President Bush bowed to the inevitable today by tossing Donald Rumsfeld overboard. Bob Gates is no fresh face. He is, if you want to put it bluntly, a Bush 41 retread.
And a good thing, too.
Gates compiled a largely impressive record, working for everyone from LBJ down to GHW. His memoir, “From the Shadows,” is impressive, not only for its contents, but its hardhitting prose.
Gates is not an ideologue. He’s a professional. He doles out praise, where it’s justified, to both Jimmy Carter, who he thinks deserves more credit for setting the stage for Ronald Reagan’c cold war successes than he’s received, and to the Gipper himself.
Will it be enough to save Iraq? Probably not. The situation is so dire that it’s hard to see how Iraq’s fortunes can be retrieved. But at least Gates will bring a sober, seasoned eye to the mess–and give Bush some reality-based advice.
For now, that’s as good as it gets.
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