Speaking today at West Point, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said he thought the odds were low that the US would launch any future land wars of the same scale as the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations any time soon.
“In my opinion, any future Defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Gates said.
At the same time, Gates’ speech did not appear to be anything resembling a call for a less aggressive foreign policy, which probably isn’t surprising at a time when he is pushing for record military budgets in both fiscal 2011 and 2012, and projecting even bigger budgets beyond that.
Instead, Gates said the US military should be constantly be intervening to prevent “festering problems from growing into full-blown crises,” suggesting that the impromptu attacks in Yemen and Somalia may become all the more common in the future.
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