Friday, October 05, 2012
truth, lies, and retirement
Wednesday evening, speaking at a public forum in Norfolk, Virginia, former Secretary of Defense under GW Bush and Obama Robert Gates warned that a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences.
"(S)uch an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert" Gates said, adding that Iran could respond by disrupting world oil traffic, much of which passes through the Persian Gulf, and/or launch major terrorist attacks throughout the Gulf region.
"The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world," he cautioned.
It's refreshing to hear someone who's moved in the upper echelons of the ruling class speak with such candor. My only question is why didn't Gates speak out like this while he was still in office? (he retired in April, 2011). And I'm reminded of Eisenhower's farewell address, with its pungent warning of the growing and unwarranted power of a "military-industrial complex," which he waited to deliver until just before he headed out the door.
If anyone can find this story anywhere in the major media I'd be surprised. United Press International carried a very short version of it, but I picked it up from a headline at antiwar.com. The best coverage of this significant public statement, significantly ignored by the New York Times and many others, is in the local Virginian-Pilot.
I expect this startling assessment to have zero impact on policy decisions concerning Iran in the White House and Pentagon, due to the absence of media coverage. And after all, Gates only used to be the Secretary of Defense; now he's just some old retired dude, and they can say anything they want. They can even tell the truth, if they're so inclined.
Gates spoke to an audience of about 2,000 in Norfolk's Chrysler Hall, as the first of this season's featured guests of the Norfolk Forums speaker series.