Is New Defense Secretary Gates Opposed to Bush's "Surge" Plan To Increase U.S. Troop Levels in Iraq?
Gates lacking the urge to surge? This is interesting. In yesterday's New York Sun, Eli Lake reports that Sec Def Robert Gates is actually quietly opposing President Bush's plan to escalate the conflict by adding 30,000 to 50,000 more troops to crush the Mahdi Army and other Shi'a militias in and around Baghdad.Interesting. Very interesting. I'll be following this more closely.
This would hardly be surprising, if true, since Gates, as recently as November, was a member of the Iraq Study Group and clearly on board with its policy of -- albeit slow -- disengagement.
One question is why we're not seeing more made of this in the big dailies. One clue is certainly the reporter himself. Lake (who, full disclosure, is a good friend of mine, though we haven't spoken in some time) is quite tied in with and has excellent sources among DC neocons. If those folks are trying to push back against Gates' resistance, Eli would know about it and as a reporter he'd be interested in these policy cleavages.
But again, why no more of this in the other dailies? As I alluded to above, we could infer what Eli is telling us even in the absence of his reporting. Gates is either not in favor of the troop build-up or he is guilty of one of the great flip-flops in recent DC history. Where is he on this? Is he going along with a policy that the last year of study of the situation has actually convinced him is bound to fail. Is he silently trying to upend the policy from the inside? Certainly the Post and Times reporters can tell us more on this, right?