Today, at his first Pentagon news conference since taking office in December, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that any Iraq resolution opposing President Bush’s escalation plan “certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries.” “It seems pretty straightforward that any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks,” Gates clamed.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Here’s Donald Rumsfeld from 11/20/05: “[W]e also have to understand that our words have effects. … Put yourself in the shoes of the enemy. The enemy hears a big debate in the United States, and they have to wonder, maybe all we have to do is wait, and we’ll win.”
Sixty-eight percent of Americans oppose escalation, while 56 percent want a withdrawal from Iraq within a year. If the Bush administration is truly concerned about the message that a divided America sends to the enemy, then it should consider adopting policies that have overwhelming support.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Senator Lieberman says the Senate resolution opposing a 21,000 increase in troops would offer some encouragement to the enemy. Would you agree with that?
GATES: Well, I think it’s pretty clear that a resolution that, in effect, says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn’t have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries.
I think it’s hard to measure that with any precision, but it seems pretty straightforward that any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks.
And I’m sure that that’s not the intent behind the resolutions, but I think it may be the effect.