There is a lot to like about Gates. He over time became something like a defensive realist. He appears to have helped prevent Dick Cheney and the Neocons from attacking Iran. He warns against the seductive character of drone warfare, and wants a court to sign off on drone strikes. He said he thought any military commander who wanted to take US troops into another big ground war should have his head examined. He is scathing on the grandstanding and sadism of congressmen during hearings.But lest it be forgotten, Gates’s career has been checkered and he has been consistently wrong about foreign policy himself. To wit:1. Gates as a high official at the CIA was involved in the 1970s and 1980s in vastly exaggerating the economic and military power of the Soviet Union, scaring the American public with a supposed threat that was actually far smaller and less formidable than officials such as Gates alleged. Gates made a career out of politicizing intelligence. Inside the CIA, analysts who tell their bosses what they want to hear are called weasels. Gates was the weaseliest. One of the main reasons the CIA failed to predict the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 was precisely the exaggerations and politicization pushed by Gates.
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