I've thought for awhile that Robert Gates is the best defense secretary we've ever had, kind of a William Perry but with a killer instinct. I like the determined way he took on the pork barrelers in the fight over the F-22 fighter.
Two of his recent observations only confirm my opinion.
First, from his July 16 speech in Chicago, this warning:
...The president is the eighth president I've worked for, and I do not recall a single time in my entire professional career when I felt that the country faced as complex and, in many respects, dangerous a time as we do now."
I also find the following comment Gates made at a press conference on Monday quite interesting. I hadn't seen this thought expressed this way:
...We're living in a time not only of great change, but also great simultaneity. Many things are happening all at once in many different places; and though we may be tired, we must stay focused."
Not bad for an old Sovietologist.
Update: In this item, the second quotation, about "simultaneity," was not said by Gates, but by Adm. Mike Mullen in the same joint press conference. I apologize for the error.
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Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.