“Mr. Gates, do you believe that we are currently winning in Iraq?” Mr. Levin asked.Without ever mentioning Rumsfeld's name he set Rumsfeld up for the fall for failure.
“No, sir,” Mr. Gates replied, going on to agree with the senator that a political settlement is needed to end the blood-letting, and that the United States needed to convey “a sense of urgency” to the Iraqis about reaching an accord.
Mr. Levin said Mr. Gates’s remarks amounted to a “necessary, refreshing breath of reality.”
Senator McCain pursued the point about victory being elusive. “We are not winning the war in Iraq, is that correct?” the senator asked.
“That is my view, yes, senator,” Mr. Gates replied.
Robert M. Gates, who will succeed Donald H. Rumsfeld as the Pentagon’s chief if he is confirmed as expected, also told senators that the United States went to war in Iraq without enough troops, as some generals said at the outset of the conflict.In other words Rummy fucked it up from the get go.
Mr. Gates said “there clearly were insufficient troops in Iraq after the initial invasion.” While he said that he envisions “a dramatically smaller” number of United States troops there, he said an American presence would be required “for a long time.”
While it's refreshing to see someone who at least has a toe in the cold waters of reality I still hold out little hope that the US will leave Iraq until it is driven out in a helicopters on the roof moment.