Is eight and a half years too little time to make up our mind about something?
According to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the answer is yes. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Secretary Gates chided Americans for what he called a “rush to judgment” about the war, adding that everyone needs to “give us a little time to have this work.”
Gates insisted that the large number of casualties were nothing unexpected, and that “we warned everybody that would be the case last winter.” He claimed that the war was making progress, however, and said the Afghan army was exceeding its recruiting goals.
Yet the number of high profile failures in Afghanistan are awfully difficult to ignore. The war, now the longest in American history, is not going well by any stretch of the imagination, and Pentagon officials were openly questioning the “McChrystal Plan,” the current strategy.
And nothing has gotten better since then, though some things have gotten demonstrably worse. The change, rather, is that Secretary Gates is trying to coax another $33 billion in “emergency” funds out of the Congress, and the growing questions about the war are making that a tough vote. Instead of addressing the questions, the Pentagon has found it easier to simply mock the questioners as overly negative and insist, beyond all reason, that the war is still going swimmingly.