is needed to legitimize the mission.

    Americans are nothing but empty shirts – if you really cared about these young men and women, you’d get them out of there, you’d be in the streets demanding the return of your sons and daughters. But you don’t, because you need to legitimize your own blind lust for revenge. And so you send more to die in lands where locals say to US Marines “what do you want from us; we are farmers, not soldiers”.

  65. Was wondering how long it would take for anti-Bush sentiment to rear its hoary head. Thank you, @3 ShowMe, for not keeping me waiting past the third post.

  66. And how does Gates expect Britain to continue to finance this never-ending war the US began, especially when he comes as a guest to Europe to insult it without bothering to explain what his timetable is? We've been there for TEN YEARS. How much longer do the Yanks expect us to finance this black hole? What did Britain get out of its moral, financial and human sacrifice in Iraq, that it should continue to jump through hoops for the Americans? To lump it in with Germany when it continues to fight in the most demanding areas is what I've come to expect. But then, isn't France America's current "best friend" according to Obama? When the Argentinians invade British soil in the Falklands, the US has already made it officially clear they won't stand up for its kith and kin in support of self-determination but is happy to appease fascist aggression out of naked self-interest. Obama has made it clear he despises the Britain of Churchill that stood alone to fight Hitlerism and deems it more worthwhile to kowtow to a regime currently imprisoning this year's Nobel Peace laureate. Ah, but Nobel- a European whose ideals, like his culture and continent, stand for little beyond mercenary help when the countries that count- China, Saudi Arabia- represent everything America today values.

  67. At least we have the consolation of being the #1 arms dealer on the planet.
    Assuming the above is true, we have China and France right on our heels, and striving mightily to surpass us.

  68. These wars have been going on for 10 years. Enough is enough.

  69. Regardless of my feelings about the war in Afghanistan, I applaud Mr.Gates' integrity. He seems to always speak the truth. It is so refreshing and so longed for.

  70. As a former Army officer who fought alongside Canadian and British troops in Southern Afghanistan in 2006-2007 while serving as a combat adviser to the Afghan National Army, I think those countries have done an extraordinary job fighting in some of the toughest territory in Afghanistan. Gates should be praising the sacrifices and the fighting ability of the Canadian and British forces instead of criticizing them for contemplating a departure from Afghanistan.

  71. Practically speaking our "Allies" never really did much to help.

    First they send a token amount of troops and then boldly declare their troops cannot be used in combat, have to stay at least 100 miles behind the front lines etc.

    It's time to pull out and let 'em go back to the dark ages.

  72. I would like to suggest that the United States may have abamdonned this war first, when resources and focus was shifted from AFPAK towards the war in Iraq and the search for weapons of mass destruction.

  73. The war in Afghanistan has a vast constituency in the US: government defense contractors. The war in South Asia is a vast treasure house awash in US taxpayer dollars, where ex-military men and women working now in related fields as civilian contractors may earn five or six times times what they were paid before retirement. There's nothing like a six-figure paycheck, most of it tax-free, to make a war lover. There are more of these people in Afghanistan than there are soldiers, and US corporations and consulting firms who provide them at astounding profit margins are praying the war will go on for years. Meantime, I find myself increasingly embittered as I watch us lay the bodies of our service members on the altar of Hamid Karzai's breath-taking hypocrisy, apologizing to him every other week, as he ships pallets of bundled money out of his country, including hundreds of millions of US tax dollars embezzled by Karzai and his cronies. His smirk says it all. Would that Wild Bill Donovan were leading the CIA.

  74. #64: Americans are nothing but empty shirts – if you really cared about these young men and women, you’d get them out of there, you’d be in the streets demanding the return of your sons and daughters.
    speak for yourself, Minnesota.
    BTW, it's an all-volunteer military. In many parts of America, it's the only way up and out of adverse environments for the enlistees. ROTC in Hispanic-heavy high schools is oversubscribed, in fact.
    Some youth realize a dream when they enlist, esp. 2nd generation immigrant teens, it gives them equity in America.
    Their motives, and their sense of duty, should not be so breezily impugned. They signed up to do a job. Step aside.

  75. His complaints aren't going to get him anywhere. The US dragged its allies - at least the ones who didn't have the sense to say no - into the Iraq war and some of our nations, like the UK, fought in both wars. Maybe if the US had picked its wars more carefully he'd have more support now. But then, if the Afghanistan war had had the attention it deserved from the start we mightn't be in quite this mess now.

  76. After all of the civilian bloodshed (which destroys the Afghan culture as a whole), how has the USA got anything right in Afghanistan? We've wasted billions on infrastructure that was so poorly built; it fell apart or couldn't be used. Surge in troops? Surge in Civilian casualties.We're currently funding both sides of the war right now and have no idea who the Taliban really is (they easily fool our CIA). Forget the graveyard of empires reality - our victory is just around the corner. How stupid can Robert Gates possibly be? But he's smarter than Rumsfeld....oh that makes it all better.

  77. I'm a Canadian and we've had troops in Afghanistan for pretty much the beginning, fighting, dying, killing civilians and turning innocent people over to the Afghan government to be tortured. Whenever it's been debated here, our government, staunch allies of yours, have come up with a new story about why we're there. I support your country, I support NATO, but I no of no credible reason to be in Afghanistan. It seems evident that the initial pretext of bringing Osama bin Ladin to justice is a joke. So why are we still there and why are you still there? At this point I think it's simply a lack to courage to admit it's a botched job and it can't be fixed. That's not a good reason to kill people. It's not "domestic politics" it's wanting out of a profoundly stupid war.

  78. I think many Canadians would agree with me when I say that while I was not happy to see our soldiers go to Afghanistan, I recognized that we had an obligation to support an ally. Right from the beginning and to this day there is a conflict here between the fact that it is a profoundly stupid and increasingly less justifiable a war and that obligation to support. One thing that seems clear is that however this ends, it will not end well.

  79. We should all learn a lesson from Korea. Both the UK and Canada contributed large military units but when that war ended at about the same place it started, Canada and the UK left but sixty years later, the US is still there.

    Now after almost ten years in Afghanistan but with Bin Laden still not caught which was supposedly the original goal, the Brits and Canucks are pulling out. My guess is the US will stay and prop up the corrupt Afghani government, whose main source of income continues to be growing poppies for the heroin market in the US and Western Europe.

  80. Monsieur dilates: "America, seemingly doomed with your addiction to oil,gas , the pentagon and Wall Street--when will you come to your senses and stop despoiling the planet? (there is still time)"
    Can we meet you halfway? If we drill in ANWAR, and if Obama follows the Federal court's order and stops harassing new oil well drillers in the Gulf, will you not have riots at the G8 and G20 meetings about "American polluters" and "Wall Street" in return? That would help us to never again deal with the despots and nutcases of the Mideast, and their European colluders, as you desire.
    Will you clean out your terrorist cells across the Continent, and stop them trying to turn our airliners into flying coffins? Lots of pollution when they crash and burn, you see.
    When I was in Madrid two years back, you couldn't swing a dead cat by the tail without encountering a terrorist plot, according to El Pais and the TV news. Why?
    In Africa, site of 100 or more former European colonies, can you stop the AIDS epidemic, and "blood diamonds," and Robert Mugabe, and poaching of endangered species in national parks for sex potions? They all depsoil the planet. How about the Congo Civil War?, at 4,000,000 dead it's the bloodiest civil war in history. Not good for the planet in any way, shape or form. Perhaps the Belgians, esp. in Brussels, will return to clean up the mess they left.
    Can you stop the genocides against Christians in Ethiopia, northern Nigeria, and Egypt, their piles of corpses and smoldering churches are most unsightly, despoil the palent, and wil never qualify to be Unesco World Heritage cities.
    And please plant some flowers and groudncover over those mass graves in Sebrenica, Bosnia, site of the largest genocide since WWII, I read. Mounds of corpses spread cholera, and the planet does not need that!
    Call us when you've got some progress to report.

  81. Can we build the Pipeline in safety yet?

  82. @71 (Mikie21):
    I am not sure your blanket statement applies ot the committment and operational role of the Canadian forces depolyed in Afghanistan.

  83. So the prize is now 'to secure a semblance of normality'? And all you can show is perhaps 'tenuous progress' ... after 10 years? How can any US ally rally support with that sort of sales pitch? Time to move on .... but not please to bombing Libya.

  84. I am delighted that Gates is at last as he is leaving the Administration is calling a spade a spade.

    Yeah, all you who hollar that the US should just 'pull out' of the Middle East, will be the primary CAUSE for militant Muslims to renew their violent attacks DIRECTLY on the United States. You are fools if you think Militant Islam is not dedicated to the destruction of America and all it stands for no matter HOW LONG IT TAKES.

  85. Allies should be just as stupid in foreign policy as we are. In personal relationships, we call the proclivity to being mutually dumb “co-dependence”, normally associated with alcoholism, drug addiction, and other self-destructive activities. Agreeing with American policy has become almost a tautology with being misguided and wrong.

    With respect to foreign policy, most Americans do not understand what our rulers are thinking or why. Yet, Gates expects entire foreign nations to understand. I wish he could explain our goal/plan to me. Agreed, I am a moron, but he is smart, so he ought to be able to keep an explanation simple enough for even a person like me to understand. I wait for elucidation. My Congressional reps cannot explain our foreign policy, though I have asked repeatedly. Ask your Congress people and let us all know if you obtain an answer that you understand and that validates thousands of injured and dead American soldiers and national bankruptcy.

  86. $180 billion dollars/year. Were are the deficit hawks when we need them? Oh, they're out making sure that public sector unions can't collective bargain

  87. I'll tell ya, that Gates guy is a real American, ain't he? Come on home now, Gates, Ya hear. Oh I forgot, nobody here in the US hears anything.

  88. Allies are correct in pulling out of the afghan war. How come there are no Israeli troops in Afghanistan? The Islamic nuclear bomb (Pakistan) is a big threat to Israel than the Iranian, who are way behind. Even if America spends another 10 years and 1 Trillion dollars, Afghanistan will not change. In fact Afghanistan and Pakistan are failed states.

  89. A Question though: Who is in whose country, who is occupying and bombing whose territory?

  90. The other nations are only there now to save face ,in very small numbers and in some cases bribed to make a showing by US pressure. Nobody has any hope for this disasterous fiasco without end.This gigantic fallacy is a farce negotiated by propaganda.There are no NATO strikes because NATO is not running a CIA drone and missile attack system with the aid of US mercenaries from XE.The other Nations are fed up by getting included in these deadly missile strikes upon civilians and in Pakistan where nobody is even supposed to be.Gates is not a General and he has already just only spoken about these type of conflicts with a negative opinion.

  91. While Mr. Gates is critical about NATAO members’ unenthusiastic participation, can we ask Mr. Gates when will he start and finish investigations on the role of Osama Bin Laden in 9/11 that lead US to declare war on Afghanistan? With available incriminating evidence of role of other players in bringing down WTC1,2 and 7, this is even more important. A crime scene requires a thorough investigation, when that numbers crosses several hundred thousand, the genocide warrants an independent international investigation in the events of 9/11.

  92. Secretary Gates is like Adolf Hitler during the last days of the German Third Reich, as he sat in his bunker, barking out orders to military units (allies) that don't even exist anymore, completely delusional and unable to accept defeat or comprehend the true situation in Afghanistan. His generals (and Obama) must be scared to death of him.

    And like Hitler, Gates will first claim that America could and should have won the war had it not been for the ''cowards'' and ''incompetents'' that surround him and his beloved GI's in the field. Then he will lead the US military, and any allies dumb enough to stick around, into a final, dramatic self-destructive defeat.

  93. Dear Mr. Gates,
    Maybe our European counterparts aren't driven by the illusion that this conflict can be won. Maybe, after 9 years, they are realizing that this is a lost cause. Or, maybe they don't agree that propping up the SECOND MOST CORRUPT REGIME is not the best use of resources. Maybe, they, unlike you, have read the history books and reflected on past military invasions. Maybe they aren't governed by idiots paid off by the military industrial complex wanting to keep this war going forever.
    Maybe our European partners don't want to bankrupt their own countries. Maybe they are sick and tired of seeing civilians killed (like the 9 children last week). Maybe they don't want to see their own soldiers killed for nothing. Oh, I forgot - we live in a country where the media self-censors anything by 'G' rated images. And, maybe the Europeans aren't dumbed down by soundbytes on Fox TV and flag-waving.
    The US had a chance to capture Bin Laden and the Al-Queda leadership at Tora Bora. But they blew it. Instead, we have poured HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS into Afghanistan and Pakistan. And for what? To build up hatred against America? That worked well. Mission Accomplished. But don't answer yet, because we'll throw in a new Heroin Industry that will fund Islamic Terror networks for the next hundred years.

    One day the American public will wake up and realize that this, along with the Iraq war has been a complete waste and has bankrupted the nation.

    It has created MILLIONS of people that are just itching to kill Americans if given a chance.

    It has turned us into a pariah among nations.

    History will not be kind to us.

  94. As a loyal Democrat, I observe that we have one true ally in the world willing to fight along side us no matter what, as proved from 1941 through the unpopular Iraq war, and that is Britain. Ever since WW2, Presidents as diverse as FDR through George W. Bush have cherished the special relationship which exists between the two nations. This may well stand as a primary foundation for British willingness to spend lives and treasure alongside us through thick and thin. Ever since January, 2009, we have not cherished that 'special relationship.' The bust of Winston Churchill was removed from the place it occupied in the White House, perhaps for understandable reasons, but it occurred. More significantly, we have declared France our chief ally. There have been other indications of a change in direction and nuanced policy. In light of these, Secretary Gates should ask why our British allies, alone among the 'coalition' should continue unconditionally to spend lives and treasure in the absence of this special relationship. The stunning change of status with which our government views its staunchest ally for seven decades may explain why even they have a hard sell in their Parliament.

  95. $120 billion a year. Hmmm. We could reduce the deficit big time if we brought the troops home and the money home.

  96. I love peace, but a free world needs to be fought for. World War Two proved that clearly. Problem is, the only country willing to fight is the United States. Moving forward, the EU, Canada, Australia, and Japan among others need to do their fair share to preserve freedom in this world.

  97. Defense Secretary Gates should run for president. Smart, objective, seasoned.

  98. I certainly respect pleas for peace and disdain for war. However, have people forgotten that the 9/11 attacks were planned by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan? Should we have ignored that, and never retaliated in the first place? Or should we raise the white flag and run away, wasting the sacrifice of the volunteers that died there?

  99. it time to leave, lick the wounds and repair the purses, spend those 120 billion on Medicare

  100. March 11, 2011

    Defense Secretary Gates is right on for telling it like it is; good work, bravo.

    Joseph Amato
    Manhattan, N. Y.

  101. those 120 billions would be in better use in Japan? and no further dead slodiers for nothing

  102. What Crap! we shouldn't even be there.

  103. Mr. Gates should not fault our allies for wanting to leave. To them, they may have perceived their participation as being the 'good nurse' to the US's 'doctor'.

    As you may recall, in 1965, there was wide spread doubt that the US would succeed in Vietnam; the South Vietnamese leadership's reputation for poor initiative, corruption, marginal skills of the bulk of RVN units and an enduring dependency on American supervision severely hindered South Vietnam's chances to progress as a perpetual nation-state.

    This prognosis lead strategists to rationalize that South Vietnam couldn't be saved; therefore, the only thing that could be done is for the US to more or less to show the world that we're making an all out, last ditch effort for a terminal patient [South Vietnam]; thus, the 'good doctor'.

    So, just as we played the 'good doctor' to the former South Vietnam, the Europeans may have played the 'good nurse' for us - knowing that already diagnosed Afghanistan was terminally ill. In spite of Afghanistan's "...reputation for poor initiative, corruption, marginal skills and an enduring dependency on foreign supervision...", our allies have diligently performed their duties and loyally remained by America's side.

    Sec Def Gates should've reviewed and compared the charts. Sadly, he may have come to realize what our allies already knew.