2011 February 27 Sunday
Robert Gates Admits Massive US Mistake In Middle East

Speaking to West Point students in a political science class Defense Secretary Robert Gates agreed that the US should avoid getting the US military into big land wars.

“Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General [Douglas] MacArthur so delicately put it.”

Sanity sounds good to me.

Where have we heard this wisdom before? Princess Bride. Vizzini on the same topic:

Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line"! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 February 27 04:02 PM  Politics Grand Strategy

bob sykes said at February 28, 2011 5:40 AM:

The reference to Africa is surprising and interesting. What sort of conversations are happening in the corridors of the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom?

Black Death said at February 28, 2011 6:09 AM:

Americans never seem to learn. At least American involvement in Viet Nam, mistaken as it was, took place in the context of the Cold War. LBJ didn't want to appear "soft on communism" to Nixon and Goldwater, so he piled on the troops. But Clinton had his "splendid little wars" in Bosnia and Somalia, and then Bush II tried to make Iraq and Afghanistan safe for democracy. As long as we have such a massive military, such mistakes are bound to reoccur. Almost half of the world's military expenditures come from the US. We spend about twice as much of our GDP on the military as most other major nations, and our GDP is much larger. We have troops and bases scattered all over the globe to enhance our role as world policeman, but all to no end. If we brought all our troops, equipment and ships home and cut our bloated military budget in half, we'd still have the biggest in the world, and how would we be any worse off? Plus we'd knock about $350 billion off the federal deficit. But it's not bloody likely - there seems to be no desire at all in Washington to really get spending under control. The Righties are as in love with their military toys as the Lefties are with their stupid projects (high-speed rail!). And both come with giant, money-sucking bureaucracies.

jerry said at February 28, 2011 9:46 AM:

We're in the Middle East because the Republican Party and Conservatives can't deal with the issue of race in America. They just can't bring themselves to face the fact that the only people who support them are being exterminated through racist colonialism, can't oppose that genocide because they will be crucified by the press and because it would seem so declasse, so they start wars overseas to take their supporters minds off the fact that the Republicans have no intention of conserving anything except their bank accounts. The tactic worked really well for Bush, no one talked about his lack of any domestic vision for 8 years, didn't work out so well the the Republicans for a while, and was a disaster for Conservatism. It's all part of the death throes of both Conservatism and White America. It's the end game for CONservatism. How desperate do you have to be to adopt endless wars for endless power as a strategy?

Mthson said at February 28, 2011 11:14 AM:

Black Death, the Clinton administration successfully cut a large amount from the military budget, but it mushroomed again under Bush.

no i don't said at February 28, 2011 2:35 PM:

Meanwhile China could grow up to almost 20% this year; Russia continues developing interactions and conducting bussiness with other countries, Europe -even though struggling- continues its peace building unification among themselves, Latin America growing slowly but definetly trying to shake off so much American influence.

The rest of the world no longer pays attention to all the yelling and kick-ass attitude of the U.S. as it is becoming

i r r e l e v a n t .

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