Robert Gates to retire in 2011
At least that's what he tells Foreign Policy Magazine in an article out today:
Gates, who turns 67 in September, says he wants to leave the job and retire, this time for good, sometime in 2011. "I think that it would be a mistake to wait until January 2012," he said. It might be hard to find a good person to take the job so late, with just one year to go in the president's current term. And, he added, "This is not the kind of job you want to fill in the spring of an election year."
He pointed out that he's the 22nd U.S. defense secretary since the position was created in 1947. "If I stay until January 2011," he said, "I will have been in the job longer than all but four of my predecessors. And those four are Robert McNamara, Don Rumsfeld, Cap Weinberger, and Charles E. Wilson." He laughed. All four are famous for having stayed long past their welcome. Two of them, McNamara and Rumsfeld, started out energetic and celebrated before tumbling into the traps of ill-considered wars.
Author Fred Kaplan also scored a revealing tidbit about why Gates agreed to stay on for the Obama administration. He had told Kaplan and others that "The circumstances under which I would do that are inconceivable to me."
...when President-elect Barack Obama asked him to remain at the Defense Department's helm, Gates instantly agreed.
This summer, sitting in his spacious third-floor office in the Pentagon's E Ring, I asked him why. How was he persuaded to commit an "inconceivable" act? Gates confessed (and "confess" is the word he used) that his sighs of longing to leave in the months leading up to the 2008 election were part of a "covert action" to convince everyone that he didn't want to stay, in the hopes that nobody would ask him to. "I really didn't want to be asked," he said. But, he added, that was because all along he knew "that if I were asked, I would say, 'Yes.' In the middle of two wars, kids out there getting hurt and dying, there was no way that I was going to say, 'No.'"
Read the full article and leave your thoughts in the comments section below
Posted by: good_angel | August 16, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse
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