I love Bob Gates. I always used to say that he was the best thing about the Bush Administration, but his 2010 budget practically brought tears to my eyes. Finally we have a Defense Secretary who is brave enough to stand down the critics who are already accusing him of weakening America. He is making the tough choices we have put off for far too long-curtailing redundant and expensive weapons systems and investing more in capabilities for counterinsurgency and “irregular” campaigns as well as programs that support our troops.
Donald Rumsfeld, for all of his crusty swagger, avoided the hard decisions. He grew everything. The Pentagon’s budget, not even accounting for the hundreds of billions for Iraq and Afghanistan, grew by some 60 percent over the last eight years. That is not only an unaffordable approach, but it also allows us to be fuzzy-headed about the likelihood and severity of the threats we face.
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