18 SEPT (LPAC) At a policy forum today in Dallas, Texas, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates denounced Obama’s proposed military strikes on Syria, saying they would be like “throwing gasoline on an extremely complex fire in the Middle East.” He also derided the idea that the U.S. has to attack Syria to defend its credibility—a lame argument made at the same policy forum by his successor, Leon Panetta.
“My bottom line is that I believe that to blow a bunch of stuff up over a couple days, to underscore or validate a point or a principle, is not a strategy,” Gates said, reported UPI news service. “If we launch a military attack, in the eyes of a lot of people we become the villain instead of Assad. … Haven’t Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya taught us something about the unintended consequences of military action once it’s launched?” Recall that Gates opposed the Libyan war action, and when he was in office, repeatedly quoted Maj. Gen. “Fox” Conner, the senior to WWII Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Marshall, telling them: never fight unless you have to, never fight alone, and never fight for long. Yesterday Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs had repeated this same advice to the Association of the U.S. Army, as the belief held both by him and Jt. Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey.
The text of Gates’ remarks is not yet available but according to the U.S. media, he was reportedly not totally optimistic about the future of the Syrian situation and the fate of the Russia-U.S. framework agreement. USA Today reported that Gates said, when asked if he trusted Russian President Vladimir Putin: “My answer would be, are you kidding me?”
The same media also claimed that both Gates and Panetta said that Obama should not have gone to Congress about striking Syria.